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Monday, 26 May 2014

Money for Mummies

Money for mummies

This year's budget heralded a new hope on the horizon for sleep deprived mummies and daddies not only worrying about whether that rash on little Johnny really was prickly heat, but how on earth a nasty winter gas bill or newly huge shopping budget was getting paid.

In his budget, George Osborne promised to support hard working families with a lower income tax bill, help with childcare, a huge boost for homebuyers and help with some every-day costs.

But, in these troubled times and 2015 being just that bit too far away to breathe a sigh of relief just yet, what can we do to look after the pennies while we raise our little rocket scientists?

While some people might joke that being married to an accountant brings the wrong meaning to 50 shades of grey, it isn't all boring facts and figures.

He might eat sleep and breathe number crunching and financial forecasts but his astuteness meant we planned ahead from the minute the little blue line appeared. And with people now believing that the cost of raising a child to 21 has now rocketed to over £222,000 this was one thing I didn't find so boring!

For the first time in my life I created a spreadsheet and projected forecast during early pregnancy. This outlined incoming figures and outgoing costs for the year to come and how long I really could afford to take off on maternity leave.

It highlighted where we'd need to pull the belt in and looked ahead to any nasty bills that might appear in a future filled with only three hours sleep a night. For instance, car servicing, increased food bills and how much extra nappies would really cost.

I also started saving from the minute I knew I was pregnant. Did I really need to eat out, have a takeaway once a week, buy those new clothes I wouldn't get a chance to wear until they'd gone out of fashion? I managed to put aside money every month during my pregnancy and this is now what I'm living on alongside a meagre maternity allowance. How grateful am I to forego the odd kebab!

Finally, some other things I found useful were, firstly, not to be precious about hand me downs from friends' children. They really are only in them for five minutes and most stuff comes to you in a virtually new condition. Likewise, I will do the same for my pregnant friends.

It makes sense to buy nappies in advance, but be warned, those little poo machines grow at a rate of knots, so buy up the sizes. It may seem strange buying size two and three nappies before your little one has even come into the world but the planet suffers enough from used nappies being chucked away, let alone unused ones!

Gifts from friends and family are brilliant but the last thing you want is lots of baby's first tooth/ lock of hair/ shoe boxes. Ask for clothes or toiletries and allocate sizes to people (in the nicest possible way of course).

Lastly, I know I've said it before but save from the start! And do make the most of KIT days... Would it really be so hard to go back into the office and catch up with your mates for a day, while the poo machine stays with granny? You'll get paid for it too - yes real money! Something I don't envisage seeing for quite some time!

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