Fostering a child is incredibly rewarding. It’s a chance to give a child stability, love and support, and the impact that you can make on children’s lives is enormous. However, there’s no denying that welcoming an extra body into your household can be costly. This can be especially true if you already have children at home. Fortunately, there’s plenty of help available. Here are some of the best budgeting tips for foster families. 

Create a Budget

Actually having a budget that includes your income and household outgoings and takes into account any work-basedincome you might lose if you are reducing hours or changing jobs to become a foster carer is crucial. This will help you to manage your money from your very first placement.

While you don’t need to be rich to foster, the local authority and fostering agency that you are working with will want to know that you are financially stable, you can afford to care for a child without affecting the quality of life for the other members of your household, and that you can manage your finances. 

Get What You are Entitled To

Firstly, there is foster care pay. How much you’ll get paid will depend on things like who you foster with, the age of the child you foster, the number of children you care for, and the area that you live in, but it is available. You may also be eligible for other benefits such as income support, disability living allowance, child benefit for your own children, and more.Make sure you know what you are entitled to and that you are making the right claims. 

Consider Your Earning Potential

You may not have to give up your job entirely to foster, as long as your work hours don’t mean that you are unable to offer a child stability and plenty of your time. But if you hope to foster very young children or babies, you might need to take some time off. You might also need to reduce your hours or start working more flexibly if you care for a child that needs extra support or has additional needs. 

Bear all this in mind when you are planning your finances, and make sure any pay you receive for fostering will be enough to cover any gaps while feeding an extra mouth. 

Plan Ahead

Planning always makes it easier to budget and save and avoid overspending. Plan days out and holidays so that you know how much they’ll cost, and you can look for ways to save. This also gives you a chance to shop around for the best deals and savings. Plan meals for the week to cut your shopping bill, and plan travel so that you can find the most cost-effective ways to do it. Planning is typically the key to good financial management. If you don’t know if a foster child will be placed with you at the time you are planning for, includeone just in case. 

Start an Emergency Fund

Even if you can afford things like extra food, clothes, and tickets for an extra person for events and activities, you should start an emergency savings fund to cover any unexpected expenses that may crop up. 

Fostering a child is an incredible thing to do. It can change your life in so many wonderful ways. While you might need to think about your finances and budget carefully, the financial implications shouldn’t put you off doing this fantastic thing.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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