Financial Checklist For New Mums
A few of my friends seem to be having babies (again!) and despite being old hands at this parenting lark, they have all admitted that they can get carried away with the spending side of things! We all know that having a baby can put a financial strain on a household so I thought it might be useful to put together a checklist for everything related that a new mum (or mum who should know better!) should think about……
- Know where to get your bargains. Kids are EXPENSIVE but shopping around and making sure you find the best deals will save you LOADS. It is always cheaper to buy in bulk, especially with nappies and baby wipes. Once you’ve found the brands you like price check amazon as well as your nearest supermarkets and consider buying them online e- it could save you as much as 50%!
- Declutter. Selling things online to make space for your new baby (how can someone so small take up so much room???) will also give you a little extra cash in your pocket. eBay, local Facebook selling groups and Preloved are all great places to start offloading your stuff.
- Don’t buy everything! Listen to your peers who already have children so that you know what NOT to buy. Parents to be waste hundreds of pounds on weaning bowls, nappy bins, cot bumpers and the like and most of them end up never used!
- Hundreds of millions of pounds of child benefit goes unclaimed EACH YEAR ! If you and your partner’s individual salaries are both under £50,000 a year you are entitled to £20.70 a week for your first child and £13.70 a week for every subsequent child. Don’t miss out on something that is rightfully yours! https://www.gov.uk/child-benefit/how-to-claim. It is a good idea to look at things like Tax Credits, Self-Employed maternity allowance and Childcare Vouchers BEFORE you have your baby too as it can help you make informed choices about your finances.
- Purchase credit card. Whilst spending money you don’t have is a bad idea, a purchase credit card could help you spread the cost of big buys like nursery furniture and prams. Finding a 0% interest purchase credit card will allow you to buy items and then pay them off over a period of time with no interest. Compared to the average interest rate of 18% a purchase credit card could save you £180 a year in interest on a £1000 bill. Just remember to pay the bill off so that the balance is zero by the end of the interest free period.
- Make a Will. It’s not the happiest job but 2/3 of parents in the UK don’t have a Will meaning they may not have any control over what happens to their money or their children if the worst were to happen. Writing your Will does not have to be expensive and time consuming, there are even ways to get a Will written by professionals FOR FREE. Both March and October are free Wills month so look out for special promotions and it is worth checking with your union, your employer or your favourite charity to see if they offer a will writing service too https://www.letssavemoney.com/1-minute-guide-to-making-a-will/
- Cashback. We all love getting something for nothing! Buying through cashback sites like TopCashback, using cashback credit cards like the Santander 123 card and even paying bills out of a cashback current account will give you money back on your shopping
- Energy. Remember, you don’t need to stay loyal to your power company, switching and finding a better rate saves people on average £230 and the summer is a good time to take stock before potential Autumn price rises! https://www.letssavemoney.com/1-minute-guide-to-switching-utilities/
- Mortgage. This is the BIGGIE. We spend a third of our income on our mortgage! Many will come with opening deals, keeping on top of when your deal expires and the switching to a better deal could cut your interest payments in half, especially whilst interest rates are so low following the Brexit vote
- Secret sales. The not-so-secret sales sites have daily sales on top brands. Sites like Brand Alley, Achica and Secret Sales are great for grown-ups and there some great sites for children’s clothes like Zulily
- Keep in the black. Tackle any debt issues you have quickly and decisively and NEVER EVER EVER take out a pay day loan. There are a number of ways to get back in the black including transferring debt to a balance transfer credit card, consolidating debt into a loan and seeking further advice from institutions like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and StepChange
- Buy second hand. Like many first timers, the thought of buying second hand for my first bundle of joy just didn’t seem right, but I really should have done! You can get so many nearly new clothes, buggies and furniture on sites like Preloved, eBay and at NCT Nearly New Sales that you can end up saving HUNDREDS
- Protect your family. Whether it is life insurance, mortgage protection or critical illness cover, try and get this in place as soon as you have your baby (or before) so that financial protection is in place for your dependants
- Know company maternity policy. If you work, it is so important to find out what your company maternity allowance is, as it varies massively. Some people may get months off being paid 90% of their usual salary, whereas others might just be entitled to a few weeks and then move straight to Statutory Maternity Pay. You NEED to know what you are going to get so that you can start to budget. It also helps give you a rough idea about how much time you can take off with your baby. Speak to your HR department, or look on the company intranet if you have one
- Say Cheese! Have your teeth fixed whilst on maternity leave so that you don’t miss the window to get it done for free on the NHS. No matter how scared of the dentist’s chair you might be, getting the work done for free numbs the pain just a bit!
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