Babies are not always planned. Sometimes, a baby comes unexpectedly. Depending on your circumstances, this can be a joyful surprise or a complete shock. Either way, your life is about to change in a million and one ways, so read on for some useful tips to help you cope with your impending new arrival.
The first thing you must do is sit down with your partner and talk this through. This pregnancy wasn’t planned, so there may be a degree of conflict about the news. Perhaps your kids are all grown up and this baby has come at a time when you thought you were over the whole child-rearing stage. Or maybe your relationship is new, and a pregnancy was not on the cards. Either way, sit down and talk about it. Be honest about your feelings – good and bad – and be open to how your partner feels. Whilst it would be nice for everyone to be happy with the news, chances are, you will have to deal with some negativity too. Get everything out in the open and work it through. You can do this, but you must be on the same page.
Having a child is expensive. It costs around £230k to raise a baby to adulthood, so adding to your family is likely to have a major impact on your personal finances. It is very important that you address a number of issues early on, or there will be trouble ahead.
Work out your budget and figure out how you can afford to have a baby. Take into account your loss of earnings in the early years, if applicable, and decide how you are going to cover the shortfall in your income. Do you have savings? Can you downsize to a cheaper house? Look at ways of reducing your outgoings, at least for a while, so you can build a savings pot.
Firstly, if you both work full-time, consider who is going to take care of the new baby when he or she is born. Can one of you take a career break? Or will grandparents or another close relative step in to help? Have a quiet word with your employer and find out where you stand on maternity pay and time off work. Women in the UK are entitled to 39 weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay, but your company may pay extra.
If you both need to work full-time after the statutory maternity period has ended, and you don’t have a relative on-hand, start thinking about nurseries and childminders. Many are booked up months or years in advance, so you need to get your child’s name down as soon as possible or there might not be a place for them.
Creating Space for a New Baby
Babies take up a lot of room. They come with their own accessories and by the time they are a year old, your house will be overrun with baby equipment and toys. In the early days and weeks, your baby won’t need a room of his own, as he’ll likely be sleeping in your room, but sooner or later, he will need a bedroom.
If you have children already, can the baby share a room with a sibling? If not, do you have a spare room? You might conclude that your home isn’t big enough. If this is the case, you now have to decide whether you can afford to move to a bigger property, or whether it might be more cost effective to add an extension to your current home.
The Pros and Cons of Moving Versus Extending
Moving to a bigger home is normally costlier, so look at whether you can extend your existing home to provide an extra bedroom and additional living space. Loft conversions are relatively affordable, but this won’t work if you live in a modern house. Do the math and see if extending your home is financially viable.
If necessary, take out a small loan to help pay for any essential home improvements. Adding a partition wall in a larger bedroom or converting a small box room into a nursery might be the answer. Borrowing some money to pay for the work won’t hit your budget too hard, and it should add value to your home. Don’t forget, if your credit score is not the best, there are lenders such as Everyday Loans who cater specifically for people like you. You can start your application with them
or use a loan calculator to see how much you can borrow and what it will cost you.
Investing in New Baby Equipment
Babies need a lot of equipment. Unless you are already kitted out, you will need a new pram, car seat, cot, bedding, clothes, and a ton of other items. All of this can be expensive, so look for second- hand bargains or post some ads on Facebook to see if anyone has stuff they no longer use. Don’t be tempted to buy brand new if you can find used items in good condition. The only thing you should definitely purchase new is a cot mattress.
Whilst you might not have planned this, be positive and look to the future – you can do this!