This article was written by Lucie Wilkins.

The Working Mom’s Budget: Good Healthcare is Essential

We were somewhat lucky to be starting a family with some disposable income, bearing in mind it wasn’t a lot, but we had something to work with at least.

We were used to date nights and weekends away, amongst other luxuries. We knew this would need to change now that there was a bun in the oven. We first started thinking about exactly how our budgets and finances would need to be altered once we fell pregnant with our baby boy. Like most, I already knew we would have to plan a budget for things such as diapers, formula, and daycare. However, I also knew there were other changes and plans to be added to the agenda.

The first thing we investigated was private healthcare. Although we are lucky enough to have a free NHS health service in the UK, they are bombarded, exhausted, and suffer from long waiting lists. We decided that it was now time to invest in a family healthcare plan.

Neither myself nor my partner had life insurance before becoming parents. We both agreed that this was a must for our new finance strategy. I would recommend life insurance for both parents; the reassurance is very comforting, knowing the family will be financially supported during any difficult times. It’s not nice to think about these sorts of things, but once it’s over and done with, it feels as though a weight you never knew was there had been lifted.

Granted, it was still a long way off. We also decided we would start a savings pot for university fees. Again, being in the UK gives everyone the advantage of attending higher-level education with a government-funded student loan to pay the fees. However, we preferred the idea of our little one not having to start his adult life in debt.

The Working Mom’s Budget: Saving Techniques

Those three were the biggies; next would see us concentrating on the more minor things, cutting costs as much as possible to have more of a budget for family vacations, days out, accounting for a more costly grocery shop, etc. A few top tips I would like to pass on are:

  • Feeding, I decided early on that I would like to breastfeed – not only is it a cheaper solution, it also has many health benefits to the little one and mom too!
  • Feeding Equipment, if you want to express milk, you may find that breast pumps are very costly. I used a hand-me-down and just replaced the attachments.
  • Breastfeeding attire, I spent the first six months of my baby boy’s life topless at home, the easiest way, and worked wonders for our skin-to-skin bonding. I invested in a couple of breastfeeding bras but other than that, nothing more was needed.
  • Baby clothes, of course, we had to purchase a few new pieces as it was all exciting, new, and there is just too much cute stuff out there. However, the majority of his outfits are used items and hand me downs from family and friends
  • Shoes – we purchased our son’s first shoes when he started to walk. Before that at home, he was usually barefoot and outside when cold it was socks and knitted booties (handmade by my grandmother in law)
  • Special equipment – we invested in some durable glass baby bottles (these lasted the entire course until they were no longer needed). Our bottle sterilizer was a pre-loved item. We didn’t invest in any expensive changing tables etc. We just used a changing mat and our surroundings.
  • Sleeping arrangements, for the first six months, he slept in a Moses basket in our room, nothing fancy, just a simple store-bought one. It was handy and meant I could easily pack it in the car for sleepovers at my mom’s. He then moved into his room into a cot. We opted for a cot bed, so once he had outgrown it, we transformed it into a bed and didn’t have to purchase anything more.

The Working Mom’s Budget:

How To Calculate

To work out our budget in such a way, there were a few steps that we needed to follow. Firstly we needed to work out how much exactly (as accurately as possible) we had come in monthly. We then took a close look at what we were currently spending. We separated our expenses into an essential and non-essential list. Lastly, the result you have is the difference between your income and what you spend on essentials – your disposable income and what you have left to work with. We would also consider any added benefits we would be receiving as parents.

The majority of our finance reconstruction took place when becoming expectant parents within the first 18 months of our little boy’s life. However, as time goes on (he is now 7), we are still constantly reassessing, shopping around for better deals on insurance, etc., and of course, needing to make way for new entries such as sports clubs, tutoring, birthday parties, etc. on. We use this simplified monthly budget planner so that we can keep track of exactly where we’re at.

One thing is for sure, and that’s raising a mini human is VERY costly! As a vet nurse, I’m on just over average salary, and my partner is on something similar. With both of us working and being parents, we have had to keep a tight budget as the costs of living in London are very high! Wanting to give my child the best start in life has been one of the main driving forces for setting up a cat care blog where I earn a second income and why I plan to grow it into an extensive online resource for cat lovers. 

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