“Before a baby arrives, there are a number of once-off purchases you will have to consider, such as a cot or car seat, as well as ongoing costs when the baby arrive, such as nappies and baby care products. To help you prepare for this, we have some baby steps for you to follow.”
Balance your existing budget. Reviewing your finances is a great way to start planning for your new arrival. It will give you a clear picture of your financial situation, and you can use our financial health check to help. You should include all your income and outgoings no matter how big or small to get a realistic idea of where you are financially. This will help you work out how much money you can afford to spend, before your baby arrives.
Add up all your income. You may have to plan for a change in household income depending on your maternity leave entitlements and work situation. If you stop working, you should also take into account the impact that this will have on your travel costs. If you are considering the option of one parent staying at home, try spending a month living on one income as a trial run. You can then put your second salary towards any debts you have, or use it to start an emergency fund.
If you are taking maternity leave, check with your employer to see what you are entitled to. If you are not sure what state benefits you may be entitled to, check with the Department of Social Protection at www.welfare.ie. Make sure to include any entitlements in your new budget. If you have a pension plan with your employer, it is a good idea to find out how it might be affected when you are on maternity leave, if you were to change your working arrangements, or take a career break.
Budget for baby. You can use our baby budget planner to help you work out everything you will need to buy before your baby arrives. Try spread the costs over the nine months so you are not trying to pay for everything in the last few months. Saving might not be practical once your baby arrives, so try and save as much as you can afford to beforehand to pay for these items. You should also consider trying to pay off as much debt as you can, such as overdrafts and credit cards so that you are in a better position for the arrival of your baby.
You can make changes to your spending. Even small changes on non-essential items like dining out and buying coffees can make a big difference to your budget. Use our spending calculator to see how much you are spending on smaller everyday items.
Safety is important. Before you rush into buying anything for your new baby, consider which items are worth paying more for and which you can get more cheaply. Make sure what you are buying for your child is safe for them to use. If you are not sure, check out our tips for buying toys, equipment and clothes for children.