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Preparing to conceive - am I being irresponsible?

(24 Posts)
Moo2019 Mon 24-Feb-20 15:24:03


This is my first post and it's taken me a really long time to be brave enough to write it.

I know there are lots of similar posts but it seems that everyone is in a different financial situation to me and I'm hoping for some advice based on people who earn a similar amount, have a mortgage and can't rely on their partner's salary for everything (no offence if that is you).

Last year I bought a flat and got married, meaning I now have no savings and between the two of us we have £9k debt on credit cards. This is interest free and we overpay each month.

We really want to try for a baby but I'm worried that our financial situation would be too tight. A complicating factor here is that I have endometriosis, PCOS and have already had a miscarriage from an unplanned pregnancy early in our relationship. This makes me really anxious about waiting too long (I'm currently 29).

We both earn about the same and our take home pay as a household is about £4000 a month. We live down south so our housing is quite expensive and so to cover all necessary expenses costs us about £2500-£3000.

So at the moment we can afford this and overpay on our credit card debt each month. However, we have no savings and still a substantial debt.

Is it crazy to try for a baby?

It will take us years to pay off the debt and save enough to cover the drop in my pay on maternity leave - and I can't wait that long. However, I'm worried that we're being really irresponsible and won't be able to cover everything.

Has anyone coped in a similar circumstance? I should add we have no family nearby to cover childcare.

I feel so sad and worried all the time because I have the fear of not being able to have a child and then the fear of not being able to afford it if I was luckily enough to have one! I feel like a constant failure because my body doesn't work as it should and me and my husband both feel we should be earning more and be more successful - most of our friends seem to earn double what we do!! I think if I just knew people in similar situations I would feel a bit better?

Thanks so much.

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FriedasCarLoad Mon 24-Feb-20 15:30:37

If you cut back on extras, you can afford to pay £1000-£1500 of credit card debt every month. That means that even if you conceive today, you can have be debt free before the baby arrives.

peachgreen Mon 24-Feb-20 15:37:55

You need to sit down and make three budgets - one for now, one for when you're on maternity leave and one for if/when you return to work.

Some tips:
- Figure out what your maternity leave income would be and try and live on it from now on. Put the rest into paying off your debt.
- Work out your outgoings. Add on £60pcm to your food budget for your baby (that should about cover formula and nappies / toddler food and nappies) and maybe £20 to the utilities budget (you'll have the heating on loads more). Put this towards clearing debt too, until the baby arrives.
- Find out average costs for childminders or nurseries in your area and take this into account in your third budget.
- Plan to buy as much as possible second hand. You'll save a fortune.

We did this and by the time DD was born we were debt-free. We now have around £1.5k of debt because we can't quite cover our living costs but will be able to pay it off once DD gets free hours at nursery.

FWIW I have PCOS and had a previous miscarriage and I conceived naturally at 32.

Livinginhope20 Mon 24-Feb-20 15:41:48

I always had this fear about if i was being selfish in my own needs rather than if it was practical and i think that if you feel ready in yourself to become a mum money wont be an issue because you will just make it work like ALOT of other people do. I make half of what you do and im only in part time employment, my OH is full time and only makes about £1600 after tax, we dont have alot of savings but make sure we put a little away each month for our future, my OH has a daughter from a previous relationship who we have full care of and she is 13 so you can imagine she isnt very cheap to have lol and were currently TTC #1 for me. Money is a worry for 99% of the population and your not the only one who feels like this 🥰

Moo2019 Mon 24-Feb-20 15:46:45

@FriedasCarLoad Thank you for your comment. I see blogs and things where people pay off that much each month and I am in awe, but I am really not sure how they manage it! We currently pay off about £400 a month and feel that we could push this to £600 but that is by cutting all the fun stuff, like dinners out (which I am happy to do!) - this would mean we could pay off the debt but have no savings. I am worried that we should be focusing more on saving to help supplement a loss in income?

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Moo2019 Mon 24-Feb-20 15:48:47

@Livinginhope20 thank you for your lovely message. That is exactly it, I don't want to be selfish and impact on my (future) child - but I also don't want to wait and miss the chance to have a family. Maybe I am worrying too much but it is stopping me taking that jump to actively try for a baby.

Good luck with trying for you baby!!

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Moo2019 Mon 24-Feb-20 15:53:25

@peachgreen thank you for your kind message and helpful advice

I think your advice about living off a maternity leave income is a great one. Currently, my husband and I keep our money a bit separate as we earn the same, put the same amount into a joint account for bills and then the rest is our 'spending' money for the month. I think we need to move towards everything being joint and stop seeing spare money as spending money.

I am going to start researching childminders and nurseries now - if I am honest I am a bit terrified of that cost!

It is really helpful to hear your real life experience and congratulations on your child smile

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peachgreen Mon 24-Feb-20 15:57:19

Yes, we used to do the same but we haven't had any spending money for a long time! grin It is a real adjustment, financially, but it's worth it providing you're not getting yourself into more debt.

The other option is to consider relocating. We moved from London to NI to cut our cost of living so that we could afford to have a baby. It was a huge sacrifice but if we'd stayed where we were, we could never have done it.

Livinginhope20 Mon 24-Feb-20 15:59:38

@Moo2019 You are not selfish for your needs and i can totally relate, financially i dont think anybody is ready for a baby and when you do take that jump and try for real you will know that its right for you and your family, i am in no way financially stable but i know what works for us and i know that we will be ok because everything happens for a reason. I hope you stop being so hard on yourself and perhaps worry a little less knowing that alot of us feel the same it just makes us human x

Moo2019 Mon 24-Feb-20 16:10:36

@Livinginhope20 thank you, it is really nice to just share the worries and hear it isn't just me. I don't think it helps that the people around me seem to be much wealthier than I am!!

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Livinginhope20 Mon 24-Feb-20 16:17:41

@Moo2019 Dont i know it! Lol keep your chin up hun

Moo2019 Mon 24-Feb-20 16:19:22

@Livinginhope20 thank you x

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Moo2019 Tue 30-Jun-20 10:46:11

I have no idea if anyone will see this but thought I’d update.
I decided to stop worrying so much and focus on paying off the debt. I’ve paid off 60% of it and... I have just found out I’m pregnant with twins!!

Obviously having two adds a bit more stress financially with childcare etc, but we are really happy and I appreciated all of your help and advice. I’m hoping we can be debt free by the time the babies come and whilst we don’t have savings, we can hopefully get by for a couple of years before we get free childcare hours.

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poptypingchef Tue 30-Jun-20 11:53:08

Incredible news! Congratulations - well done all round!!

mummy2myJJ Tue 30-Jun-20 11:59:01

Omg amazing news, congratulations!! X

Moo2019 Tue 30-Jun-20 12:32:41

Thank you!!

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SC1989 Tue 30-Jun-20 13:18:13

Hi @Moo2019

I just stumbled across this post and wanted to say a massive congratulations!

I think there will always be some kind of worry on your mind and finances are always a big factor. However when you're ready mentally and in the right relationship etc and everything else is great, it's the right time totally. I don't think anyone would have a baby if they thought about some negative aspects. The fact that you thought about that shows you actually are very responsible!

I've been TTC for two months now. I've been in my relationship for 2 years, just bought my forever home with my OH. In the back of my mind is the fact I'm not married, but I'm 31 now, we are doing an extension, I can't also save for the wedding (even though obviously a baby is expensive but that comes bit by bit). If you have any tips on falling pregnant then that would be gratefully received! I don't want to get OPKs as I feel I will become too obsessed...!

Moo2019 Tue 30-Jun-20 13:28:03

@SC1989 It’s so hard isn’t it - there’s always so many factors! But it sounds like you’re doing great having the house sorted. We have a two bed flat on the third floor so definitely not ideal and we did get married - but I think it’s just swings and roundabouts really! (Side note we got married for quite cheap by doing a registry office and then a reception at our local pub that let us have the whole venue on NYE)

I have PCOS and endometriosis so was really nervous about trying to conceive. I did use ovulation tests for the first month but this was more because I wanted to be sure I actually ovulated at all. I set myself the rule of only doing it for one month so I could see if/when this happened. I am prescribed metformin for my PCOS which is meant to help ovulation but I also started taking myo inositol which is a supplement that a friend recommended. I have no idea if it helped but I got pregnant in the second month which was such a surprise to me. I would say the first half of your cycle is the most important time - you basically want there to be sperm to meet the egg when you ovulate, so focus on the first two weeks. Wishing you lots of luck!! Like you said, it’s always scary but there’s a moment when you see the baby (or in my case babies) at the scan and you feel so calm and just in love (or at least I did) and since then I’ve just felt like everything will work itself out x

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MrsMamaD Tue 30-Jun-20 21:47:03

@Moo2019 your first post literally described me when I was debating whether or not to TTC my first.
Living in the south, earning £4k a month between us, pretty much the same amount of debt lol (damn you holidays!) We actually left our debt as it was when I fell pg and put all my efforts into saving, in hindsight I probably would have done half and half just to stop myself wasting money by only paying off interest.
Either way, we came out of it ok, we managed on one salary. I switched from shopping in main stores to shopping in Aldi/Lidl (fyi Aldi nappies = amazing!) and we ate out virtually never. Batch cooking and a slow cooker are your best friend. I was also lucky enough to benefit from the toys r us closing sale, I got things for silly prices. You might do well in the current sales? Next has a clearance sale starting on Thursday winkwink

Anyway Im rambling, I just wanted to say massive congratulations and from someone that was literally in the exact same boat as you, it's totally possible! flowers

Moo2019 Tue 30-Jun-20 21:51:53

@MrsMamaD ah thank you that is soo lovely to read and congratulations to you too, I’m glad it worked out smile

Can I ask what you did about returning to work/childcare? We can’t quite afford for me to not work at all but at the same time, childcare would basically wipe out whatever I earned (especially now there’s two). It’s a while off and I’m confident we will figure something out but I’d love to hear what you did/plan to do if you don’t mind!

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MrsMamaD Wed 01-Jul-20 09:48:36

@Moo2019 I was incredibly fortunate that when the baby was 6 months old, my mother retired and she offered to take him. She had him for just over a year and then I got made redundant shortly before the lockdown, so he's been with me since March. Just before I was made redundant though, we were looking for nurseries and in a 1 mile radius we had nurseries ranging from £60 a day (Busy Bees) to £4.50 an hour and surprisingly enough the cheaper one was actually the nicest, as it was smaller they offered more one on one time. It worked out to be around half of my daily salary, so yes I can imagine for two it almost makes working pointless!

If you are in a position for getting a promotion any time soon you could always speak with HR to see how you could hurry that along? or start looking for different opportunities that will pay off. My absence actually helped my company to see how much I did behind the scenes and they gave me a payrise shortly after I returned. Or you could start a side hustle? There's plenty of forums on here for how to make extra money that might help.

I do so very much hope that it works out for you, the sacrifices are completely worth it once you see their little faces and no matter how it feels, the sacrifices are only temporary ❤️ x

Moo2019 Thu 02-Jul-20 12:34:57

@MrsMamaD thanks so much and sorry to hear you were made redundant.

Definitely going to look into ways to make a bit of extra spending money!

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Juno231 Thu 02-Jul-20 13:27:03

@Moo2019 Just wanted to say congrats to the amazing news and well done on the debt!

An added thought to you continuing working post babies btw - even if your salary is wiped out by nursery costs for a few years, don't forget that the amount going into your pension would take a huge hit if you don't go back to work (especially due to cumulative growth). Likewise it would impact your earning potential for the rest of your life most probably. I know it's not the most fun to consider, but just a gentle reminder that it's not purely about the salary vs nursery cost debate, as a lot of people tend to forget about those parts.

Moo2019 Thu 02-Jul-20 13:30:39

@Juno231 thank you! Yeah I’m hoping we can figure out a way I can work to cover the nursery and bills etc, so even though we won’t have any spare, it will keep me employed and having sick leave and all of that. Then hopefully when things ease after a couple of years I can jump back in! Just hoping my workplace can be flexible x

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