Saving for a baby

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If you and your partner have recently made the decision to try for a baby, you’re probably already aware of the costs you’ll face as a result. From childcare to everyday expenses, raising a child in the UK is calculated to cost parents over £174,000 from birth up until age 18. 

However, the decision to have a child is unlikely to be one that is taken lightly, meaning that most parents will aim to save for a baby after deciding it’s something they would like to do. In this guide, we explore the different aspects to consider when saving for a baby, as well as some handy hacks you might not currently be aware of.

How to financially prepare for a baby

When saving up for a baby, the obvious first step is to organise your finances. You should get everything together and set out a detailed budgeting plan to see how much you are reasonably able to save each month. Organising your finances before you start to save (and before you have a baby) will also relieve you of some stress when the baby arrives, as your energy will be needed elsewhere once they are here.

If you and your partner are employed, it’s important to consider the potential impact of a drop in joint income during your time off work. Take the time to find out what your employer offers so you can calculate the financial support you’ll receive while not working. Your budget for maternity leave, paternity leave, or adoption leave will have to be adjusted.

If you’re thinking about how to save for a baby in nine months, you should also ideally take this time to consider any debts you might have and pay any costly debt off before the baby arrives. With only nine months at most to prepare yourselves, you might want to consider quick and easy savings hacks such as savings challenges or short-term fixed rate bonds. For instance, you could explore the option of a 9 month fixed rate bond as part of your financial preparation.

A new baby will inevitably put an extra strain on the family finances, which is why it’s a good idea to put together a budget plan for the periods before, during and after the baby has arrived, so you have a rough plan for the future.

How much does it cost to raise a child in the UK?

Research from Raisin UK in 2021, incorporating data from the ONS and CPAG, indicates that raising a child until the age of 18 in the UK can cost parents up to £174,290.48. This figure covers expenses beyond the day-to-day essentials, including childcare, taxes, housing, and higher education. While it’s unlikely you’ll have such a large amount saved up for a baby, the research highlights the wider financial commitment that comes with raising a child.

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7 money-saving tips for new parents

If you’re a first-time parent, ensuring you’ve bought the right pregnancy and baby items can be an expensive, overwhelming minefield. Many products, such as vitamins and supplements, have a ‘pregnancy’ range that hikes the prices up, but still offers the same benefits as a normal vitamin package. From nappies and new clothes to healthcare perks, we’ve explored the possibilities for cutting costs so you can save money during pregnancy and beyond.

1. Get freebies and discounts

If you’re savings-savvy enough, you can enjoy everything from free trips to the cinema to recycled toys and books. Use websites such as Facebook Marketplace and Freecycle for helpful hand-me-downs, and check with your local cinema whether the little one can sit for free on your lap. Some supermarkets, such as Asda and Boots, also provide parent & baby points clubs that offer exclusive discounts and loyalty reward schemes tailored to new parents.

2. Don’t stock up before you know the baby’s preferences

While it’s a natural instinct to over-prepare for your new arrival, especially if you’re first-time parents, you might want to avoid spending too much money on items such as formula and food before your baby has tried them. You might find yourself throwing expensive items away due to an intolerance or upset tummy, so try not to stock up too much where possible.

3. Think carefully about nappies

Nappies are one of the biggest expenses for new parents, which is why they require some careful consideration before you invest. Opting for eco-friendly reusable nappies is a great option for saving both cash and the planet, with lightly soiled nappies fine for washing at 60 degrees.

Things have moved on significantly since the age of towels and pins, with reusable nappies now functioning in a similar way to disposables. Some councils even offer packages of free reusable nappies, so it’s worth checking if this is something your local authority has on offer.

If you’d still rather opt for the ease of disposable nappies, make sure you compare prices, take advantage of free samples and bulk buy whenever there is a good offer.

4. Babies aren’t concerned with price tags

From expensive gifts through to designer clothes, the reality is that your baby doesn’t have a clue. Parents often find that babies are more impressed by the box that a gift arrives in, rather than the expensive toy itself. In a similar vein, babies aren’t going to care if they have just thrown up on their designer dress. Ultimately, the comfort and breathability of the clothes should take priority over everything else.

5. Don’t fall for costly gimmicks

Many businesses capitalise on the ‘pregnancy’ label, applying it to a range of products, such as vitamins, haircare, and skincare. Rather than paying a premium for the same product, you could simply check the ingredients and run them by your doctor if you’re unsure, in order to save money.

6. Check what benefits you might be entitled to

When it comes to saving for a baby in the UK, there are a range of benefits available, providing valuable financial help during pregnancy and beyond. The Healthy Start Scheme from the NHS helps expectant or new mothers afford the essentials, and the Tax-Free Childcare Scheme from the government is designed to help with childcare costs. With other benefits available, including Maternity Grants and Child Benefits, it’s worth your time to check if you’re eligible.

7. Healthcare perks for new mothers

Taking care of yourself is crucial after bringing a new life into the world. If you are currently pregnant or have given birth in the last 12 months, you are entitled to free NHS dental treatment, and you may even be able to get free eye tests, depending on where you live.

 

How to cut back on daily expenses

Your life is going to change forever when your child arrives, meaning certain habits might no longer be feasible. By cutting back on your daily expenses now, you should be able to save more by the time they arrive, and enjoy having more money when they are here.

1. Sign up for cashback deals

There are many cashback websites available that offer bonus cash gifts when you make a purchase via their website. Considering the expenses involved in essential items such as prams and cots, using these platforms could be an effective way to start saving money for a baby.

2. Shop second hand or take family hand-me-downs

If family members or friends have already had children, they might be able to help you by sending any second-hand toys and clothes your way. Given how quickly most babies grow (and the mess they are likely to make), you probably won’t want to spend all your money on pretty, pristine clothing for it to only last five minutes.

3. Plan against impulse buys

If you’re an impulse buyer who might be likely to blow the baby budget on items you don’t need, you might be better off planning ahead and locking your other funds away until the due date. You could do this by opening a six month fixed rate bond or a notice savings account that requires you to inform your bank of any withdrawals you need to make.

If you’re wondering how much to save before having a baby, some suggest having at least three months’ income stashed away as an emergency fund. For this purpose, you might consider an easy access savings account, which gives you the freedom to withdraw money whenever you need it.

4. Find cheap activities for playdates & date nights

Connecting with other new parents, and maintaining a strong relationship with your partner, is crucial for navigating this new stage of your life. Rather than spending excessively on coffee dates and date night trips to the cinema, check out what offers and deals are available to help you stay within budget.

Preparing for the future of your child

After the arrival of your child, you’ll likely be more concerned with the future and planning for the unexpected. There are a few things you can do to ensure the best start in life for your little one.

1. Sort the paperwork 

You’ll need to register the birth of your child either at the registrar of the place of birth or at your local registry office. This will provide you with a birth certificate and establish the identity and rights of the parents. You could face a £200 fine for not getting this done within 42 days (in Scotland 21 days).

2. Protect your family

Having kids can be a stark reminder of how precious life is and how important it is to be ready for anything. While it’s not the most pleasant thought after welcoming a baby, it can be a good idea to have a plan in place in case you pass away.

That’s why you might want to consider taking out a life insurance policy that suits both you and your partner, ensuring your family is financially supported in the event of your passing. This is a huge decision to make, however, and if you’re unsure about any aspect of it, you should seek independent legal advice.

3. Write your will 

Establishing certain factors, such as who is to take care of your child and what happens to your assets and finances in the event of your death, are part of being a responsible parent. Having a baby is the ideal time to consider writing a will, and is usually something that is done alongside your partner or co-parent.

4. Help your child with their future 

In addition to saving for a baby, you can plan for your child’s future by opening a dedicated children’s savings account. You might consider looking into accounts such as children’s bonds and child trust funds, which offer specific tax perks and contribute to your child’s long-term financial well-being. This might be something you’d like to set up straight away to take advantage of any cash gifts given by friends and family members in celebration of your baby’s arrival.

How to save for a baby: checklist

Here’s what you can do to save effectively for a baby:

  1. Budget during pregnancy and parental leave
  2. Consider a six or nine month fixed rate bond to save effectively
  3. Take advantage of the offers and benefits available to you
  4. Sort the paperwork immediately after the birth
  5. Write your will and consider life insurance
  6. Open a child savings account to prepare for their future

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