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Having a Baby

Last updated: 24 April 2017

The First Year

There’s always so much to think about when you first find out you’re pregnant – putting your finances in order is one of them.

Knowing what you may need, how much things may cost and budgeting adequately can help.

It’s useful to also know what you should be buying – new mums are always vulnerable to marketing gimmicks and pushy sales staff – so it’s a good idea to wise up before you head for the shops.

Research by insurance firm LV claimed that bringing up a child in the first year will cost a whopping £231k from birth to age 21, and this cost is expected to escalate to £350k in 10 years time. MMM believes it can be done cheaper!

So, before you start panicking, check out MMM’s guide below of what you may need and what the average costs might be – looking at maternity wear and essential baby things.

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Pregnancy Benefits

There a number of benefits you can get whilst you are pregnant, some are available to all and some depend on your individual circumstances

Free NHS prescription and dental care

You are entitled to free NHS prescription and dental care during your pregnancy and 12 months after the birth of your baby – regardless of your circumstances.

To get this, you need to apply for a maternity exemption certificate by filling out form FW8, which is available from your GP or midwife. Make sure you ask for it as soon as possible.

The form is usually processed very fast, but if you do need to pay for medicine before you receive the certificate, then ask your pharmacist for an official NHS receipt and you may be able to file for a refund.

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Maternity benefits

If you’re working, you will no doubt have been thinking about taking time off to look after your little bundle of joy as well as managing your finances adequately so you can enjoy that time off comfortably.

To make sure you can plan ahead, it is worth knowing exactly what your options are and what sort of money will be available.

What you get will depend on your individual circumstances, such as whether you are employed or just started a new job.

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Child Benefits

Everyone is entitled to child benefit, but this since 2013, new rules mean higher earners and everyone earning between £50k – £60k will lose some or all of their entitlement, and those earning over £60k will lose 100% of the benefit. You have to return some of benefits via self-assessment, which you should should register on if you fall into the higher earnings bracket.

It’s important you register for child benefit even if you are not entitled to 100% or any, as you will otherwise not receive national insurance credits whilst on maternity leave. You’ll also need your child benefit letter when applying for schools.

For those that are entitled, you can receive child benefit until your child is age 16, or age 20 and in full time education.

You’ll get £20.70 per week for your first child and then £13.70 a week for any further children.

You can apply for Child Benefit here.

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Tax credits

Depending on your household income, you may be entitled to tax credits.

Tax credits are paid by the government and you could be eligible when you have a baby.

There are two types – child tax credit and working tax credit – and you could get one or both.

 

Child Tax Credit

This may be available to you if you have children under age 16, or children under age 20 and in full time education.

You don’t need to be working to claim for child tax credit. You could get up to £2,690 a year for each child and up to £2,950 for each disabled child.

Eligibility will depend on your household income and circumstances.

To find out if you are eligible, use the HMRC tax credit calculator here.

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Budgeting

If you are looking at tightening the belt as you prepare for the arrival of your little one, then check out MMM’s money savings tips below:

  • Borrow borrow borrow – If you have friends that have had children who may have some unused baby stuff in their loft, why not ask if you can borrow them – baby baths and moses baskets, for example,  are needed for such a short time, you may as well  borrow them if you can
  • Don’t be afraid of hand me downs – babies can grow so fast in the first couple of months, so those extra vests and babysuits can certainly come in handy – especially if you end up having to change your baby several times a day
  • Try and buy stuff when it’s on offer – If it’s not, then buying online using cashback sites and voucher codes can save you a lot of money  – go to MMM’s shopping section here for more shopping tips.
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Reduce your grocery bill by 70% this summer!

The kids are off school and they are going to be hungry – inevitably, the next few weeks will see the cost of your weekly shop shoot up.

To help families keep the costs of food shopping down, MMM put Approved Food to the test, which can help slash the cost of shopping by as much as 70%.

There is of course one catch – the food is past or close to its sell-by date, but perfectly safe.

With a £30 budget, MMM managed to bag a fair amount – cereals, tinned food, sweets and treats, drinks and even laundry detergent and dishwasher tablets – the sort of things where you can generally ignore the date stamped on the product.

If you’ve tried reducing the cost of the grub by switching brands or shopping at discount stores but think you can do better, then try Approved Food  – you’ll be surprised at just how much you could save on some store cupboard essentials.

New products are available everyday and there are some real bargains. For example, Sprite Zero 330ml for just 29p or a 2kg Reeses Peanut jar for just £2.99. There’s even stuff for pets, at more than 50% off.

MMM was really pleased with service and surprised at just how at just how much £30 would buy (see pic above/ instagram).

Although we would like to see Approved Food cut down on the cardboard packaging, the items arrived well packed and in excellent condition.

So, if you’re looking to save a few more pounds on your groceries, take a look at Approved food – you’ll be surprised at just how good the bargains are.

 

Keep up with MMM on Twitter @MumMoneyMatters and Facebook !

 

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