According to new research out by Suncorp, the average weekly cost to raise an infant is $206.00. This amount will fluctuate for the rest of her life but you can expect to be spending a large chunk of your income in raising your children. The good news is that there are several different resources available to help you pay for the costs of having a baby and moving onto just one income, whether for a few weeks, a few years or indefinitely.
Financial Planning for Baby
As soon you find out that you are expecting a little one, it may be time to start tightening your belt. Rather than spending money on late night dinners and expensive wines, you will probably be saving for a cot, a change table and a pram. You can spend a good chunk on buying things for a baby but you don’t have to – rely on hand me downs from friends, look for garage sale bargains and shop online for second hand items which can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Often the difference between a $1500 cot and a $200 is the boutique store where you bought it.
It is a good idea to start a spreadsheet of all the items that you will need for your new baby. Start as soon as you can to get the best deals and sales out there. Waiting until the last minute or buying everything new and not on sale is, simply put, a huge waste of money, especially as there are so many different baby sales and second hand options out there.
Government Support for New Parents
There are several different government resources out there to help you financially during this time. Many employers will offer a certain amount of paid parental leave as part of their benefits package. However, this is not always the case. If you have any leave saved up, it might be best to postpone your yearly holiday overseas and take this time pay when the baby arrives.
If you do not qualify for maternity leave through your place of work, there are other options. The Baby Bonus is available for all parents and currently provides new parents with $5437.00 per eligible child in 13 fortnightly instalments. There is an income eligibility test involved in claiming the baby bonus as well as a few other requirements.
In some instances it may be more economical for your family to choose the Paid Parental Leave plan provides payments up to 18 weeks at the National Minimum Wage. You cannot claim for both the Paid Parental Leave and the Baby Bonus. The Paid Parental Leave will be based on your income, as well as other stipulations such as Family Tax Benefits A and B.
Family Tax Benefit A and B also provide ongoing support for parents. You can choose to be paid at the end of the tax year in a lump sum or you can choose to receive regular instalments each week. Again, both Benefit A and B are based on your dual income, your assets and your living arrangements.
It is important to look around the Department of Human Resources website at the various financial support options you have. There are also financial assistance programs in place for single parents, for child care costs and for education as well. The most important thing is that you familiarize yourself with what is out there and take advantage of these financial resources as much as possible. After all, every little bit helps when raising a child!