Family finances

News and opinion about family finances. Also hints and tips about how to manage finances and what you should be considering as a mum or dad.

Infographic; Entertain your kids for less than £20

We’re two and a half weeks into the school holidays and, thus far, we’ve managed to keep the children entertained without spending too much money. I’m conscious, however, that there’s another month to go.

Here is an infographic from the guys at Vouchercodes.co.uk. It lists a number of ways you can entertain your family for less than £20. If you’re stuck for ideas, some of them are well worth considering. View Post

Guest post; financial tips for new parents

financial tips for parents, finances, financial advice

I think these two might need to start planning their finances.

This guest post comes from Julie Hutchison who is both a blogger and Head of Customer Affairs at Standard Life. Although written with new mums and dads in mind, the information it provides would be useful to any parent.

This year, I’ve watched a friend of mine transform from being fast and loose with his money, to being Mr Sensible. View Post

To invest or save for the children’s future?

investments
I’m something of a geek when it comes to pensions and investments. I’ve previously blogged about the concerns I have about my pension and the impact this is having on my sleep. As a stay at home dad I face an issue that usually affects mothers; paying either tiny contributions or none at all while my children are very young and my ability to work is severely limited. Of course, pensions are just one financial concern that crept up on me when I become a father. View Post

There’ve been a few changes round ‘ere…

changes, blogging, blogs, evolution

This man wrote a famous song about changes. Pic credit below.

I thought it was about time I wrote a blog post about this blog. I worry that it seems a little self indulgent, but it seems like the correct thing to do.

I’ve made a number of changes to the blog over the past couple of months. Some of them are very obvious, such as coming out from behind the blog’s logo with a proper profile picture. Others changes are more subtle. View Post

Becoming a stay at home dad; what to consider

becoming a stay at home dad, main carer, childcare, fathers, dads, masculism, equality, gender equality, parenting, mums, mothers

Life isn’t one great big beach holiday when looking after the kids, but it does have its moments. Photo credit: http://peterwerkman.nl

Are you male and thinking of becoming the main carer for your children or giving up work completely to become a stay at home dad? If so, there are a variety of issues you might want to consider.

It’s a big enough decision for a woman to give up work to look after the kids. By rights, it shouldn’t be any different for a man. In reality it’s a bigger leap because it’s such a rare thing for a guy to do and the world is set up for women to fulfill this role.

Having just celebrated my third anniversary as my kids’ main carer, I’ve put together a few thoughts about issues you might want to think about. I hope you find them useful!

Loss of prestige

I thought that by saying goodbye to a career and well paid job I’d lose some prestige and standing in the world. You might be surprised to hear it, but I can genuinely say I haven’t found this to be the case at all.

I was also expecting to be the butt of jokes, particularly from male friends. Sure, it occasionally happens but most people meet my circumstances with indifference while others are genuinely interested and curious as to how my wife and I make our topsy-turvy family work.

Positive sentiments also come from unexpected sources. I recall a builder doing some work on our house shortly after I left full-time employment. After a few days of being in the house together, I thought I’d better explain why my daughter and I were always there and not my wife.

This guy was in his sixties and I expected to be ridiculed. Far from it; he told me he’d barely seen his kids as they were growing up and wished he could have done exactly what I was doing.

Be prepared to make an extra special effort

I occasionally hear from stay at home dads that have retreated into their shells because they don’t feel like they fit in among the mums. I understand exactly why this happens, but I think there is an obligation on us men to make a greater effort and prove we can do the things that mums have been doing for decades, if not centuries. Luckily, this doesn’t have to involve walking in four inch heels or giving birth.

Can you get involved with the Parent Teachers’ Association (or the equivalent if your children are at nursery)? At many schools there is a severe lack of men on the PTA. Most PTA’s are desperate for the support and anyone that can volunteer is welcomed.

Maybe you can go into the school and volunteer? At most primary schools there are opportunities to help children with their reading. The presence of positive, male role models in the overwhelmingly female environment of a school is also greatly appreciated.

Consider your finances

There’s no escaping this one; even if your family’s finances are rock solid, your personal finances will suffer. This was a big issue for me as I went from being a higher rate tax payer to earning a pittance working part time.

Everyone’s circumstances are different but you should give consideration to pension contributions, investing for your children’s future and how you’ll pay bills, especially those irritating ones that creep up annually such as home and car insurance. I worry much more about money now than I ever used to, although I think that’s quite common in the present financial climate!

Remember; your partner is making a sacrifice too

Your partner is making a sacrifice by going to work and providing for the family. She won’t see as much of the kids as other mothers. Unlike most women, she won’t get to be a part of a tight-knit network of mums. It will attract comment so go out of your way to tell her how much you appreciate what she’s doing for the family.

And finally…

Looking after children is hard work, especially when you have more than one. Don’t go into this thinking that it’s all about baking cakes and coffee mornings.

I personally find being the main carer for my kids very rewarding. I’m privileged to spend so much time with them, nurture them and and watch them growing up. It’s a sacrifice, but one that I have found to be well worth making.

Photo reproduced under Creative Commons agreement.