Having kids is a beautiful and emotionally rewarding experience, but it’s also financially draining. Many studies have shown that it can cost thousands of pounds to raise a child, even before you begin to consider things like the expenses associated with higher education.
Although it can be tempting to ignore the financial stresses of having a child and dive in with your heart, rather than your head, it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared for a financial experience that’s going to turn your world upside down. If you want to take the informed approach to decide whether you’re ready to have children right now, here’s what you need to think about.
Making your Budget Airtight
If would-be parents only considered the financial implications that come with having a child, then they would often end up childless. Of course, there’s a lot more that goes into a decision like this one than thoughts about money. Still, before you jump into your decision to start a family, it’s worth taking a look at your budget and looking for things you can get rid of.
The more expenses you can cut out of your monthly routine, the more money you’ll have left over to put towards the things a baby would need, like food, diapers, and toys. Think about whether you can get rid of some expenses by switching your expensive credit card loans out for a cheaper cash loan with a lower interest rate. You can compare refinancing options online. You might also be able to cut the costs of things like gas and electricity by switching to a new provider.
Don’t forget to get rid of expenses that you can do without too, such as gym memberships that you don’t use, or phone costs for a home phone that you haven’t touched in years.
Figuring out How Your Income Will Change
Once you’ve figured out which expenses you can get rid of in your current budget, you might think that you’re going to be left with hundreds of pounds to play with – making it much easier to afford a new child. However, remember that it’s not just your expenses that are going to change – but your income too.
Even if both parents plan to return to work after the child is born, the mother will need at least some time away from work to recover physically from the experience of having a child. Maternity leave is crucial, but it’s a time where some parents can struggle, as you may not get the full income you’re used to from a boss when you’re on maternity leave.
Check with your employer to find out what kind of maternity and paternity schemes are available to you. During this time, it’s also a good idea to discuss your options for additional government help with a professional. Many families in the UK might be eligible for things like free childcare and child tax credits that can make life a little easier.
Think About Life After Maternity Leave
Sometimes, when a couple has a child, both parents will then return to work after maternity and paternity leaves are over, relying on childcare and support from their friends and family to make sure that the baby is looked after. However, this won’t always be the right strategy for some families. Some households find that it’s more cost-effective for one parent to stay away from work for a while, to avoid childcare expenses.
There’s no right answer when it comes to figuring out whether you should go back to work or not after the arrival of a child. Couples need to sit down together and decide what works best with their lifestyle and financial strategy.
One option for some parents who might be worried about giving up on work entirely could be to combine being a full-time mum or dad with extra work that they can do from home. For instance, you might be able to work as a part-time assistant from the comfort of your home while still caring for your baby. Whatever your decision, it’s essential to think long term.
Preparing for a Baby
As soon as you think about having a baby, it’s important to pay attention to the financial challenges that come with starting a family. It’s easy to get carried away and ignore these things, but the quicker you start planning and saving, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to raise your child with financial freedom and confidence.