To think I'm not sure if I can afford to have kids?(37 Posts)
Me and OH both early 30's, I earn 25k and him 15k.
Live in the South East in a one bedroom rented flat 700 per month.
Is it doable? How do people manage? I'm not one for expensive clothes and what not and pretty sure my future child would be fine with second hand stuff.
Do people worry so much about money or do you just go for it and hope you can get by?
I worried. I was in a one bed flat and we moved to a three bed before trying for a family, not feasible in London I appreciate. Other people manage, suppose you just need to decide on what you want for dc and what your priorities would be? Everyone told us there's never a 'right time' to have children, we still have a tonne of debt which is far from ideal but I'll make it work somehow
We didn't worry about money when we had kids (i was a poorly funded post-grad!) and it has been a tough few years financially. its not so much the clothes and toys (mine have loads of secondhand stuff), its more associated things like increased costs of housing (you will probably want another bedroom at some point!), travel etc etc.
If I could relive the last 5 years, I would tell my younger self to save like crazy before having kids in order to have some sort of buffer, but to be honest, I doubt my younger self would listen! Of course having kids at the start of the recession was also a silly thing to do ;)
No one can ever afford kids
until they have to
I'm in the 'go for for it and hope for the best' camp. There are tonnes of reasons to wait to have kids, some better than others. I think finances are an important thing to think about, but not one to avoid having kids over as children can be as cheap or expensive as you want (to a point). So much of the things that seem like 'have to haves' aren't necessary, or can be bought when and if you need them . Nearly new sales are great for saving loads.
Having said that I did move from London just before starting a family and it has made it easier. We survive on my DH's salary, but that was an easy choice because I was a mature student and didn't have a job to give up. Childcare seems to be the most expensive thing, and the hardest to compromise on (you can't exactly go second hand!). Do you have family who could help out with that as that would save you loads?
It is a good question.
We lived in a top floor, two bedroom flat in London when our first baby was born nearly 20 years ago now and I do recall wondering how we would manage. We did though. We live in a four bedroom house (outside of London) and have three daughters.
Sensible though it is to try and wait until you can properly afford it to have children, it isn't always practical in the timespan available to women as their biological clock ticks ever louder.
I suspect that if I had waited until we could absolutely afford to have children with money no object I would still be waiting now at age 48, and may never have had them. That wasn't what I did though. I had my eldest when I was 28 and my youngest when I was 36. Maternal wishes and feelings are often strong enough to defy simple logic.
When we started our family DW had just been made redundant and we were pretty skint. Our view was that if we waited until we could afford kids we'd never have any. Not saying it was easy 'cos it wasn't but we did it.
Your main problem will be that you're the main earner and when you're on mat leave you'll only get £139 per week for most.of your time off. If you don't have some savings then that'll be very tough. We sat down with my employer's maternity policy and worked out the figures. It turned out we could afford up til the end of a year's maternity leave Ok and then we don't really know about childcare etc and there's a risk we'll struggle. We decided that we want kids enough to wing it, but at least we know the first year is sorted.
I did the five year plan and I don't believe in the whole "well things change" ideology. Yes things come along and have come along which have messed up my plan but there is always a way to get back on track (excluding death).
So personally I like to line up my plans before children, I would worry me not to do so. However it's all about individuals and some people don't like planning, plus numerous other reasons which everyone will tell you. But that's me, I like to plan.
Do you want a life potentially without children? If the answer is no, then just go for it as there will never be a perfect time.
We were on about 30k with a rent of £650 before DS was born. It was fine, we didn't struggle at all. I only got SMP (as I was an agency worker) and then I didn't go back once my maternity leave was up. We found that amount of money manageable but that was without childcare costs. You will need to work out what's going to happen at the end of ML - are you both going back fulltime, is one of you going to drop hours/stay at home?
As others have mentioned, saving up is a good idea - perhaps save intensively for a year, then start ttc (it could be another year or more before anything happens) and you should be fine.
I just went for it, and have had my kids at possibly the worst time financially but not regretted it at all. Babies can be virtually 'free' (never understood all this nonsense about how much babies cost, they need practically nothing and what they do need can be got 2nd hand free or cheap). The older they get the more they cost, but many people manage on a lot less than what you and your DH earn (us included). The space issue (as in the size of your house/flat) does make a difference. We are struggling a bit for space now but can't really afford to move. But it is doable, and certainly I wouldn't say the kids suffer for it, just a bit frustrating for the adults at times.
Sn00p - on another thread you just said you had been with your P 6.5 months and were 6.5 months pregnant? Must have been a quick house move
OP you need to work out how you are going to cover your maternity leave, or whether in fact your P takes paternity instead because he's the lower earner. And think about having some savings so that if you suddenly need to move house because the LL sells up, then you've got a deposit etc ready. Otherwise you're going to be vulnerable.
On that salary you would get tax credits etc while you were on maternity leave. Then when you go back to work he stays at home or goes part time to keep childcare costs down, or his wages pay for childcare you live on yours. It's tight but possible.
You can easily find a 2 bed flat for £800 and the child benefit will cover the extra on top of what you are currently paying.
I had DS when XH and I had very similar salaries to you and that's more or less what we did, until we split.
Thanks for the replies, we have savings which were to go towards a house deposit but now that is looking unlikely. MIL is retired and willing to do some part time childcare I think.
My ML package is really good 6 months full pay I think. Not that that is a reason to have kids but would help!
Interesting people say there is no right time, it must be the same for everyone I guess!
If this was a benefits thread, you'd have an overwhelming chorus of people disapproving of those who have children and can't afford to look after them. Just saying. FWIW - I think you should go for it..
Oh just go for it. You will manage. So what if you take a bit in benefits while the baby is young, once you are back at work you will be contributing plenty. It's also a crazy situation when a couple on £40k can't have a child without financial help.
I think there can be a right time. I was in a stable relationship from 22 and waited tilli was 30 to have children at 'our' right time. Admittedly I am in the minority.
However, in my early 30s I would try for a baby regardless - your body clock will not wait.
I agree there's no right time, but I absolutely wouldn't have children until you lived somewhere that had more than one bedroom, but that's just me.
We saved for baby number 1, which allowed me to have the full year off on SMP.
We still have savings left, only enough to move or have another baby. I am 30 weeks pregnant and we are moving on Sunday. Fuck knows how we'll manage? BUT we will.
When we started ttc, I was the main earner and dh was on a lower wage. We lived in a tiny 2 up 2down and had no savings. We didn't even think about affording it, but were determined to work hard and make it work.
We didn't conceive for 4 years and by then our earning capacities had switched, dh was earning more and we had moved to a bigger house. Fast forward 11 years and we have scrimped through the childcare years, but have moved again, about to extend and are comfortably off and have a bit of a nest egg.
Can you determine a career path for either/both of you that might indicate increased future earnings? We made a choice for dh to stay full time and me to go part time as he was likely to earn more in the long run.
I had DS in a one bed and moved when he was 9 months, it was fine.
1. Do as I did - 2 weeks off work then back full time or take your full 6 weeks at 90% pay. It works well.
2. Find the full time childcare before you have the baby and work full time until you go into labour - again we did that and it worked well.
3. Buy all the baby clothes second hand - we did that; also most of the equipment people say you need you don't.
4. When we started the cost of child care was 100% of one of o ur salaries. However by getting promotions and working very hard that was soon not the case. Keep work as your number 1 priority and don't be conned into months off work by mothers who either have a lot of money or a husband who earns enough to support them.
feeling financially secure is, of course, important. But if you both know for sure that you want DC then I'd crack on - you don't know how long it might take or what problems might rear their heads - hopefully none, but you just don't know.
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