With over 70,000 children in the foster care system across the UK, the demand for caring and dedicated foster carers continues to grow every year. However, becoming a foster carer and welcoming a child into your home also comes with real financial considerations. Foster care agencies provide an allowance to cover the child’s living costs, but budgeting properly will help you best meet their needs. This article outlines top budgeting tips for UK foster carers.
Determine the Allowance
The foster care allowance from your agency, such as Fosterplus Glasgow, is generally based on key things like how old the child is, their care needs and your region. It is intended to cover their expenses, like clothing and food, etc. You will also receive a professional fee. Remember, this allowance must fully provide for the child.
Understand Tax Implications
Foster carers receive beneficial tax treatment. You are tax exempted on income related to foster care up to £18,140. This means you pay no tax on that portion of your household income. You also get tax relief up to £450 per week for every child in your care.
Get organised by tracking exactly what you spend on your foster child, from groceries to entertainment. This helps determine where your money is going and if the allowance properly covers costs. Use a spreadsheet or app to closely monitor your expenses.
Create a Budget
With a firm understanding of the allowance and your tracked expenses, draft a comprehensive budget. Outline your fixed monthly costs like food, transportation and clothing. Also, budget for unexpected costs like field trips, gifts or activities. Your budget should guide how you utilise the foster care allowance.
From school uniforms to toys, you can shop smart. Take advantage of sales, second-hand finds and discount stores. Set up alerts for coupons and deals related to foster children. Bulk buy commonly used items when they are discounted. Avoid impulse purchases and unnecessary items.
Access Other Support
Don’t forget about other support programmes, vouchers and cost savings specifically for foster youth. This ranges from free school meal vouchers to discounts on days out. Your foster agency can outline programmes or grants available. These provide extra help without tapping the allowance.
Savings Are Key
With careful budgeting, you may have money left from the allowance each month. It is crucial to save this rather than overspend. Place the excess funds into a designated savings account for the child’s future needs, educational costs or experiences.
Review and Revise
Revisit your foster care budget every few months. Review if the allowance money is being properly allocated across expenses. Check if costs have increased significantly in any areas. Revise your budget as needed to match changing needs and expenses.
Budgeting is essential for foster carers to fully and responsibly utilise the foster care allowance. This covers the child’s needs, provides savings for their future and allows you to foster with financial clarity and security. With organisation and planning, you can become a foster carer without taking on financial stress.