When you and your partner are expecting a baby, the pressure you’re under can cause regular issues and arguments to be amplified.
Arguments about money are particularly common during pregnancy, partly because of changes to working arrangements, and partly because of the extra expense of having a baby.
A stressful time of life
Many couples (around 40-67%) experience a drop in relationship quality, usually from the start of pregnancy until the child is around 15 months old. Everyone is different, but that’s generally when things start to feel a bit better again.
Set some ground rules about what you will do next time an argument breaks out. You may want to decide to take a break from the conversation and return to it when you’re both feeling calmer. Try saying something like, “Can we talk about this again once we’ve calmed down a bit?” If you’re really struggling to reach compromises, our online course “How to argue better” might help.
Try to avoid having these discussions in public places where the money pressures feel prevalent, like in the supermarket, or the bank. It’s usually much easier to resolve things privately in your own home.
Making a budget
You may both have different ideas about spending and saving. A budget can be very helpful in bringing you together to plan for the day to day. Budgets are especially useful if you intend to reduce your working hours.
You may also find that existing money problems that you’ve managed to keep on the back burner are suddenly coming into focus.
Whatever stage you’re at, it’s never too late to start planning. If you’re not sure how to get started with a budget, you can find a free planner and some online guides through the Money Advice Service.
Include work and childcare in your discussions and think about any new expenses. If you’ve never been parents before, you may want to sit down with some friends who’ve recently had babies and ask them to list all the things you’ll need to buy. Your midwife can help with that too.
Find out your entitlements
You may not know what benefits or state-funded support you’re entitled to. Benefits and financial support can be tricky because they are liable to change over time and will depend on your circumstances. Check out Citizens Advice and the Money Advice Service, who will be able to talk through your budget and help you learn what you are entitled to.
You may be entitled to grants such as Healthy Start or the Sure Start Maternity Grant to help cover the basics and support you with essential one-off costs, or longer-term support like tax credits towards childcare costs, and Child Benefit. You can find out what you are entitled to using a free online benefits calculator, such as entitledto or Turn2Us.
Finally, be honest with yourselves and kind to each other and you’ll significantly improve the chances of talking about money without an argument.