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Saving for Children - advice?!

Hi all

Myself and my husband are currently saving up to start a family - we budget well, and can fit to a set amount of money however, given we have recently moved house, our savings have depleted slightly (and finances have increased slightly, given it's a bigger house).

I am lucky in that if I were lucky enough to have a baby, I would receive occupational maternity pay (which I understand is on top of SMP after the first 12 weeks.) Myself and my husband don't have amazingly paid jobs but we earn more than the band to be eligible for Child Tax Credits etc. We are now saving to help "top up" my wage when I would be on maternity leave, given that OMP/SMP wouldn't be enough to pay all the things that my monthly wage currently covers. I don't think I could take off any more than 6 months from work due to finances in any event. We are extremely lucky in that my mum would have baby (if we're even lucky to have one!) for a few days of the week.

I have read up that babies/children are as expensive as you want them to be, so that once baby is born, you can be as frugal or as extravagant as you wish!

It's just good to hear from other people what their experiences have been in terms of saving/cost etc :-)

Thanks :-)
Quite frankly, I'm not sure why Alice left Wonderland...


  • roxy7699
    roxy7699 Posts: 1,067 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I have 3, I would agree they are as expensive as you make them except for childcare costs, anything you can do to keep them down the better. Investigate nurseries etc to get an idea on costs, you may well get help just due to the cost of childcare. Everything else can be found cheaply if needed, primark, buying and selling groups on facebook.
  • spadoosh
    spadoosh Posts: 8,732 Forumite
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    Weve gone from a little over £40k a year to ~£25k this year while OH is on maternity. That includes 3 months of no pay (taking the full 12 months maternity). Our cash flow is there or there abouts. We had a fairish amount of savings but this has all but gone on a wedding thats also happening this year.

    Whilst we dont have the money to enjoy the luxuries we mightve had before baby its easily offset with the fact that we dont have the time we would need to enjoy those luxuries either.

    Ideally you woudnt be in a lot of debt or push yourself too far towards negative cash flow. But things are rarely perfect. For the most part people make do, they really dont cost a lot unless you wnat them to.

    Childcare, i dont think, is that bad (i can see the justification for the costs) again sensible planning will make things better for you.

    Go make babies! Its fun and whilst there might be times when you feel like ripping your eyeballs out and beating your child with them after having no sleep in 3 days, the feeling you get from them is pure euphoria.
  • rach_k
    rach_k Posts: 2,236 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    There are a few things I'd never scrimp on but most things can be found cheaply or aren't actually needed at all. You just need to work out what's worth paying more for. That's the hard part!

    I'd never scrimp on car seats. It's not a case of spending more necessarily equaling the safest option but, often, the budget options aren't the best choice. I think you need to get the best quality seat that fits perfectly in your car and install it correctly. Fortunately, research is free and there are independent shops that will fit them for you.

    I'd not scrimp on shoes either. Again, the most expensive doesn't mean the best but sometimes the cheaper options that I'd choose for myself just aren't the right fit for your child's feet and you need to take care of them while they're growing.

    I wouldn't use an old or second hand mattress for a baby.

    Most women can, if they want to and get the right support, breastfeed so you never need to buy milk for the baby. If you do need or choose to use formula, I would choose the cheapest option that suited my baby. They're all made to meet the same regs, some brands just spend more telling you they're better, so I would ignore what they say on TV adverts!

    I don't like the idea of throwing away hundreds of nappies so we used cloth nappies and they also work out cheaper even when you compare budget disposables and include the cost of washing, water, electricity etc. They're a great option for lots of people and, again, research is free so you can at least consider it.
  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,177 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    I'd be tempted to put a bit aside to use for emergency childcare fees. It's great that your Mum has offerred to help out, but save some money just in case of her having illness or injury.
  • FreddieFrugal
    FreddieFrugal Posts: 1,750 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post
    We found that although our income has dropped considerably during OH's maternity leave - a lot of our expenses have also dropped like fuel and meals out. We also have had to spend far less than I thought we would.

    Child benefit does in fact cover a lot of our babies 'running costs' - like nappies and formula (unfortunately breastfeeding wasn't possible in the end due to complications beyond our control)

    We will have 6 weeks soon of unpaid maternity leave so for that time we will be dipping into our savings to cover our monthly costs.

    Overall though we'll still have more money in the bank at the end of maternity leave than we did at the beginning.

    It's the childcare costs afterwards that are huge - luckily we have both sets of grandparents nearby who are willing to share childcare duties
    Mortgage remaining: £42,260 of £77,000 (2.59% til 03/18 - 2.09% til 03/23)

    Savings target June 18 - £22,281.99 / £25,000
  • HoneyOnThePavement
    A friend of mine, allows his doughter to earn money. She is 8 years old and he pays her for helping him. But she doesn't take the money - they created a kind of a virtual fund) Think, it's a great idea)
  • ALPedro
    ALPedro Posts: 21 Forumite
    you are clearly in a financial intelligent state - that's more than sufficient. it's not the before children you have to worry about, it's the after birth. the hormones kick in and the urge to nest gets really strong.
    my rational wife went all nesting mode with our first.
    if you are aware of that natural compulsion and control accordingly and maintain current mindset- you will do well.
  • kimplus8
    kimplus8 Posts: 970 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post Photogenic
    I have 8 kids and we survive comfortably on 22,000 a year. That's all we have and I make it last but the kids do not really do without. As a family we have a budget and we rank our payments in order of importance and then what we have left we use for social and domestic pleasures like days out etc.
    Saving for a house in 2025 LISA £7726/£15000 Emergency Fund £1000/£6000 No spend Year 2023
  • Dennis-ka
    Dennis-ka Posts: 6 Forumite
    I agree that it's better to stimulate children to help but it's better not to do it with money, because that can backfire. At a certain point they might stop doing things for free.
  • Mary_Bing
    Mary_Bing Posts: 18 Forumite
    Personally, I motivated my children with money, when it came to reading and studying, and there were no problems
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