Becky Goddard-Hill (@babybudgeting) is one of my Twitter friends and she kindly sent me a copy of her book to review. Becky also runs a howtoaffordtimeoffwithyourbaby.com which has some wonderful family budgeting ideas.
I wish I’d had this book when I was pregnant or even trying to get pregnant. To say that I was clueless about having a baby and the impact it would have on our lives financially is a complete understatement. We’d spent nearly two years trying to get pregnant, so when I did instantly on our honeymoon it was somewhat of a welcome surprise!
The first time it was apparent that maybe we weren’t prepared was when I was 6 months pregnant and I was looking around the nursery that my office overlooked. There I was oooing and ahhhing over the lovely baby room as I was determined to go back to work 6 months after the baby arrived. Then I asked how much it was a month, thinking somewhere about £350 would be reasonable. I was stunned when the lady came back with £860 plus nappies & formula – our mortgage at the time was only £600!. I was earning £1200 and my work was a daily 60 mile round trip, so my petrol was about £300 a month plus my lunch and other little expenses meant I’d be working for nothing. So we decided I’d be a Stay at Home Mum, and care for our baby for a couple of years – all well and good until hubby was made redundant when Miss L was 6 weeks old. Suddenly our savings were far too small, because we’d both always had well paid jobs it had never occurred to us that we might not have money coming in at all. It was a steep learning curve but a good life lesson, since then we have made sure we have 3-6 months of salary in the bank and tried to keep the credit cards down.
But How to Afford Time Off with Your Baby goes much further than the obvious that we’ve adopted. It’s a great resource for adjusting to the drop in family income you have when a baby comes along. Becky has covered everything from working out your maternity allowances, a guide to the various benefits, what you really need to buy for a baby, when to buy food cheaply in the supermarkets (I will now be shopping after 9pm!) how to easily save without thinking about it (cancelling a direct debit? – just move the money straight into a saving account instead!). The chapters I could have really done with are the ones on getting out and about with your baby on a budget. I’d never heard of mother and baby groups and had no idea they existed. Frankly they would have saved my sanity when Miss L was little, I ‘d go for weeks without seeing anyone to talk to. I was too scared to spend any money on going out other than to the park and to do the week’s shopping. There’s also an excellent chapter about making money as a Stay at Home parent, and one about how to afford nursery and pre-school care which can help massively if you are trying to start your own business and work from home.
I think this is a great resource for parents to be and I’ll be buying a copy for my friends who are thinking about starting families and some of the ones who have already!
I have 2 copies to give away to Violet Posy readers, leave me a comment before 10th January to enter and I’ll do a random number generator to decide the winners – Good Luck!.
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