Prepping for baby goes beyond getting his nursery ready, haggling over names, sewing booties and generally revelling in the warm-up to birth. You should, most importantly, be planning your finances for maternity leave. If you invest time now to plan and cut costs, and then follow up with regular reviews, you will reap the benefits for years to come.
Draw up a budget
Kick-start the budgeting process with honesty.
- List all your expenses, starting with your bond, your monthly rent, insurance premiums, groceries, car payments, and luxury purchases.
- Analyse your bank statements and receipts of the last few months to determine your average spending patterns.
- Check how much you owe.
- Calculate one-off costs, such as kitting out a room for your baby or paying those birth costs that medical aid may not cover
- Make estimates of future monthly costs, such as payments for nappies, formula, a nanny or an education savings plan.
- Compare this with what you earn at the moment. Take into account how long you’re going on maternity leave, whether you will be paid your full salary, a partial wage or no income at all.
- Work how much money you’ll require to cover each month.
Now that you have an idea of what funds are coming in against the cash that’s going out, you can work on maximising your earnings and cutting down on costs. Even if you’re fortunate to have a pretty balanced picture to start with, a little extra saving now can open up a lot of doors for you and your child later in life.
Stretch your income
While you are pregnant, consider ways to maximise your earnings. Perhaps you and your partner can take on additional work before the baby arrives. You may consider letting out a room on your property, and having a big clear-out with the aim of selling those items you no longer need. You may be eligible to claim UIF.
Spending is the part over which you can exercise the greatest control, and the responsibility may be intimidating, particularly if you’ve had a tendency to shop indiscriminately. But it comes as a great relief when you start saying, “No, my baby doesn’t need that jersey in a slightly paler version of pink than the one I bought last week.”
Here are few things to keep in mind:
Cut debt, particularly on credit cards and store cards. Then you can start redirecting funds from one area to another by smart saving and tweaking.
Start saving early
Any extra cash rolled over from your monthly budget should go straight into a separate savings account so you have a nest egg to tide you over during maternity leave.
Set aside unexpected income
If an unexpected cash bonus comes your way, like birthday gifts, cash-back bonuses, an end-of-year bonus, tax refund and inheritance money, resist the temptation to blow it all.
Start an investment fund for your child as soon as possible. When considering what type of investments to use, take into account your preferred timescale and whether you may need the money at short notice.
Draw up a will
Go to your bank or a lawyer. It’s the best gift you can give your child.
Make admin easy
If you haven’t already, set up internet banking to facilitate easy payments for convenience once the baby is born.