Having a baby
Budgeting for you and your child
Having a baby is one of
the most exciting times in your life. While nothing can quite
prepare you for the changes about to happen, one area that you can
get a handle on is your finances.
Have a money conversation
with your partner
Talking about the changes that will happen to your family after
you have a baby is really important and these conversations should
Some of the things to discuss may include:
- How do you want your family to function after your baby is
born? For example, who is going to be the primary care giver? Is
the primary care giver going to work? Answers to these questions
will be informed by your own values and your current financial
- Do you need to change how you manage your day to day spending
- Do you need to reevaluate your goals and priorities including
financial ones? Should you delay major purchases or try and reduce
Single and having a baby
If you are having a baby and you are single, it's important to
research and plan for your life changes as soon as possible. There
are important decisions to make about how you want to arrange your
life after you have your baby that will impact on your finances.
For example, do you want to care full time for the baby for a
period, or work part time or full time?
Being pregnant can be an emotional rollercoaster, especially
your first time. There are many new things to learn about and you
will probably want to know all about the baby growing inside you,
as well as what you need to prepare before the baby arrives.
It's important to budget for any associated costs during
pregnancy. These may include:
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Scans and special medical tests
- Maternity clothes
- Baby clothes and equipment
- Extra savings (if you can) for after the baby is born
It's probably a good idea to talk to people who have children to
find out what cost saving ideas they have before you go out and buy
all the latest baby equipment.
Budget for your new
Start your budget with your current income and
expenses. If you don't know where your money goes, try tracking your spending for 2 weeks, then put
the details in our budget planner. Add the extra expenses
you'll have once the baby arrives (nappies, baby food, nursery
equipment etc) and make adjustments for any changes to
your income if you or your partner take time off work.
Ask your employer about your paid leave entitlements like
maternity leave, recreation or annual leave, long service
leave or unpaid leave.
To keep costs under control, think about buying
second-hand goods. Check online, at specialist second-hand baby
stores, garage sales and charity shops. Find out the retail price
of new items so that you get a good deal. Family and friends might
also have items they can lend you or hand-me-downs they can give
You could be eligible for government benefits such
as Parental Leave
Pay, Family Tax Benefit
or Dad and Partner
Depending on your income and assets, you may also be entitled to
other benefits such as Child Care Benefit, Parenting Payment, Rent
Assistance or a Health Care Card. Try to incorporate these benefits
into your budget. You can phone the Department of Human Services on
13 61 50 for an estimate of payments for your
Case study: Jenny and Natalie's first
Jenny and Natalie are expecting their first child.
They have had several conversations about how they are going to
organise their lives after the baby and have agreed that Jenny will
take 9 months off work after the birth of their baby and she will
return to her current job 3 days a week.
Jenny has access to 12 weeks maternity leave and will be
entitled to the paid parental leave from the Department of Human
Services of 18 weeks on minimum wage. Jenny also intends to take
some annual leave. They will have a drop in their income and
expenses such as child care to factor in after she returns to
They decide to sell their second car and budget to pay off their
credit card debt before the baby arrives to reduce some of their
outgoings. Natalie will take 4 weeks annual leave when the baby is
Case study: Louise checks her entitlements
Louise is expecting her
first child. She contacts the Department of Human Services to find
out her entitlements as a single parent so she can determine how
she can manage her finances after the baby is born.
Louise would like to be a full time carer for 6 months after her
baby is born and return to her part time job after this period.
Louise's mother has offered to assist with caring for her child
when Louise returns to work but she also is looking into child care
now so that she knows the options available to her. Louise borrows
some of the equipment and clothes that she will need from her
sister who has older children, to save money.
Louise is worried about how she will manage unexpected expenses
when she is being a full time carer for her baby, so she starts to
save for an emergency fund while she is pregnant.
Child care will be one of your biggest expenses if you
or your partner return to work.
Before you go back to work, update your budget
with changes to your income and childcare expenses. This will
help you decide if returning to work will benefit you
Contact the Department
of Human Services to see if you're eligible for the Child Care
Benefit or Rebate to help you pay for child care.
Here are your child care options:
- Partners, relatives or friends: A great option
if you are lucky enough to have this support.
- Childcare centre or family day care: Costs,
conditions and waiting periods vary. Contact several to compare
them and see where places are available. Your local council may
also have information.
- Workplace childcare: Some companies offer
onsite child care.
- Nannies: For some people, a nanny is a viable
option. The Family Assistance Office can assess if you are entitled
to Government assistance for in-home child care.
Your child's legal
Do you have a will? Think about asking
someone to be the guardian of your child if you and your partner
should die and name this person in your will.
The way you spend money will change when you
have children. Getting your finances under control will give you
peace of mind and allow you to relax and enjoy being a parent.
Last updated: 19 Jan 2015
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