4 Essential Tips for Effective Foster Carer Budgeting

After choosing to open your door to provide a stable and loving home for foster children, you may be concerned about the financial implications of having an extra person in your household, especially if you already have a large family to take care of. Fortunately, you’re not expected to provide high levels of care without being subsidised for your commitment to foster care. To help you get to grips with budgeting as a foster carer, we’ve put together this short series of tips.

Collecting Eligible Allowances

Regardless of which foster agency you’re signed up with, you are entitled to an allowance that’s designed to cover the cost of living for your foster children as well as provide a fee for you as the foster carer. Naturally, the amount you receive will depend on your current circumstances. To find out more, head over to fosterplus.co.uk.

An allowance for foster care isn’t the only financial support you might be in receipt of. For example, you will be entitled to tax relief of up to £18,140 (subject to government budget changes), plus an additional weekly tax allowance per child. Further, your foster agency may provide additional payments to cover expenses for birthdays, celebrations and holidays.

Budget Setting

If you don’t know what money you have available to spend, you’ll never successfully manage your money. Therefore, you should get started by writing a detailed budget, which will include all of your regular monthly income, savings, and expenditure. By having a solid budget to plan your life around, you’ll avoid slipping into debt and you’ll have a greater capacity to provide for your foster children.

Active Planning

To help with your budgeting efforts, you’ll need to start living your life around a plan because it will reduce how many unforeseen costs appear. For example, instead of taking the school holidays one day at a time, put a plan in place and make sure that your planned activities are aligned with your budget. As well as planning your time, you should put a meal plan together, which will help you to spend less on your weekly shopping.

When you take in new foster children, they may only be with you for a matter of days or weeks, which is always a blessing because it means they’ve been reunited with their family. In between having foster children, you should stick to the same budget, which will prevent you from scrambling to find money when you do welcome your next foster child.

Building a “Rainy-Day” Pot

No amount of planning can prevent life from throwing a spanner in the works – a most likely costly spanner. For example, if you take your car in for an MOT and there’s work that needs carrying out, you’ll need to pay for this out of your potentially stretched budget. Whether you’re living comfortably or not, it’s a good idea to start building a “rainy-day” pot, which will help to protect your bank balance when life throws a curveball your way.

The feeling of pride that comes with providing stability for a foster child is unlike anything else you’ll ever experience, but you have to make sure you’ve put a plan in place to cover the cost of living.