Families and money
Key events in our life can bring major changes to how we manage our money and the help we may need to do this. This section helps you think about some of the key changes and how you can help yourself
Moving in with a partner
Money is one of the top things that couples argue about. Depending on the way in which you were brought up you may have very different attitudes to money. Here is a quick checklist of things that need considering:
- Benefits – Living with someone can change any benefits due to you – this is a significant change of circumstances and must be reported. If you are on Universal Credit* you will start receiving joint payments and will need to decide which account to pay into and how you will share out
- Bank accounts – do you want a joint or individual account? Remember you are both liable if a joint account goes overdrawn – it doesn’t matter who caused the problem the bank will look to both of you individually and together to repay
- Savings habits – are you savers or spenders? How will you plan ahead for the future? Can you agree about saving for big events or things you need?
- Borrowing – what borrowing does your partner already have? Are any of the household goods on rent to buy? Are there any unpaid debts that are overdue?
*Alternative payment arrangements for Universal Credit will be possible where there is danger of harm or financial abuse. If you feel that your partner controls all your money this may be a sign that you are experiencing abuse – help can be accessed here
- Women can call 0808 2000 247, the free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge
- Men can call the Men’s Advice Line free on 0808 801 0327 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or ManKind on 01823 334 244
Money stresses can affect your health very seriously – if you find that you are constantly arguing about money with the people close to you or you feel that no one shares your worries – seek help from your GP, support worker, Housing Association or other advice agency.
Starting a family
As soon as you know you are expecting a baby try using the Money Advice Service interactive calendar to help you plan ahead.
Here are some of the most important things to do:
- Check your benefits – You don’t have to be working to get child tax credits. Use the DWP tax credits calculator here
- Grant help – Find out if you can get a Sure Start maternity grant and/or healthy start vouchers
- Buying for baby – This is very tempting but babies need far less than the shops want to sell you. Always check out second hand offers and charity shops –babies equipment and clothes are often in really good condition as babies grow out of it so quickly. Little Bundles is a charity that recycles good quality baby clothes and equipment in Cambridgeshire.
Saving for baby – You can start a savings account for a child with £1. If you set up a small savings account as soon as your baby is born you can save any gifts of money you receive and maybe try and regularly set some money aside from their Child Benefit – the money will soon grow and you can get them off to a good start.
Getting help– your local Children’s Centre is a great place to get support for any parents of children up to age 5
Childcare – Look up your County or Unitary Council website for lots of information about childcare including information about free childcare for under 5’s and how to get help with childcare costs.
Going to school
This is a really big change for all the family and needs planning ahead
School meals all children get a free lunch at school to the end of Year 2. You do not need to apply for this. But if you are on a qualifying benefit you should still apply for free school meals – your school will get extra money to help them provide better services.
School children from Year 3 up to age 19 – families on qualifying benefits can apply for free meals to continue. It won’t be obvious that your child is claiming a free meal and even if you don’t qualify but are struggling to pay let the school know as there may be other help available.
Check what the qualifying benefits are and apply online or download the application from your County or Unitary Council
For under 16’s free school transport is available if you live more than 2 miles away (primary) or 3 miles away (secondary) and you live within the catchment area of the school
Looking after other members of the family
Carers and money
Many people do not see themselves as a carer and maybe missing out on vital help with money as well as opportunities for support, information and help for them as well as the person they care for.
The Carers Trust has lots of information about being a carer and explains all the different benefits and help available.
Mental health and money
If you or someone you live with is experiencing problems with their mental health, money stresses can make this worse. The website of MIND has lots of useful information about how different mental health problems can affect your relationship with money – find out more here.
On Money Saving Expert you can find a really useful Mental Health and Debt guide that is free to download. Don’t forget to let your bank and/or anyone you owe money to know about any health problems you experience.
When someone dies
If you are trying to sort out money after someone has died there is a lot to think about – both of these websites are reliable and have the information you need.
Money Advice Service