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Being able to go out
Being able to eat without someone starting to cry as soon as you lift your fork….
Everything goes a bit leftfield when you have kids…
Nobody actually warns you just what it all means do they? They all say,
“It’s gonna be soooooo different when you have children”
BUT we don’t actually realise just HOW different it actually becomes.
Take finance for example.
Budgeting when it’s just you concerns whether you have enough for that next glass of wine, or the take-out Pizza because you can’t be bothered to cook. Not a nappy in sight!
Monthly outgoings involve make-up, nights out, a bit of rent, and food; the food you manage to fit in between the nights out of course…
But then, you have a baby, a toddler, a primary schooler, and suddenly budgeting is all about making sure that someone else is OK, someone really, really precious that actually really needs you to be there. Making sure:
- They have nappies to cover their bottom
- Food to fill their tummy
- Clothes to keep them snug.
All that’s terribly grown up; but then having a kid is terribly grown up I suppose isn’t it?
Or at least it should be….
It all comes as a bit of a shock, or it did to me, so budgeting spirals out of control, and debts mount up. How CAN you manage having a kid, without having a tiny bank balance, or seeing red at the end of every month?
- Keep a spreadsheet; there are some wonderful monthly spreadsheets out there for the budgeting family. Try this one from Diary of a Frugal Family as a starter for ten!
- Plan ahead; don’t just buy on the fly! That means anticipate what you are going to need for that child next, and then you can shop around and make sure that you are actually getting something that is fit for purpose, and good value…and not just because you are desperate for it
- Don’t get it just because they’ve got it! Think before you buy, do you want it because its important, or because that mum you always meet at playgroup on Tuesday has it?
- Only get what you need and not what you WANT; this is the killer. Again, you need to be a grown up about things. Do you actually need that fantastic rattle that looks just like a caterpillar and plays a lovely tune everytime the baby coos at it? No, you already have five other rattles…
- Don’t buy too much BEFORE baby arrives; you will get lots of gifts, you will overbuy because you think you need everything, and you will overspend…trust me, I know, I did it. If you stick with the essentials, then you will actually be much more likely to get it right. My guest post for Sainsbury’s Bank discusses this in more depth, and it might just save you a few quid
- Get help if you need it; If your debts do mount up, then seek advice about it from someone that can help, organisations like debtfreedirect.co.uk, do it for a living and can help you with monthly budgeting if things do get out of hand.
Just remember, as soon as you take that little cry-ambulator and poo machine home, you need to be a grown up about things.
Scary I know, but exciting too, yes?
Do you have any other ideas – come share with me!
Image above courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net