Having a baby is a very happy time but it also brings new pressures on your finances so it is important that you plan ahead.

The best time to start this is before your baby is born and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has some tips to help you.

1) Check how much money you will have coming in after your baby is born

If you are employed:
Talk to your employer about how much income you will have while on maternity leave so you can plan if there will be a drop in your wages. You are also entitled to the option of taking an additional 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave which will affect your income but your tax credits may accumulate so you should check this with your employer.

If you are not currently employed:
Pregnancy and having a baby could impact on any social welfare payment that you receive, you may be entitled to a different or additional social welfare payment and it will also impact on how often you have to sign on. Check out www.citizensinformation.ie for more information.
You may be entitled to a tax refund if you have
For all expectant parents:
Remember whether you are working or not, you are entitled to claim Child Benefit. This payment is currently payable to parents or guardians of children under 16 years of age, or under 18 years of age if the child is in full-time education. More information is available on www.citizensinformation.ie

2) Check your benefits if you have Health Insurance

If you have private health insurance it is really important to research what type of maternity benefits you are entitled to with your policy. Your health insurance might cover you for things like:
— Money towards private scans
— A contribution to private ante natal classes
— Home birth
— Breastfeeding consultancy
These are some of the wide variety of benefits you may be entitled to but may not be aware of so check that policy!

3) Pay extra off your debts (if you can afford to)

Paying a bit extra off your loans or credit cards will save you money in interest. Consider paying off debts with the highest interest rate first. The interest rate you will be charged on your debts is generally a lot higher than the interest rate you will get on savings. The example below shows how this works. Always check with your provider first to make sure there is no charge for repaying your debts early.
Savings/debt Interest earned/paid in a year
€1,000 savings @ interest rate 2% = €20 earned on your savings (subject to DIRT)
€1,000 credit card debt @ interest rate 19% = €103 added to your debt

Use our loan calculator to see how much you could save if you reduce the amount you owe. If you are having trouble repaying your debts, you will find a debt action plan on our website, to help you take control.

This article was provided CCPC, which is responsible for enforcing competition and consumer protection law in Ireland. To help consumers make informed decisions it also gives independent, unbiased information about consumer rights and personal finance products and service through its consumer helpline 1890 432 432 and consumer website www.consumerhelp.ie.

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