When starting a family, there are many things you will think about: What will be your baby’s gender? Which name will you choose and how are you going to decorate the nursery? But once the initial excitement is over and the idea of becoming parents has set, you will start to think about the serious things coming towards you.
How will you cope financially? Will you go back to work or will you be a stay-at-home-mum and will you be able to afford the lifestyle you had before being mummy and daddy? Although Amy was a surprise baby (I was on the pill when I fell pregnant), we were over the moon when we found out we were going to be a family of three. We instantly started discussing names and all the great things that families experience together, but we also worried about our financial future – thanks to all the scary flyers and articles you read in the magazines your get from midwives. Not having any considerable savings we had to tighten our belts and make savings where possible.
The first thing we cut back on was takeaways. They are so convenient and such a lovely treat on a Friday night, but for the cost of two meals we could easily prepare two or three home cooked meals. The next thing we did was making sure that we had the best possible deals for our mobile phones, our TV, telephone and broadband connection without having to compromise on the service we are used to and like. We simple phoned up our providers and asked, if they could do anything for us and you might be surprised, but all of them could. Vodafone reduced both our bills by at least £5 each, saving us a tenner on our mobile phone bill each month.
Our Virgin bill was reduced by a whopping £20 simply because we said we’d consider switching to Sky and when we checked with our gas and energy suppliers, we got a discount for switching to monthly direct debits and e-billing. Altogether we have reduced our monthly outgoings by around £150. I’m sure we could still do a little better than that, but when making cut-backs we also wanted to make sure that we have to give up on as little as possible. We are creatures of habit after all.
What changed drastically was our view on savings. Before, we would spend whatever we earned on nice meals out, weekend trips, clothes or holidays, we now wanted to make sure that Amy has a secured future, if something happened to either of us. Of course, my mum and dad would be there for her and make sure that she has the best possible upbringing, but we also wanted to make sure that if something should happen to us, Amy doesn’t have to worry about anything.
As we are both no experts, I met up with an old friend and her partner who worked as an independent financial advisor just after Amy’s birth, but after three hours that were meant to be an informal chat, I took my bags and ran a mile. My friend’s partner was pushy, couldn’t really explain what we really needed and what was a waste of money and I just felt, he was after a sale rather than providing us with the information we needed to make a good decision.
In the end, we decided to get life insurance for us and set up a savings account for Amy – online and after checking possible providers and their policies in peace and quiet. Finances might not be the most exciting thing to spend your well-deserved free-time on, but your family and their future make it worth it.
How do you make financial decision? Have you got a financial advisor? Do you trust your friends’ opinion or do you research on your own?
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