How to bud­get for bub

Western Times - - FAMILY LIFE - Lynne Suther­land, Sun­corp EGM Stores and Spe­cial­ity Bank­ing

EX­PECT­ING a baby is one of life’s most ex­cit­ing mo­ments. For many peo­ple, the nine months can fly by so quickly mak­ing it feel like you’ll never have enough time to fully pre­pare, es­pe­cially fi­nan­cially.

As a mother of two I wasn’t sur­prised by our Cost of Liv­ing re­search which re­vealed Aus­tralian parents spend close to $300,000 rais­ing a child from birth to the age of 17 – ba­si­cally the cost of a small mort­gage.

I also wasn’t sur­prised to find our food, ed­u­ca­tion and house­hold items are some of the big­gest costs. But what about ev­ery­thing else? Cloth­ing, child­care, nap­pies, health care, the list goes on.

As new or ex­pect­ing parents, an­swer­ing all these ques­tions on your own can be over­whelm­ing. Speak­ing to other parents and learn­ing from their jour­ney to par­ent­hood is in­valu­able.

Their ex­pe­ri­ences in plan­ning for the fore­seen costs, and also some of the hid­den costs can help you es­tab­lish your own bud­get and ap­proach – it’s amaz­ing how fast ba­bies grow, and sub­se­quently go through clothes, or how much you spend on food when they move to solids.

We want the best for our chil­dren, and we are all guilty of an im­pulse buy. How­ever, with more than 40 per cent of parents claim­ing they over­spend on food, cloth­ing, en­ter­tain­ment and so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties it is im­por­tant to be mind­ful of spend­ing and pri­ori­tise needs over wants.

It’s also im­por­tant to think about what im­pact tak­ing time away from work will have on your house­hold bud­get.

Pleas­ingly our lat­est re­search found nearly one in five peo­ple be­tween 18-34 years are think­ing ahead and pri­ori­tis­ing ma­ter­nity/pa­ter­nity as a key sav­ings goal.

If it works for you, try set­ting up a sep­a­rate ac­count for when your baby has ar­rived – this will help with the “sur­prise” costs which may come your way. Speak to your bank, ac­coun­tant or financial plan­ner for ad­di­tional guid­ance.

We have col­lected some of our favourite bud­get­ing tips from the peo­ple who know best – parents:

■ “As your child grows and their be­hav­iour and needs change, so will your spend­ing, bud­get­ing and sav­ings pat­terns. It’s es­pe­cially im­por­tant to pre­pare if you plan to go back to work – child­care can be sur­pris­ingly costly de­pend­ing on how many days you book,” said Melissa.

■ “When you’re start­ing to think se­ri­ously about hav­ing a baby, speak to your health in­surer to en­sure you have the cor­rect cover in place. You need to make any re­quired changes 12 months prior to giv­ing birth to re­ceive the pri­vate health ben­e­fits,” said Thy.

■ “Bor­row and share cloth­ing items as much as you can. They grow so quickly and most items will hardly get worn,” said Belinda.

■ “Friends and fam­ily will want to buy you gifts so don’t be afraid to tell them what you need. It may be a con­tri­bu­tion for a large item or some­thing which you can never have enough of like bibs. The last thing you want is 20 pairs of the same booties,” said Sarah.

❝ Speak­ing to other parents and learn­ing from their jour­ney to par­ent­hood is in­valu­able.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

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