Planning for the Baby Budget: How to Prepare for your New Arrival

Prepare for baby image

Having a baby is by far one of the most exciting things any person can do. However, when you have a child, you also commit to a huge change in your life. Now that the cost of raising a child is increasing, it’s important to make sure that you have a plan in place. Combine all the costs of preparing for your new child, with the drop-in income that you can expect when you start to take advantage of paternity and maternity leave, and you can see why a new child is hard on your finances. Fortunately, a little planning can ensure that you enjoy your pregnancy, instead of stressing over money.

Planning Your Finances

Whether your pregnancy was planned, or it was a pleasant surprise, it’s important to make sure that you start planning your finances as quickly as you can. Sit down and work out a budget to find out if you can make any changes to your current spending habits. For instance, can you take another job, or reduce your spending on non-essential items? Even switching your utility providers could be a good way to improve your situation.
While you’re planning, make sure that you speak to your boss about what you can expect in terms of paternity or maternity package. The more you know about how much you can continue to earn when having the baby, the easier it will be to plan for a successful experience with your child.

Knowing Your Entitlements

Once you have a general insight into your incoming and outgoing expenses, and how they’re going to change when you have a child, it’s important to think about what kind of benefits you might be able to access. There are plenty of options out there that are designed to help new parents. Speaking to the citizen’s advice bureau will help you to determine which support solutions you are eligible for. For instance, you might be able to get:

Paid Time Off for Antenatal Care

You should be able to get paid leave from work for any medical appointments that you need to attend following your pregnancy. This will also include parenting classes if they’re recommended by a midwife or doctor.

Statutory maternity leave

Parents are entitled to up to 52 weeks of statutory leave. This time can go completely to the mother, or it can be spread between the two parents. New parents don’t have to take the full leave available to them, but they are required to take at least two weeks of leave after the baby arrives. Keep in mind that mothers are entitled to statutory maternity pay for a period of up to 39 weeks. In most cases, the first 6 weeks will allow them to take 90% of their regular income, while for the following 33 weeks, they can get £139.58 per week.

Dad happy pregnancy

Paternity Leave

Expectant fathers can be entitled to as much as 2 weeks of leave away from work. To apply for paternity leave, fathers must inform their employer of the impending arrival of their child fifteen weeks before the youngster is due. You’ll need to let your boss know when the due date is, when you want your leave to start, and how long you want to take. Keep in mind that the statutory rate of paternity rate is either 90% of your average income, or £139.58 – depending on which amount is lower.

Child Benefits

When parents have a new child in the United Kingdom, they’re eligible to claim some support to help raise that child. The amount of child benefit available is £20.70 for the first child, however, the amount goes down for every child after that.
There are also other benefits that parents may be eligible for, depending on their income, and the amount of support they need. For instance, if your income is particularly low, you might be eligible for child tax credits, council tax benefits, and housing benefits too.

Healthcare Benefits

Finally, it’s worth noting that you can get extra support as a mother when you’re pregnant with your child. Beyond the antenatal care entitlements that allow you to take time away from work for appointments, your prescriptions and dental care should be free. This means that you can get the healthcare you need without paying for it until your child reaches one year of age.

Ideally, you should speak to an expert to make sure that you are claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to. Make an appointment to speak with someone when you know the details of your pregnancy, and when your child is due.

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Leyla Preston (610 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 7. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: https://www.facebook.com//groups/motherhooddiaries/