A Simple Guide to Spending, Saving & Entitlements as a Young Parent

Having a baby can be expensive and money problems can add to the strains of becoming a new parent. Here’s our guide to finance, what benefits you may be entitled to and some tips on how to save money on things for you and your baby.

Child Poverty Action Group provide training, advice and information so that families get the financial support they need. They state that as a parent, you;

  • don’t have to give up education or training
  • don’t have to give up work
  • don't need to miss out on help
  • could have a choice between whether your parents make a claim for you if you live with them, or claim for yourself – and the amount may be different
  • can claim benefits as a lone parent if you live by yourself

If a partner lives with you (it does not matter whether they are also your baby’s parent), and you’re both aged at least 16, you count as a couple and most benefits depend on your joint income.

What You Might Be Entitled To

There are a number of benefits you might be able to claim and entitlements you might receive as a new mum or dad:

Sure Start Maternity Grant

This is a one-off payment of £500 which helps towards the cost of a new baby. You don’t need to pay it back and it won’t affect any other benefits you might receive. Find out more on Gov.UK's website.

Best Start Grant: Pregnancy and Baby Payment

The Best Start Grant offers a one-off payment of £600 for your first child, then £300 for each following sibling. The grant offers financial support to young families in Scotland. If you're under 18 when you apply, you're entitled regardless of you and your family’s income. Claim from 24 weeks pregnant to within six months of the birth. Find out more about the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment.

Healthy Start Vouchers and Free Vitamins

You can get Healthy Start Vouchers and free vitamins from 10 weeks pregnant until your child is aged four. All pregnant women in Scotland can get free vitamins. The vouchers are £3.10 a week to spend on milk, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables – you get an extra voucher in your baby’s first year. As long as you are under 18 and pregnant, it does not matter what benefits or other income you or anyone else in your family is getting. When your child is born, you may still qualify but it depends on other benefits.

Gov.UK has information about eligibility and how to apply.

Maternity Pay

If you’re employed, you may be entitled to Maternity Pay from your employer. You must tell your employer your are pregnant a minimum 15 weeks before your baby is due. Find out more on Gov.UK.

Maternity Allowance

It doesn't matter how old you are for this benefit, but you must have been working for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is due. It does not have to be 26 weeks in a row. This could include a holiday, evening or weekend job, as long as you were earning at least £30 a week in any 13 of those weeks.

You can apply for Maternity allowance if you don’t qualify for maternity pay. Find out if you are entitled to Maternity Allowance by visiting Gov.UK.

Paternity Pay

You are entitled to 1 or 2 weeks paid paternity leave if you’ve worked with the same employer for more than 26 weeks by the 15th week before you/your partner’s baby is due. You can find more information on Paternity leave and pay from Money Advice Service.

Kinship Care

This is when you're unable to live with your own parents, and the social work department has looked after you and placed you with another relative to live with. In this situation, financial help depends on the care arrangements for you and your baby – for more information, see CPAG in Scotland’s leaflet, ‘Kinship care and benefits - the essentials’.

Other Benefits

You can't claim other benefits for yourself or for your baby until you are aged at least 16. When you turn 16, you have a choice to start claiming some benefits in your own right instead.

Your parents or someone you live with may already be claiming child benefit and child tax credit or universal credit for you. They can also claim child benefit and child tax credit or universal credit for your baby. Even if you claim the child benefit for your baby, they can still claim child tax credit or universal credit – they do not have to be claimed together, but it might take a bit longer to be sorted out.

The person responsible for you (your parent, guardian or carer), can claim Universal Credit with no work-related requirements while they have the main responsibility for a baby under the age of one, even if you get the child benefit. This means your parent does not have to sign on and look for work, so can support you with your baby.

For a full guide to other things you might be entitled to, like Child Benefit and Universal Credit visit our information on benefits.

Find out more about what financial help you might be entitled to and the differences between being aged under 16 and 16 or over, with Child Poverty Action Group's 'Financial Help for Young Parents' information leaflet.

Saving Money

We asked young parents what baby items you really need, and those you don’t!

Needs

  1. Pram 
  2. Cot - consider a cot bed which will last from birth up till your child is around 3 years old.
  3. Mattress protectors - handy for any bed and saves your mattress from lots of spills and splashes.

Don't Needs

  1. A nappy bin - nappy bags are cheaper and do the same thing!
  2. A changing table - they can be expensive. Try using a changing mat on the floor.
  3. Designer clothes - your baby will grow out of clothes very quickly, often within a few weeks at the start.

Remember, you can apply for The Scottish Government’s Baby Box through your midwife. It includes lots of handy essentials and will save you buying these.

Check out our guide to discounted things for your baby using your Young Scot card.

Money Concerns

If you are in debt or are concerned about your finances, there are a few places you can contact for free to get help and advice.

Head back to the Ping campaign page.