The one income challenge
Claire and Enrico are a Plunket family who we followed in the lead-up to their first baby's birth. Read on for the first part in their exciting journey to becoming parents.
Claire had the quintessential Kiwi childhood, with acres to play in and attended a small country school. While in contrast, Enrico grew up in the middle of bustling Rio de Janeiro.
They met in Wellington
When the two met, Enrico didn’t speak much English, but no worries - his dance moves did all the talking! The couple married within a year and were soon expecting their first child.
What do they do?
Claire and Enrico live busy lives. Claire works in marketing and Enrico runs Samba Futsal Academy, coaching kids' football. Before the baby arrived, they spent their weekends at the gym, catching up with friends and enjoying the beach. They enjoyed treating themselves to Sunday brunch at a local cafe, or dinner and a movie out.
"All this was about to change though," admitted Claire. "A few years ago we were saving for our wedding and honeymoon. While more recently we were thinking we'd either save for a house deposit or a baby, whichever came first — turns out the baby was coming first."
A very special Mother's Day
"We both told our mums I was pregnant on Mother’s Day. They were so happy — it was a great Mother’s Day present", Claire recalls.
At the time, Claire's mum offered a good tip – ask for help when you need it. Especially ask your mother for help.
Getting financially ready for the baby
We were curious to ask the big question — how prepared financially were Claire and Enrico for the arrival of their baby? “I don’t know if you can ever be that prepared," admitted Claire. "It would have been nice to be a lot more prepared. I remember having moments of panic and I probably terrified Enrico, saying ‘What are we going to do without my income?’"
"But I think I soon calmed down a bit. We made it work. Maybe we weren't going out for brunch on Sundays anymore, so when the baby arrived there was a lot more Marmite on toast at home.”
Using the BNZ Baby Budget Calculator
"When we first found out I was pregnant, we went on to the BNZ Baby Budget Calculator – I entered everything as an average, as I had no idea how much we would spend on anything.
"We made a budget, though we didn't really know how many nappies a baby actually went through in the first year — I remember thinking, 'I guess that will be expensive'. I also heard from my friends that your power bill can increase when you are home all day, paying for your own heating."
When asked what their biggest financial challenge would be, Claire quickly answered: "Sticking to a budget! This will be the first time in my working life that I haven't had an income. Enrico is much better at sticking to a budget than me. I’m better at justifying purchases. Enrico will keep me on track... I hope". "I hope so too,” added Enrico.
Family comes first
While cultural differences are evident, the couple agrees family is most important. Their parents taught them both to appreciate the value of money and hard work to earn it. "We were taught to manage our own money from an early age. My parents gave us allowances for clothes and if I spent it all on an expensive pair of shoes, then I would have no other clothes for the season," Claire shares.
"We want our kids to know that money isn’t everything — that it doesn’t matter if they don’t have the latest phone or iPad. The things we really value are being around family. It's important our children learn to manage money and know that it’s not just an endless supply."
So during the early stages of their pregnancy, what was their biggest foreseeable expense? A new car. At the time, Enrico used their car for work and it was always full of footballs, goals, and cones. "I remember looking at it and think there was no room in there for a baby," says Claire.