There is a lot to take on board when you are expecting your first child. As well as the nerves about the forthcoming life-changing experience, the logistics of creating a nursery and the world of antenatal classes to discover, there is the monetary aspect. Whether you have a baby due soon or you are just in the stages of planning a family, it’s helpful to start thinking about the cash side of things. That is why we have compiled nine ways to help you prepare financially to become a dad.
Of course, when money is tight, not every expectant dad will be able to take advantage of all nine tips, but anything you can do to sort your finances ahead of the birth will help, no matter how big or small.
How to prepare your finances to become a dad
1. Build a fund
The sooner you start building your savings pot, the better, even if you’re only putting away small amounts at a time. Experts suggest working age people should aim for three to six months’ worth of expenses in an easy access savings account. Obviously, when you have a baby these expenses will only grow.
Obviously, this aim is simply unattainable for many people. It’s not easy to find cash to put aside, especially if you’re buying things for your child or moving house for more space. But if there is anything you can save on to put aside, you will be thankful later on.
2. Revisit your budget
You’ll need to tighten your budget once a baby arrives, to factor in all the additional costs and possible income changes. Get in early as you prepare to become a dad, rather than leave it until later when you are juggling nappies and night feeds.
You may well need to cope on a lower income or face much higher outgoings if you’re paying for childcare – or indeed both. It’s worth doing the calculations early to work out what you need to cut back on in preparation.
3. Find out what childcare support you can get
The good thing is that there is help out there for childcare costs. Researching the help available and finding out about local childcare availability will help you budget. Find more information on the government’s ‘Help with childcare costs‘ page.
You might want to speak to family too. For many who become a dad, help from grandparents is the only thing that makes childcare manageable.
4. Shop around for a Junior Isa to set up when your child is born
Junior Isas, or Jisas, are long-term savings accounts and your child can only withdraw the money when they turn 18.
If family and friends want to buy a present to celebrate your child’s birth – or for any subsequent birthday or Christmas – you can ask them to pay into the Jisa and help build up a nest egg for when they turn 18. This takes the pressure off the parents somewhat.
5. Make sure your will reflects your growing family
The last thing you want to think about in this exciting time is what would happen in the worst case scenario. But you should check that you update your will. Also, consider critical illness insurance or income protection, which will provide cash for you and your family if you are unable to work for a period.
6. Consider what costs you can ditch
Having a baby comes with new costs, so that might mean you have to drop other expenses to make way. However, this doesn’t have to mean cutting out all of your luxuries. You might find savings in some of the more practical areas.
For example, the partner who is taking parental leave will save money on commuting, takeway lunches and work clothes. This gives you a bit of extra cash in the first few months. You could even go down to one car in the short-term if you are a two-car family and one of you takes an extended period off work.
7. Buy or borrow second hand
You can save a fortune getting your baby stuff second-hand, whether it’s via local baby groups, charity shops, eBay, Facebook Marketplace or hand-me-downs from friends or family.
However, bear in mind that there are some items where buying secondhand might not be safe. One example of this is your car seat. When you get one of these from someone else, you cannot guarantee that it has not been in an accident. It is better to buy new and be sure that it will work as needed in the event of an accident.
8. Seek out recommendations
If you have friends who already have young children, ask them what items they found essential. And, more importantly, what they bought that they never used. This helps you identify the must-haves and avoid wasting money on the duds.
There are also parents’ forums and review websites that you can use to work out what you definitely need for your baby.
9. Don’t feel pressured to ‘keep up with the Joneses’
Just because your friends have all the latest baby tech or that ‘Instagrammable’ nursery, does not mean you need it. They have probably spent far too much and most of the items will become redundant once their family is complete. Plus, it will all be covered in sick and Calpol soon enough.
Also, babies don’t need expensive activities to keep them entertained. There are plenty of free or low-cost toddler and baby groups that will keep them entertained and should hopefully introduce you to a new circle of friends.”