5 things that new parents forget to budget for

5 08 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from Tax Credits

Becoming a parent isn’t cheap or easy. For the next 18 or more years of your life you are going to be paying through the nose for baby food, toys, childcare, trainers, driving lessons and education. The list is pretty much endless.

No matter how prepared you think you are to become a member of the fully-fledged adult group, there will always be something you have forgotten. It happens to everyone so you are not going to help anybody by worrying about it.

According to the latest estimates, the price of raising a child will smash through the £200,000 mark. So to help you on your way, here are some of the things people forget most often.

Don’t buy too much

Parents to be can get swept up in the excitement of an imminent new arrival and shell out loads of cash on baby clothes and accessories. You will always have more than you need. However much you may fear the baby will get bored – don’t. It’s a baby. Once it has managed to get up on its own two feet and totter about the place, it will find everything interesting. You will sit, exasperated, as little Johnny or Jenny finds the cushions on the sofa more interesting than the £150 stroller you splashed out on.

Childcare is expensive. Very expensive

Even is childcare costs is something you can plan to pay for well in advance, it can be a shock how expensive it is once you come to pay for it. In some cases it can cost upwards of £1,000 a month. Luckily, if you are in full time employment you can find help with this through voucher schemes. Have a chat with your employer about things such as Co-op Childcare Vouchers from Midcounties Co-operative Flexible Benefits.

There are Government-backed schemes in which you can get back up to £1,200 of the cost of childcare a year.

There is a lot you won’t be able to budget for

You may think that you have enough nappies. You do not have enough nappies. Your new addition to the family will like to go to the toilet a lot. It may be a good idea to look at getting your hands on some re-usable nappies. They are cheaper in the long run and are also much better for the environment.

There will also be many things that crop up along that way and keep you off guard such as an out of the blue school trip. It may be helpful, if you can afford it, to keep a little slush fund to the side ot cope with these emergencies.

Bigger bills

You may not think it, but your heating and electricity bills will go up. For one, you will be in the house a lot more than you used to be. What was once okay – for you to sit in an extra jumper – will no longer be okay. Your child will have to be warm

Cost to your free time

Raising a child is a full time job. On top of your own full time job. If you previously used your free time to earn a little extra money on the side, you can kiss it goodbye. But, it will be worth it. Honest.

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Why it can make sense to go for generic medication brands

10 07 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from ell brown

There’s been a lot of discussion in the media over the last few years about the increasing use of generic medications. Unless you follow developments in the pharmaceutical world fairly closely, however, you may not know what generic medicines actually are. When a drug patent expires after a certain period, other pharmaceutical companies can then start to produce their own version of the drug – and these copies are referred to as generics. Cheap toiletries and medicines can really lighten some of the load on strained budgets, so it’s not hard to see why they’re proving so popular at the moment. But just what are the advantages of generic medication?

According to an article from Yahoo Voices, generic medications have now come to account for more than half of drug sales in the US. You may be a bit apprehensive about whether these drugs are as reliable as the original medications they’re intended to emulate, but it’s worth noting that generic medications are also subject to stringent control and monitoring by various regulatory bodies – although, obviously, the extent of regulation will vary from country to country. This means that you can have confidence that when you buy generic medication, it’s perfectly safe. What’s more, regulators insist that generic drugs must be as effective as their patented counterparts.

Perhaps the most obvious advantage of generic medication is that it’s considerably cheaper than patented originals tend to be. Patented drugs are often considerably more expensive as developers seek to recoup development costs – as well as other costs such as marketing – in addition to making a profit on top. Generic manufacturers, on the other hand, don’t have to invest in developing new drugs from scratch and can simply imitate those medicines designed by others. This means that they can therefore deliver considerably lower prices, benefiting the purchaser.

An article from eHow.com notes that there are also a number of other benefits to generic medications. It points out that the cost of manufacturing original drugs often spirals to hundreds of millions of dollars, and the fact that the cost of developing generic equivalents is far cheaper also benefits healthcare providers – providing wider economic benefits. Obviously, funding of healthcare systems can vary widely from country to country. Some are funded primarily by the state from borrowing and general taxation, while others are funded largely by private health insurance. Generic drugs help to deliver savings for both, which can be particularly noticeable among those who have to cover the cost of health insurance themselves.

This is the case as much in developing countries as in developed countries, if not more so. In fact, the considerably lower cost of generic drugs means they’re more affordable for people who would otherwise never have been able to access them. So the benefits of generic medication are both economic and medical. You should be able to find a wide range of generic medications on offer at your local pharmacy, and it might be worth speaking to a pharmacist if you have any other doubts you want to clear up.