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Finance tips for families

Here we share our top ten tips on family finance including ways to save money and make sure you're claiming all the right benefits and financial entitlements.

Talking about money can be hard but it is important. Setting aside time to work out how you and your partner will budget for your baby can be really beneficial. 

Here are 10 ways to help make sure you're keeping tabs on your money and are prepared for any surprising expenses.

1. Make sure you're claiming benefits and entitlements

Don't forget most families are eligible to get help from the government. Pregnant women and new mums are also eligible for free prescriptions and NHS dental treatment. Take a look at our article that includes an interactive money timeline to help you make sure you have key dates in your diary.

2. See if you can make cutbacks on your purchases

Thinking carefully about your purchases can help you save. It may be worth seeing what you can get second-hand. Why not check out one of NCT's Nearly New Sales which have loads of baby essentials and accessories at bargain prices? 

3. Take advantage of a Junior ISA

A Junior ISA is an account that lets you save and invest for a child under 18, tax free. Launched in November 2011, the Junior ISA limit is £4,260 for the tax year 2017/18. With no tax on your ISA savings, you can see them grow faster. Take a look at our guide on Junior ISAs to see if your child is eligible.

4. Make the right choice on childcare

With lots of childcare options out there, there should be one to suit you, your child and your budget. Take a look at our article which outlines the different options and costs. You'll also find information about tax-free childcare to be launched next year.

5. Calculate your baby costs

Did you know that a baby could cost as much as £7,200 or as little as £1,600 in their first year, excluding childcare? The Money Advice Service's baby costs calculator can help you work out your expected spending, whether you are thinking of budgeting or want to see the potential costs if you plan to spare no expense. 

6. Write a will

No-one wants to think about what will happen if they are no longer around, but when you have a family it can be even more important to have a will prepared. Consider talking to a solicitor or a will-writing service to find out costs. Find out what your options are for writing a will.

7. Reduce your energy bills

It's not unusual to feel anxious about bills, especially if you're on a tight budget. There are ways to reduce your family's energy bills while also making sure you all remain comfortable. 

8. Make sure you know your maternity and paternity leave rights

You are entitled to maternity or paternity leave, however long you have worked for your employer. Although, agency or contract workers may not be eligible. Take a look at both your statutory rights and chat to your employer about their schemes to find out what they offer. Take a look at our section on maternity leave and pay for more information.

9. Think about how interest rate rises could affect you

Interest rates look set to rise and although they may be slow and gradual, they will affect everyone with a mortgage and it's worth seeing how it might affect you, especially if you have recently expanded your family. See what you can do as a homeowner to beat the rise in our article about interest rate rises.

10. Take the time to review your life insurance

Now you have children it could be a good idea to review your life insurance, or consider getting a policy. Not everyone needs life insurance, but if your partner or children rely on your income to cover the mortgage or any living expenses, it could be a good idea to look into it before the baby arrives. Read more about life insurance.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

Money Advice Service

Further information

Our helpline offers practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700.

Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area and see what NCT activities are happening nearby.

You might find attending one of our Early Days groups helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area.