When planning our future, finances form part of our informed decision to start a family. From nappies to nursery, our little bundle of joy doesn’t come without a hefty bill.
Image courtesy of Fidelity
Careful budgeting is essential to keep the family finances on track, and we must always look ahead to potential future costs to ensure that we have the funds to support our offspring. From toddler-dom to their teenage years, it is inevitable that there will always be something that yoru child will be pleading for that tugs on your purse-strings. Now with technology replacing toys and designer brands preferred over hand-me-downs, treating your child isn’t as affordable as it used to be.
Besides the begging for the latest gadget, there will of course be unexpected costs thrown up when least expected that we simply can’t plan for, but there are some things that we can be certain of.
One culprit constantly cutting into the family budget is just as unavoidable as your little one eventually dropping spaghetti Bolognese on your new cream carpet; taxes.
The taxman takes a bite
Each month the taxman takes a healthy bite from your wages and any maternity pay that you receive, and aside from the normal National Insurance deductions, there are some other taxes that could sting you.
Recent additions to the tax tally include the controversial “bedroom tax”. This new tax was introduced in April 2013 and looks at the living arrangements of those in social and housing association accommodation – if it is believed that a home is “under-occupied” and tenants find themselves with spare rooms that aren’t being used in their home, their housing benefit will be reduced. This has threatened to stretch limited budgets even further and make homelessness a frightening possibility for some families.
Photo courtesy of Americans for property
Another ridiculous tax is one recently raised within the retail industry, which proposes that additional tax is slapped onto online shops for those who prefer to order in from the comfort of their home rather than on the high street. This move has been backed by some supermarket bosses, and has been referred to as a “retrograde move that would impoverish already overtaxed ordinary folk”. If this preposterous proposal does go ahead, it could mean that the families have to be even more frugal with their food shop and may not be able to take advantage of discounts sometimes exclusively available online.
Can we count ourselves lucky to avoid other crazy costs?
Whilst these additional costs are sure to upset some homes, we could have it so much worse. Debt solution advisory website www.WhatIVA.co.uk have provided research for the development of a site that pokes fun at some of the unbelievably absurd taxes and charges that have faced people in the past and around the world. MadTax.co.uk features disastrous dues such as additional fines inflicted on urine and even facial hair.
Whilst these taxes are now long abolished, there are still some bizarre burdens of extra tax added around the world. For example, families in Denmark have had to pay a higher rate of tax on fatty foods including oil and butter since 2011. This was implemented to attempt to change the unhealthy eating habits of the Danish public. We can therefore think ourselves lucky that we aren’t slapped with extra tax if we want to treat ourselves to a portion of chips after a long day with the kids!
Although paying tax is a real pain in the neck, it is used to subsidise government projects such as public transport and road repair which in the long run will benefit families across the country. Keeping an eye on your tax codes, earning brackets and outgoings will help you when planning what budget you have available for yourself and your children.
Rosie Percy writes for a diverse spectrum of lifestyle issues including family finance, relationship issues and home improvement. Rosie has previously written for the Guardian and other online blogs, and currently lives and works in Brighton.