Having a baby
Becoming a parent is a momentous time in your life; however it comes with a lot of additional responsibility. It can mean big changes for your financial situation and also change your relationship dynamics in ways you might not expect.
The Money Advice Service has calculated looking after new baby could cost as much as £7,200 in the first year, excluding childcare. It’s no secret that having a baby is expensive, but talking about the important practicalities ahead of time can help you to feel in control both financially and emotionally. Setting aside time for these conversations once your baby has been born is also important; good habits can be easily forgotten when you’ve got less time on your hands.
Whether it’s understanding your parental leave entitlements, childcare options or tips on how to broach difficult conversations with your loved ones, we’ve worked with the Relate and the Money Advice Service to produce a wealth of content to support new parents in having important and constructive money conversations.
Starting the conversation
Below you'll find some valuable tips from Relate, the leading relationship support charity, to help make M-word conversations easier for you to have.
6 tips to help you start conversations
1. Understand each other’s attitude to money.
We all have difference views on money and spending. If one of you is a spender, you may want to buy all the latest baby gadgets while your partner is worrying about costs. Talk about your attitudes towards spending for the baby and where these come from. This will help to build understanding and limit rows.
2. Talk through the lifestyle changes that are likely to happen.
Having a baby has an impact on your normal routine. You may both realise that there will be some savings due to a change in your lifestyle. For example, you probably won’t eat out as often or dance the night away in a club every weekend, which is likely to save you some money.
3. Take the time to create a baby budget.
It’s useful to work to a budget. Sit down together at a time when you won’t be disturbed and work out what your money situation is. Get on the same page by accounting for everything from the baby’s expenses to maternity pay and money saved from not travelling to work. Agree a time to regularly check-in on it.
4. Don’t forget your journey to getting this far.
No matter how far along, you’ve come a long way. You may have already spent some of your savings on realising your dream of having a baby so your finances could already be under strain. Share your feelings about this to avoid any worry or resentment building up.
5. Avoid storing up problems.
If you know there are some particularly tricky issues to navigate, start discussing them before baby arrives, so that you’re better prepared for the financial implications of any decisions you make. For example, consider your plans for childcare if and when you go back to work – this could be a difficult conversation if one of you wants to use free childcare from a parent and the other doesn’t. Try to be sensitive to your partner’s needs as well as your own.
6. Think about the future together.
It’s exciting to think about your baby growing up and as a parent you want to give them the best start. Talk to your partner about your views on how you might put money aside for things like driving lessons, university or a deposit on your child’s home.