Becoming a parent is an expensive business these days, thanks to the cost of living crisis, and the more children you have, the more expensive it can be. Whether these are your own children or foster children, it pays to implement some simple budgeting tips.
Proper budgeting is essential to provide a loving, stable environment for the children in your care. Here are 7 straightforward budgeting tips for foster families looking to tighten their belts.
1. Understand Your Fostering Allowance
The fostering allowance is financial assistance provided to cover the cost of caring for a foster child. Every foster carer in the UK is entitled to receive a fostering allowance. This standardised payment depends on the child’s age and circumstances. You’ll also receive an enhancement if the child has special needs. Be sure you know what you’re entitled to receive for each child. Track your spending to ensure the allowance properly covers expenses.
Foster carers are also entitled to tax relief of £18,140, plus an additional tax relief for each child in their care of up to £450. Make sure you receive the tax relief you are entitled to. Speak to HMRC if you need guidance.
2. Create a Budget
Making a monthly foster care budget outlines what you need to cover and if more funds are required. Reevaluate it quarterly and whenever you welcome a new child. Be detailed in your budgeting and include your own children’s expenses too. This keeps everything transparent.
3. Identify Priority Expenses
Aim to pay for the foster child’s needs first when fostering allowance funds come in. This includes groceries, clothing, school items, hygiene products, etc. Also, budget for required travel and any non-regular other expenses you may have. Identifying priorities prepares you to direct money appropriately.
4. Look for Community Resources
Many local organisations provide free programmes, items, and assistance to foster families. Contact your foster agency, charities, churches, and community groups to find available resources. Access these providers to reduce your fostering expenses. Every little bit helps when budgeting.
5. Create an Emergency Fund
Building an emergency fund cushions the blow of unanticipated fostering costs. Strive to accumulate one month’s standard fostering expenses. Having this safety net means you won’t go into debt over surprise veterinary bills, necessary furniture purchases, etc.
6. Shop Smart
Simple shopping strategies generate impressive foster care savings. Buy generics over name brands. Purchase in bulk then divide items into portions. Shop sales and use coupons. Buy quality used clothing and supplies. And take advantage of free resources. Every penny counts when foster budgeting.
7. Seek Out Support Groups
Connect with other foster parents in your community or online for budget advice and tips. Those with experience can provide valuable input on everything from prioritising expenses to creative cost-cutting solutions. It also helps to have a support system.
Managing finances plays a big role in effective foster parenting. Setting a realistic budget and sticking to it makes parenting easier. Implementing these practical tips will help maximise your fostering allowance. Most importantly, they enable you to positively nurture the children you foster during their time in your loving care.