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Where do you even begin to work out if you could afford a child?

(16 Posts)
moutonfou Sun 29-Oct-17 08:03:48

How do you work out:

a) what maternity pay and after that, benefits and govt support you would get, from different configurations of you/DH working and not working?
and b) just what a child actually costs and how much extra you should expect to need?

dertyyuoih2 Sun 29-Oct-17 08:15:36

Does your place of work offer occupational maternity pay? For example my line of work offers 4 months at full pay, the rest at stat mat.
Most roles don’t, and you get 6 weeks at 90% pay and the rest at stat mat.
Use the entitled to calculator and input the figures if you had a baby already and the £150 odd you would get a week for stat mat. This will show you what government support you might get.

Costing wise babies are very cheap, nappies / wipes / formuala- bottles (depending on how you feed) clothes wise they are cheap.
I probably spent 50 a month on baby I reckon. (You get 82 a month in child benefit).
Long term you need to think about what you would do when maternity is over, Nursery / SAHM / child minder. Nursery fees depending where you live can be from £35-£70 a day.
You can use child care vouchers if your employer has them, which there is a tax incentive on as well

lightcola Sun 29-Oct-17 08:16:56

You need to check with your employer what they offer maternity pay wise. Statutory is 6 weeks at 90% earnings then 33 weeks at roughly £137 a week. You can use entitledto.con to see what benefits you would get if any. Child benefit is around £20 a week which you would get unless one of you is earning a more than £50k a year. You can make having children as expensive as you want depending on how much unnecessary stuff you buy. At first you will just need something for baby to sleep in, a pram (plenty of which you can get second hand) a car seat and a few baby gros. You can then just buy as and when you need. Money can become tight (although hard to say not knowing what your income is) so in our case we stopped going on big holidays and eating out etc but too be honest we're too tired for all that anyway.

SonicBoomBoom Sun 29-Oct-17 08:25:04

Your company's internal intranet page probably has your maternity pay on it. Anything better than the statutory (90% first 6 weeks, £140 per week after that) is good.

With regards to returning to work after mat leave and working part time and topping up with benefits - Personally, I'd never plan to be reliant on any government benefits to top your earnings up, because they can be withdrawn, or thresholds changed, and leave you up shit creek. If you want to work less then cut your outgoings down, move to a cheaper area etc, so you can afford it yourselves. Then any extra is a bonus.

Newtothismumthing1 Sun 29-Oct-17 15:19:54

Agree to check about your employers payments. In terms of what a baby costs you can raise a baby giving them all the shiny crap we are sold or on hand me downs and second hand - somewhere in between the two works for me. I bought a Moses basket, a play mat, and a bouncer chair...the constant expense I find is the growing out of clothes, about 30quid every month on average.

Autumndays14 Sun 29-Oct-17 15:26:44

I think a lot of it depends on what you spend - a buggy can cost over £1000 or it can be less than £100. The same as with clothes, nappies, toys etc. Supermarkets are fantastic for toiletries, clothes and toys. You won't need nearly as much as you think, and it's actually stressful if you have too much stuff to wash and keep track of! When you have a baby you will also spend far less on other stuff, such as eating out, cinema etc and so in some ways you may find your living expenses go down.

BertieBotts Sun 29-Oct-17 15:37:48

Figure out what you'd need in childcare, and loss of earnings. These will be googlable. Yes, you may need to pencil in different configurations of you/DH working and work out what you'd get. Entitledto.com or maybe it's turn2us now - those show you what you're entitled to in government support though as PP said it may be best to ignore those if you're able to.

You don't spend that much more in food - it just evens out - and clothing/toy/book costs can vary so massively, you can get huge bundles on ebay for next to nothing or you can spend a fortune on imported Scandanavian kids' clothes/designer things. Of course most people do something in between. Unless you're right on the breadline for your current clothing/house item purchases, you can probably do this just by spending comparatively less on stuff for yourselves.

It helps if you can have a bit saved for the big expenses which is car seat, pram, cot, etc. £1k for low budget, £2k for mid range, £4k for top range plus a bit left over(?)

If you would need to change your car or move to a bigger house factor those costs in.

That's about it, I think.

InDubiousBattle Mon 30-Oct-17 16:27:02

I always end up going a bit against the grain on the "how much do children cost?" threads! IMHO children are massively expensive. The cost of course varies from one family to another but compared to not having them at all they are really expensive. We always wanted to have dc all and for me to be a SAHM, so we removed my earnings from our budget and worked out if we could live on dp's salary alone. If you return to work it will depend d on your works maternity package as to how much you will get (if any) above statutory mat pay. Child care is very, very expensive for the first 3 years and just very expensive after that. My experience among my friends is that it's doable for one child but very tight for two. Nurseries where i live are around £47 a day and childminders are around £4.50 -5 an hour.

With regard to baby stuff you can spend relatively little or a small fortune. Clothes, nappies, wipes etc are cheap for little babies and you can get some real bargains at second hand sales. I think Bertie has it about right with £1k being a low budget and the sky's the limit at the top end! As they get older feeding them and clothing them gets more expensive. Mine are 2 and almost 4 and they seem to grow out of clothes all of the time. Tomorrow I'm going to get dd new shoes, ds wellies, dd some warm pjs, both need hats and gloves, both need a coupl of jumpers- it will be £150. As they get older still things like clubs and music lessens add up and any trips out are expensive.

They are wonderful and worth every penny but financially no one comes out unscathed in my experience!

hiyasminitsme Mon 30-Oct-17 21:06:27

The main cost is childcare, or one person stopping working to be a SAHP. Second largest cost is drop of income on mat leave. work out those two first.

skankingpiglet Tue 31-Oct-17 00:24:18

I found the initial purchasing for DC1 fairly cheap (£700) by buying a lot second hand or in the January sales, and the initial costs for DC2 were very minimal as everything was reused. She got a new teddy and a couple of new grows (the latter out of guilt of nothing being new!). I buy clothes well in advance as I see things on sale or at nearly new sales then put them away until needed. At the moment DC2 is fine with hand me downs, but as they become closer in size (24m gap) I can see DC1 not always being finished with a size before DC2 needs it which will mean more new clothes for DC2. Toys are often second hand, although this is becoming more difficult with 3yo DC1.
Maternity pay really wasn't so bad as I was spending a lot less on going out/commuting costs/booze. My out-goings dropped significantly. Plus the lack of boozing during pregnancy meant I was able to save a little cushion to see me through my mat leave (esp the last unpaid 3m).
However as already mentioned it has been childcare that's the killer. DC1 now has funded hours, but it doesn't cover all of hers and there is no help with DC2's costs. It is the second largest outgoing after our mortgage payment, to which it is nearly equal in size.
Also the food bill. DC1 is potty trained and DC2 is in cloth nappies 60% of the time, and no formula bought any more but between inflation and two tiny people our grocery shop has doubled in price in comparison to pre-DCs three and a bit years ago. They eat more than I ever imagined an army of small people could consume.

Ultimately I think unless you are already really struggling, you can afford it. Somehow you will make it work because you have to. Do you eat out/drink/smoke a lot OP? What sort of holidays do you take? Etc. A lot of money can be found if you really pare back to the essentials or basics.

TinselTwins Tue 31-Oct-17 00:52:33

The main costs are loss of earnings and earning potential
No amount of cloth nappies or second hand prams will mitigate against that!
No-one where I work gets promoted if they are on any sort of family friendly contract. The parents in senior positions all promoted prior to having kids, or once their kids were grown.

In my previous job, mums had to work twice as hard to prove their worth and get still got the fact they were mum's thrown in their face all the time ( " I don't think that's going to be feasable" "We know that you have other commitments at home but we all need to pull together and make this work" - that sort of bullshit)

lots of posters will tell you "oh you just find a way to make it work"
How do those posters explain all the families in the UK who live in poverty?
The ends have to meet, the sums DO have to add up, even though the MN line is always "just go for it, it'll be FIIINE, just buy second hand"

TinselTwins Tue 31-Oct-17 00:59:13

If you rent, it becomes a landlord's market.
You're no longer a desirable couple, you slip down their list and have to take what you're given. EAs don't get back to you once you have a baby on your hip and the good value habitable places keep going to others (child free professionals mainly). So you end up paying over the odds for anything half decent because you no longer have the choice of the market.

Qualifying for mortgages gets harder so you get less favourable deals as they take into account that you have dependants

There are tonnes of hidden expenses beyond the obvious prams, clothes & childcare.

EllieQ Tue 31-Oct-17 08:11:12

It's not just the cost of maternity leave - I agree that the main costs are childcare in the preschool years, and impact on your earnings. Add ~£500 to your current costs for childcare, reduce your income to part-time levels, and see how your budget looks! Don't assume it has to be you who reduces hours etc. We reduce childcare costs by DH working compressed hours so he is at home with DD one day a fortnight - is there any scope for your partner to do this?

I've found that the 'savings' of not socialising etc do not match the cost of childcare! Money is really tight at the moment but will improve when we get the 30 hours free childcare. This may be cancelled out by the fact that children get more expensive as they get older sad

EllieQ Tue 31-Oct-17 08:11:30

It's not just the cost of maternity leave - I agree that the main costs are childcare in the preschool years, and impact on your earnings. Add ~£500 to your current costs for childcare, reduce your income to part-time levels, and see how your budget looks! Don't assume it has to be you who reduces hours etc. We reduce childcare costs by DH working compressed hours so he is at home with DD one day a fortnight - is there any scope for your partner to do this?

I've found that the 'savings' of not socialising etc do not match the cost of childcare! Money is really tight at the moment but will improve when we get the 30 hours free childcare. This may be cancelled out by the fact that children get more expensive as they get older sad

Believeitornot Tue 31-Oct-17 08:14:34

Yes the costs are loss of earnings but I do hate the way that it’s all done on the mums salary.
I completely understand the logic but actually the father has also to absorb some of the impact and accept that, you know what, maybe his income will drop too.

We put together a spreadsheet but luckily costs weren’t too tight so we could afford the most expensive childcare and don’t have to budget too tightly.

Roseandmabelshouse Tue 31-Oct-17 09:03:48

It also depends how much you are willing to do without. It could be much more expensive if you plan to still go out and have luxury holidays. If you are willing to cut back on things you might deem essential now, then children might be totally affordable.

Would you want to try continue working or one of you be a stay at home parent?
Have you got things now that you could cut back on?
Are you willing to buy things second hand?

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