Savings Month: A parent’s guide to budgeting

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July is Savings Month, a time for South Africans to set new goals on how to grow their pockets. One of the biggest life expenses is having a child. Parents-to-be need to prepare for expenses before birth, factoring in everything from doctors’ appointments, additional supplements and hospital fees.

For parents-to-be, the concern is often centred around mentally and physically preparing for childbirth, but financial preparation is equally important. Costs can add up very quickly even before the baby is born and new parents can find themselves feeling not only emotionally overwhelmed, but financially stressed as well.

“While pregnancy is an exciting time, expenses accumulate even before the baby is born. Soon-to-be parents need to have a plan on how they’re going to cover costs, this includes pre- and postnatal care, as well as the birth itself. It is important to start saving as soon as possible,” says Dr Howard Manyonga, an obstetrician and Head of The Birthing Team, a private maternity care programme available in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Polokwane.

“Avoid last minute shopping excursions […] Invest your money well in advance to help prepare for your baby’s future.”

For expectant parents, it all comes down to planning to ensure that their first encounter with their newborn baby runs as smoothly as possible. Manyonga outlines some financial considerations for parents before the big day:

  1. Create a budget: Keep a close eye on how you spend your money on a monthly basis. Make a list of your fixed and variable expenses and put aside a budget for your baby fund. Saving can cover hidden fees such as vaccinations, multivitamins, maternity clothing and pregnancy complications that may occur.
  2. Fight temptation: Avoid last minute shopping excursions. A possible solution to help you resist the urge to shop is to speak to family or friends who already have children about donating any unused baby clothes, toys and books.
  1. Remember, you are protected: According to labour laws in South Africa, dismissing an expectant mother on the basis of her pregnancy is illegal. These laws also state that pregnant women cannot be discriminated against in the workplace. This means that your job will not be compromised while you are pregnant.
  1. Maternity leave: If employed expectant mothers are not compensated for up to half their earnings from the company they work for, they are entitled to claim maternity benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
  1. Think ahead: Invest your money well in advance to help prepare for your baby’s future. The interest earned on an investment account can set your child up for school and university.

The Birthing Team make private maternity care affordable for uninsured women. They are currently operational at Netcare Park Lane in Johannesburg, the Femina Hospital in Pretoria, JMH City Hospital in Durban and Netcare Pholoso Hospital in Polokwane. For more information, call 011 484 0568 or email care@thebirthingteam.co.za, otherwise visit The Birthing Team on Facebook.

Also read:

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4 tips to get on top of your finances in 2019