Hurray! Finding out you’re having a baby is exhilarating and exciting. You’ve got nine months to plan for one of the biggest and best transitions of your life.
One of the biggest considerations for most mums-to-be is affording life after dropping an income for a while. It’s true that babies are expensive, but there are plenty of great ways to control the financial impact it has on your family.
Here are our top tips to make a baby work with your budget:
Start saving early
If kids are on the cards in the next few years, start to put away a little money every week into a savings account. You don’t need to call it a ‘baby’ account and, if for whatever reason life has other plans, you can always splurge it on a luxury holiday! The sooner you start to save and the more you put away, the easier it will be when you have to transition to only having one income. Shop around for a high-interest savings account with no debit card access so you aren’t tempted to spend your savings in the meantime.
Budget for all costs
Even before those two pink lines appear, having a baby can eat into your budget. Have an in depth discussion with your partner or a friend about what costs you’re likely to incur – tests, medical appointments and baby-related necessities such as a cot and car seat etc. Ask your friends who’re parents about what surprise costs they incurred too. Having a realistic representation of the potential costs can help you to determine how much you need to save and what impact dropping an income will have on your family.
You’re not the first to have a baby; and there is a lot of baby equipment, clothes and other items out there in want of a new home. While you should always buy the cot/bassinet mattress and car seat new, pretty much everything else can be second hand. Search on local classified sites or visit Baby Markets to find bargains on bundles of clothes, cots, baby baths, toys, books and bouncers. As an added bonus, second and third borns will never be able to grumble about getting hand-me-downs if the first was always in second hand stuff too!
Check your entitlements
Dropping an income is challenging, but thankfully the Australian Government does provide some assistance to help ease the sting. Before your baby is born, check which entitlements you’re eligible for – such as the Paid Parental Leave scheme and any Family Tax Benefits. Don’t forget about your partner too! They may be entitled to some assistance if they take time off work too.
Start transitioning away from your salary as soon as you can
Not only does this tip help to boost your savings, it also gives you time to adjust to a difference in income levels. The idea is that as soon as possible during your pregnancy, assume you’re no longer earning an income. This is easier said than done for single parents of course; but if you are on a dual income, start putting all your salary into your savings account to adapt to life on just one. There may still be costs related to your job (commuting, equipment, uniforms etc) that won’t apply once you’re on maternity leave, but even if you factor these out, you’ll start to see how life will be on one income before the chaos arrives. This period of adjustment will help you to truly see what the necessary living costs are and what you can do without.
With these simple tactics, the financial stress of transitioning to life with a new baby should hopefully be a breeze.
The information on this page is of a general nature and is not intended to be a substitute for personal advice. This information has been produced without taking into account your personal financial circumstances, objectives or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of the information to your financial situation and seek personal advice before acting on any of this information. Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305.