Budgeting with a toddler

By admin
13 August 2014

You made it through pregnancy, the birth of your child and have adjusted to life as a parent, and all that goes with it. This includes the costs associated with the new member of the family. However, even if you’ve budgeted carefully, as your child grows into a toddler the financial responsibilities of being a parent grow too.

Eunice Sibiya, head of consumer education at FNB says, “The first year of your baby’s life has certain cost implications but between the ages of one and three your toddler comes with their own unique set of costs. They are more social, attending birthday parties and might be going to a playschool or a childcare centre. The best thing you can do is be financially prepared for them.” Here are Sibiya’s top tips:

Going to not-so-big school

Many parents decide to enrol their toddlers in a childcare facility, and many agree learning through play is beneficial for their development. Whether you decide on a crèche or playgroup, or both, Sibiya says you should do your homework.

“You need to ask whether you and your toddler are getting value for your money,” says Sibiya. “Different facilities offer different services. Do you want a daycare, crèche or playgroup? Some crèches ask you to bring nappies and toiletries, while others include this in the cost. Decide on what you want and ask whether you and your toddler can have a trial run.”

If you’re choosing a childcare facility, let your child attend for a week as a trial run. Also find out if your employer offers this facility. There are usually staff discounts and you won’t have to change your driving routine. You’ll also be close to your little one during the day.

Sibiya says once you’ve decided on childcare or a playgroup, or both, you need to add this expense to your budget.

Sibiya also offers some tips, “Find out if your child’s school offers any sort of discount for early payment. It’s a good idea to use your bonus to pay for your child’s annual tuition, as you might get a discount if you do this.”

She adds that if you have two or more children at the same school, it might be worth asking if there are discounts for the second and third child.

Birthday parties

Once your child starts interacting with other kids, they’ll be invited to birthday parties and chances are you’ll be attending a party almost every weekend. You’ll also have your own child’s birthday party to plan.

“When attending other children’s birthday parties try and find toys that work for both boys and girls like puzzles, play dough or bubbles. You could buy a variety of these toys in bulk, and even better if you buy them on special. Then bring them out whenever you have a party to go to,” says Sibiya.

This will give your budget a break in that you won’t be buying toys every month.

“For your own child’s birthday, try to be cost conscious. Hosting at home will save money and asking friends and family to help bake will go a long way.

“To be even more financially savvy, instead of asking for presents ask close family and friends to pay small cash sums to an account that will go towards saving for your child’s education. You will be surprised at how quickly these small amounts add up over the years, and you will also be surprised at how relieved adults will be with this simple option,” says Sibiya.

Medical costs

Another cost to consider is a possible increase in your medical bills. When young children start attending a crèche or preschool, they’re exposed to more germs and illnesses through other kids, and with an undeveloped immune system they’re bound to get sick often.

Bundle them up warmly in winter and if you want, there are immune-boosting medications you can make use of.

Sibiya says it would also be a good idea to double check what sort of medical aid plan you and your family are on.  She suggests you call your medical aid and perhaps re-evaluate your needs and the plan you’re on.

“As your child grows their needs change and your budget needs to adjust accordingly. The best way to stay on top of this is to be financially responsible and re-evaluate your budget on a regular basis,” concludes Sibiya.

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