balance your budget
Tricky stuff

8 steps to budgeting for a new baby

When you find out you’re pregnant (or even before you start trying!), it’s a good idea to plan your budget so that you’re ready for your baby’s arrival.

Plus it’s possible for growing families to make big savings by following a few simple steps when budgeting for a new baby.

1. Balance your 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 the financial health check at www.consumerhelp.ie to help. You should include all of your income and outgoings no matter how big or small to get a realistic idea of where you are and what changes you may need to make. This will help you to work out how much money you can afford to spend, before your baby arrives.

2. Add up all your income

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.

3. Budget for baby

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)’s baby budget planner can help you work out everything you will need to buy before your baby arrives. Once you have worked out how much money you can afford to spend, try to spread the costs over the nine months so you are not trying to pay for everything in the last few months of your pregnancy.

4. Shop for bargains

See if you can get any good deals in the summer or winter sales. Don’t be afraid to bargain or haggle with the salesperson, especially for the more expensive items or if you’re buying a few things at once. You can check out second-hand shops or online for bargains on maternity clothes.

balance your budget

5. Baby essentials

There are numerous ways you can save on your baby essentials. If you are concerned about paying for the really big baby items for example, push chairs or car seats, ask family and friends to contribute to the cost instead of buying gifts that you might not need. You could also ask friends and family for any equipment that they may not use anymore. But remember, that some items such as cot mattresses and car seats should not be used second hand, for health and safety reasons.

6. Saving for a rainy day

Start up an emergency fund to cope with unexpected expenses. Saving might not be practical once your baby arrives, with all the additional dayto- day expenses, so, try and save as much as you can afford to before the baby arrives.

7. Protect your family

When you are a parent, you need to provide for your family today, but you also need to protect them into the future. None of us want to think that anything bad will happen to us, but you need to make sure you have enough insurance in place to protect your dependents if they rely on your income or unpaid work in the home.

8. Save for the future

It’s never too early to start planning for your child’s future. If you start planning ahead now for large future expenses, such as school and college fees, this can help to ease the financial pressures you may experience later on.

 

me-time

“Once I fell pregnant, I worked out how much I would need to pay the usual bills while on maternity leave. I would recommend making sure you save enough money to be able to buy a coffee once a week. It’s good to get out and about with your baby.”

  • Jane Clarke

More like this:

Baby budgeting basics
Healthy recipes on a budget
The weekly cost of a healthy family diet

Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.

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ASK JESSICA

Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.