Managing family finances when you’ve had a baby
Having a baby is amazing, but it’s not all plain sailing. Plan ahead now to make sure that managing the family budget doesn’t cause problems later.
- Cutting back to help with the cost of a new baby
- A problem shared is a problem halved
- Manage your money in a way that works for you
Cutting back to help with the cost of a new baby
“When having a baby, it’s natural to get excited but you should definitely have a think about the financial implications.”
If you’re earning less as a household (if one of you has to take time off work when baby arrives) but have extra costs, something’s got to give.
Think about where you could be making savings - it could be:
- The new sofa or TV;
- The Friday night takeaway, or
- That rarely-used gym membership.
Discuss these challenges with your partner.
If you’re both aware of the issues and responsibilities ahead, you’re more likely to be able to tackle them together.
Setting a family budget
It can be hard making the time when you have a baby, but people who set aside time to budget and then follow it up every week or so quickly notice the benefits.
Getting your head around a new family budget isn’t always easy but help is at hand.
“When we were first together, budgeting meant not going out with friends when the money ran out each month. But now that Yasmin has come along, we have to be more careful with our money. We sat down one night and made a list of all our income and outgoings. It took us a while, and we got a surprise how some small things quickly mounted up. Obviously there are the essentials, but we also saw where we could cut back a bit. The bank balance still isn’t always pretty at the end of the month but I’ve been able put a little away into a savings account for emergencies.”
A problem shared is a problem halved
Shared responsibilities like a new baby demand joint decisions around household budgeting:
- Talk frankly about money – don’t keep any financial secrets and there won’t be any surprises
- Set some ground rules – agree not to buy anything over a set limit, say £50, without discussing it with each other first
- Make time – household budgeting is important, so set aside regular time to discuss and agree money matters
Manage your money in a way that works for you
You might both need to cut back your spending to cope with the cost of a baby. Couples with children spend £289 a week each, compared with £170 a week each for couples without.
There are various ways to split and share the family budget. We’ve outlined the four main ones below.
Consider them all – each has its pros and cons – and decide which one suits your family and circumstances.
If it doesn’t work out, try a different one until you find one that you and your partner find works for you:
Option 1: Keep everything separate and split the bills equally
You each look after your own money but agree to either share every bill or for one of you to pay for some things, like the weekly shop, while the other pays for others, like the rent or mortgage.
Option 2: Share everything
If you’re open and trust each other 100% with money you can pool your household income in a joint bank account which then pays for everything.
Option 3: Divvy it up into mine, yours and ours
This way, you each keep your own account but also pay money into a joint account to cover household bills and family expenses.
Option 4: Take the personal allowance route
The main breadwinner transfers an agreed amount each week or month to their partner.
Any money that each has left over after paying for household expenses is theirs to do with as they wish, giving them some financial independence.