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Managing family finances

Once a new arrival’s on the scene it can be tricky to juggle your finances. Most couples experience a drop in income. And it is not uncommon for at least one parent to stay at home full or part time.

If your outgoings are increasing, don’t worry, there are lots of things you can do to minimise the financial impact of becoming a parent.

Cut back to help with the cost of a new baby

If you’re earning less as a household but have extra costs, consider these money savings strategies with your partner:

  • Try shopping at a different supermarket, swapping labels for own brands.
  • Consider giving up your Friday night takeaway.
  • Trade in rarely used gym memberships for walks in a local park.

If you’re both aware of the issues and responsibilities ahead, you’re more likely to tackle them together.

Childcare options and financial support

The costs of a new baby can all add up. Help with childcare costs from your employer and the government is available, from Child Benefits to free childcare.

Read our childcare options and help with benefits article for more information.

Set a family budget

To get your head around planning a family budget:

  • List your outgoings from the weekly grocery shop to regular monthly bills and one off car/home insurance payments.
  • Make and stick to shopping lists and don’t fall for deals that aren’t useful, e.g. three for two offers if you use one item a week.
  • Get the best insurance deals by marking renewal dates in your calendar and shopping around a few weeks before the contract end.
  • Use comparison sites to get the best deals, for example you can compare utilities prices. Again, it may be possible to save money by switching providers.

Read our advice on how to develop and stick to a budget.

Should you manage money jointly or separately?

How you manage your finances will depend on you and your partner’s attitudes to money. You could share responsibility for some purchases but pay for other items individually. You may want to try the following steps:

  1. Decide how to manage your money as a couple and stick to it.
  2. Review things if your situation changes, for example if one of you changes jobs or if you decide to have children.
  3. Set a spending limit. Anything above the limit is a joint decision.
  4. Set boundaries and be clear on independence. Then you both know where you stand.

Agreeing how to manage your money as a couple means you’ll both know what you can afford. If anything happens to either of you, you’ll each understand the other’s financial affairs.

Living with, or being married to, someone with a bad credit score won’t affect yours. However, as soon as you get a joint bank account or mortgage together, your credit rating could be affected.

Learn about the features and benefits of our joint account.

Build up an emergency savings fund

Everyone needs to prepare for sudden expenses such as a broken washing machine. It’s also important to plan for changes in financial situation, like the loss of a job.

It’s a good idea to have three months’ emergency savings available in an instant access savings account. So, if you spend £1,000 a month on mortgage or rent, food, bills and other items you should aim to save £3000.

Work out how much you need to put aside and set up a savings standing order.

Once you’ve met the target for your emergency fund, you might want to continue with the regular savings amount to fund other savings goals – you might well be used to this level of outgoings by then.

Take a look at our savings accounts to help get you where you want to go.

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