Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Cutting Costs After You Have Had A Baby

This post was written by A. Walsh a freelance writer.
Maternity pay helps you to take some time off to be with your baby once he or she is born, but the reality is that, like most people, you’ll be living on a reduced budget. Click here to make sure you’re getting the maternity leave and pay you should be and prepare to cut back on some everyday costs.

As with any life change, the first thing you should do is plan – the baby budget calculator at the Money Advice Service helps you list your income and outgoings. Knowing exactly what you’ve got coming in helps you to sort out the essentials and understand what you’ve got left for the luxuries!
There’s no need to always buy new. Good quality second hand baby goods are widely available on eBay and other local selling sites, as well as from family and friends. Remember that most baby equipment and clothes are only used for such a short time that second hand is often as good as new. Organisations such as the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) also hold regular sales of baby goods, and your local Freecycle scheme may even have baby items available for free.
As with most things, feeding your family is cheaper if you plan ahead. Make a weekly plan of meals and then go to the supermarket with a list – and stick to it. The website mumsnet has lots of handy hints to help you cook nourishing, cheap meals – including advice on bulk cooking and freezing, and whipping up a tasty casserole with leftovers.
Check out your benefits too. If you’re not going back to work, or if you’re reducing your hours you may be entitled to more benefits than you accessed before. The organisation Turn2us offers a benefits search on their website. You’ll need to enter details about you and your partner to get a really accurate result, but the checking service is free and easy. If you are returning to work, you may also qualify for help with childcare costs.
After you’ve had a baby, you’ll naturally want to get out and meet other parents. Avoid expensive play centres in favour of your local Sure Start centre or playgroup. Sure Start centres offer a range of classes and activities for parents at greatly reduced costs and many sessions are free. Look for your local centre at www.gov.uk.

Entertaining children doesn’t need to be costly: Creating models out of old boxes; Playing with homemade shakers (ie: rice in a secure tub); Toddling around the park; or having a picnic, will all get you having fun together and be kind to your pocket.

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