I’ve just found out I’m pregnant, and although we’re delighted, we’re worried about how much it will cost us as we don’t have much money at all. How should we plan financially for a baby?
Alice Jones, head of Barclays Money Mentors, says: “ It’s great you’re already thinking ahead about your finances, as the earlier you start planning, the more prepared you can feel.
“Take a step back and understand your current outgoings and incomings. Splitting your budgets into ‘essentials’, ‘wants’, and ‘savings’ will allow you to spot changes that will make a difference. Whether that’s cancelling a TV subscription you didn’t realise you still paid, or realising you’re spending more than you expected on coffee on-the-go, understanding where your money’s currently going can help you identify where you could make savings.
With around nine months to go, it’s not too late to start putting aside a little each month to accommodate some of the costs you can expect – from new clothes to fit your growing bump, items for the baby, and somewhere for them to sleep, to a buggy and a car seat.
Putting even a small amount aside each month into a ‘baby buffer’ fund can build up and provide a little more security if any unexpected costs crop up. Setting yourself a goal with how much you’d like to put aside will help you keep on track.
Now’s the time to join parenting support groups – online groups will become your new best friend and positively impact your wallet from sharing money-saving tips. Swapping baby items has become the norm, and can be an effective way to get essential baby equipment for less.
“The groups can also act as efficient marketplaces to sell used items post-pregnancy, and can be a goldmine for money-saving hacks from other savvy parents who’ll be able to share any discounted baby items they’ve seen, and budget family recipes. In addition, they can be great socially – you may make some lifelong friendships with parents in the same boat!
“Pregnancy and all the associated costs can feel overwhelming at times – voicing any concerns is important, as an outsider’s perspective may help you gain clarity on your situation or provide nuggets of wisdom. Confide in a loved one or colleague, or if you’d prefer advice from an unbiased figure, Barclays has the free and impartial Money Mentors service (barclays.co.uk/money-mentors/) where you can speak to a professional for guidance on budgeting and preparing your finances for a baby.”