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Family Finances webchat - Monday 27th Sept 3-4pm

Prima Baby's finance expert, Jasmine Birtles will be joining us on Monday 27th September, from 3-4pm.

Post any questions on family budgeting below, whether it be about maternity pay, child trust funds, best savings accounts or simply how to stretch the weekly food budget.

Don't worry if you can't make that exact hour. Post your questions when you can and come back to see if Jasmine posted a reply, she will endevour to answer as many questions as possible...

For more information about Jasmine click the link:


  • Hi Jasmine, we're thinking of putting the money we get as gifts for our baby into a pension fund for her. Do you have any recommendations on products or what to look out for?
  • Hi Jasmine

    I think I was over taxed a couple of years back. I don't work for that company any more and I have no way of contacting them as they themselves went bust. How do I find out which was my tax office how do I go about finding out if I have many I can claim back?

    Thanks for your help

    [Modified by: Junebug on September 27, 2010 11:39 AM]

  • Welcome to today's webchat with Jasmine Birtles. Jasmine is here now to answer any questions about family money you might have...

    [Modified by: bxwebmaster on September 27, 2010 03:04 PM]

    [Modified by: bxwebmaster on September 27, 2010 03:05 PM]

  • Hello Mrs Bobster,

    Yes, very good idea to put savings for your child into a pension product.

    The best type of product to go for is a Stakeholder Pension. These were set up ten years ago to help people (particularly women) save for a pension even if they didn't work. The thing is that because they're open to anyone who doesn't work, that includes babies!

    You (and other members of the family) can put up to ??????2,880 a year into it and the government will top it up to ??????3,800. In fact, if you do this for just the first ten years of your baby's life you will have pretty much sorted out their pension for them!

    Find out more in this article

    It's hard to say which particular product is good. I have one with Scottish Widows and a friend of mine has one with Aviva. They're both decent but there could be a better one for your needs out there. The website (used to be part of the FSA) has a comparison table for them so do check that out.
  • Hello Junebug

    Frankly the best place for you start is the tax office's website

    Ring one of their helplines and keep ringing until you get through to the right person. They try to be as helpful as possible but do be patient with them because they're overworked and under a lot of strain at the moment!

    Explain the situation to them. Give them as much information as you are able to do and, if possible, follow it up with a letter including as much information as you have.

    Don't forget to let them know if you had children at the time because you may be owed tax credits too.


  • Hi Jasmine

    Hi there
    Do you have any insider tips on how to make my weekly shop budget stretch further in the supermarket?
    And should we believe the ads that promise low price guarantee as they all seem to do it so end up contradicting themselves?

  • Hi Jasmine
    What tips do you have on making Christmas budgeting easy, are there any good websites out there with food or budgeting tools that you recommend. I have 3 kids and It is hard every year. I want to try my best not to have to turn to my credit card if I can help it.

  • Hi Jasmine,
    We are ttc baby no2 but I've just started up my own business & now self employed. Whilst I could put in for a low earnings certificate to pay less National Insurance I have not as yet as I have heard I wouldn't be entitled to Mat Allowance, is this right? Also, if I continue to pay my Nat Insurance Band 2, will I be entitled to the full allowance or would it be 90% of my earnings as this lower? Thanks xx
  • Hi Mrs MUMMYUK.

    Good point! Frankly, as you say, they are all contradicting themselves so I personally ignore those 'guarantees'. All the supermarkets have a better price than the others on something. The best way to check who really has the lowest prices for the things you want to buy is to go to and check there.

    I think that one of the cheapest ways to shop at the supermarket, particularly if you have a family, is to do it online. Of the supermarkets that do online shopping I think that Asda is generally the cheapest but it depends what you have in your area.

    The great thing about shopping online is that it's harder for them to trick you into buying things you don't either need or want. Also, if you buy the same things week after week (like I do mostly) you can just submit last week's list with a few changes.

    It can also save on transport - OK you have to pay for the delivery but it's cheaper if you pick a weekday and it saves you petrol or bus fare.

    Also, check out our article on sneaky supermarket tricks to find out how to get one over on them!

    If possible, do as much food shopping as you can in street markets. Generally they're about 20-30% cheaper than supermarkets, particularly if you go at the end of the day when they're selling stuff off cheap.

    Do also have a few weeks (or however long it takes) where you only buy food that goes with the dry goods in your cupboards. I do this occasionally because I suddenly realise that I've got packets, jars and tins of things that have been there for over a year and they need using up. At least it will cut down the food bills for a few weeks while you use them all up! image
  • Hi Sammy 1884

    Congratulations! And well done for thinking about saving.

    It's tricky right now because for short-term savings like yours there's not a lot to choose from. It's usually local building societies that offer the best rates for those kind of savings so you should have a look on your local high street and ask them. You can also have a look at our savings comparisons here

    I would also recommend that you join your local Credit Union. They offer savings and loans and their savings rates are often almost as good as, or as good as, the building societies. Also, they're really good organisations to belong to anyway. If you needed a small loan later they would be a good place to go to. Check out to find out your local one.

    As for benefits, of course you have child benefit, you may get child tax credit and if you're working you should get maternity pay. If you're on a very low income you could get a Sure Start Maternity grant. Check out our article on it for a full rundown of what you could get

    Best Jasmine image
  • Hello Clare1978

    Good point about Christmas. We have an article on saving now for the festive season with lots of ways to save now

    The other thing to think about is how you can make money from Christmas. There are various ways to do this including making cakes and sweets and selling them at car boot sales, making Christmas hampers using things from ??????1 shops and selling them at car boot sales and also working in department stores. We're going to have more articles on making money from Christmas soon so keep looking at

    How about doing some negative shopping? That's where you sell things you don't want on eBay and use that money to buy things for Christmas?

    Also, see if you can give free gifts to some friends and relatives - things like the gift of your time or one of your skills. Do pot-luck parties instead of catering for everything yourself. Get friends to bring one dish each to the event.

    For the kids, don't give them mountains of presents - they don't need them. Ask them for one big thing they want, try to get that (or something cheaper) and then just a few small things. Honestly they're not going to feel hard-done-by without a load of presents that they will be bored with in days.

    Or, wait until the very last minute - Christmas Eve - and do all your shopping then. It's amazing what deals they have in the shops then. Personally I can't take the stress but if you can manage it you could save a lot (or you could end up with rubbish!)

    jasmine x
  • hi BabyBubbles - ooh that's a good question.

    Look, I have to go to another meeting right now but I will check out your status and get back to you.

    As far as I know you should be entitled to maternity allowance if you have paid up your NI but I will need to check.

    Catch you later! Jasmine x
  • That hour has gone SO quickly! Thanks to all our users who posted questions and special thanks to Jasmine for really informative and helpful answers.

    Be sure to check out Jasmine's fantastic website site that is packed with money saving ideas and advice.

    Jasmine Birtles is Prima Baby's money expert and offers important family budget advice every month to our readers every month.

  • Hi BabyBubbles, I'm back now.

    Take a look at this page

    It gives you info on maternity help and yes, you do get money if you have paid up your class 2 NI.

    Check out the information on this page, and elsewhere on It's a really useful website!
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