July is savings month, a time for South Africans to set new goals on how to grow, financially.
For parents-to-be, concern is often centred around mentally and physically preparing for childbirth, but financial preparation is equally important.
Costs can add up very quickly 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,” said Dr Howard Manyonga, an obstetrician and head of The Birthing Team, an affordable private maternity care programme available in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Polokwane.
For expectant parents, it all comes down to planning to ensure that their first encounter with their newborn baby runs as smoothly as possible. Dr Manyonga outlines some financial considerations for parents before the big day:
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.
Avoid last minute shopping excursions. A possible solution to help fight the shopping bug, is to speak to family or friends who already have children, about donating any unused baby clothes, toys and books.
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 whilst pregnant.
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).
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.