As a PANK (Professional Auntie No Kids) I feel somewhat of an imposter being asked to give tips and money advice for new parents and those thinking of starting a family. However, here at StepLadder we know the power of saving in groups, the importance of a support network for reaching your financial goals, and we also have a lot of members with young families who have planned, budgeted, hacked and saved money to go long on the fun without going too short on the cash!
So here are my top tips….
….isn’t real! There is no magic solution. Childcare is expensive. But if you want to return to work it’s one of the only essential things you’ll spend money on, and you’ll want to make sure you are getting the very best for your budget.
For many people the cost of childcare can be equal to the salary of a parent thinking about returning work, but there are so many reasons beyond money that might mean you want to return to work, so it’s important to not do a simple trade-off between cost of childcare vs salary. You can’t put a price on your own mental health, sense of purpose, collegiate relationships and professional pride that you might get from working.
Once your little one is between three and four there is support from the government for 30 hours a week of childcare depending on your income level, which certainly will be a big help. Keep up-to-date with the latest government schemes and check with your work if they offer any discounted nursery places.
Check out your parental leave policy as soon as you start planning a family. If you are in a couple, work out which parents’ company has the best policy and how you want to split your paid leave. If you’re a single parent check if you are entitled to any additional leave from your company.
Discuss with your manager or HR team your parental leave as soon as possible and make sure you understand the company policy, your return to work and flexible working options, and paid KIT (Keep In Touch) days you are entitled to take.
There is currently a focus for families that have premature babies to have additional maternity leave, so be aware of that if it’s relevant to you.
Don’t forget to see if you can get unused holiday days paid out.
You’re not alone….
Research shows that savings in groups can triple your success rate. Joining a collaborative peer-to-peer circle such as StepLadder could keep you motivated on your savings journey, provide you with support and guidance and potentially help your reach your savings goals faster.
You might have joined or think about joining the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) to support, educate and guide you through the journey of becoming parents. Why not join another supportive, informative and motivational group who can guide you through the financial journey of becoming a parent and potentially help you with your savings goals? www.joinstepladder.com
There are 100s of other parents living in your area who have spent hundreds (probably thousands) of pounds on baby equipment, clothes and toys they no longer (or never!) needed. They’ll be grateful for a bit of cash (far less than Amazon et al.) - so checkout GumTree, Facebook Marketplace, eBay and other online marketplaces, plus don’t forget your local charity shops who have fantastic bargains and you get to donate to charity at the same time as shopping!
Then when you’ve finished with your stuff, don’t bin it, sell it and make a few £££, another new parent will be very grateful to give your stuff a new home. Good for the environment and good for your bank balance.
Baby clothes are cute. Babies are cuter. So you don’t need designer labels and fancy clothes for them. Your baby will look delightful in whatever you put them in. The fact is they will dribble, scribble, throw up, and poo on their clothes and then grow promptly out of them, before your bank statement even arrives!
Supermarket clothes are good value, survive washing cycles and about 1/10th the cost of high street or designer labels. Even better, car boot sales and charity shops are full of bargains. You can buy a huge bag of really good quality baby clothes and still have enough money for a few packs of nappies for way less than it costs for one babygrow in JoJo Maman Bébé!
Buy clothes that stretch – little dresses and shirts with cutesy buttons and buckles and ties will have you not only have screaming with frustration and running late because it takes twice as long to get them on, they’ll also only fit for a very limited amount of time.
Plus don’t forget your family and friends with older children will probably be delighted to clear out their house and pass on clothes.
Just as you’ll know (or be soon to find out) with your newborns, schedules for growing your nest egg also work. Save regularly, the same amount and toward a specific target amount. Setup that direct debit and watch your little pot of money grow.
StepLadder member and single mum, Shanae, desperately wanted her own home for her and her young son Jayden.
She was struggling to save on her own when she came across an advert on Instagram about the power of raising a property deposit in groups with StepLadder’s peer-to-peer solution. Shanae joined a £500 a month circle to put £5,000 towards her property deposit. She was awarded her deposit just four months after joining the circle which meant Shane and Jayden could start looking for their own place a lot sooner.
Shanae really valued the support she got on the journey:
"Being a single mum, it was really daunting to be facing it alone, but StepLadder really understand and could help me, answer my questions and to just have someone I could go to. That was the golden ticket for me, I really appreciated having that one-to-one support"
Lucy is Co-Founder of StepLadder and Head of the Membership Team. She is also a professional coach who loves helping people achieve their goals.