Babies are blessings and expensive ones for that matter, but that doesn’t mean that you should sit there waiting for your newborn and make no preparations.
It is understandable for first-time parents worry about their child’s welfare: From the immediate things such as the amount of money you’ll spend on diapers, medical expenses and baby clothes in the long-term like food, a car, and education.
You shouldn’t panic either because there is a solution when it comes to the financial aspect of preparing for your first child. As for the sleepless nights, well, you’ll have to deal with those as they come.
In this article, you’ll learn various tips on how to budget for the newest family member so that you don’t get caught off guard.
Before diving into saving and budgeting, it’s crucial to know where you stand financially. For that reason, take time to list all your household expenses, and then compare it to your total income. The important part comes in while listing the expenses. You need to be as honest as possible about the same for the sake of financial stability.
Once you’ve done that, consider your plans as soon as the baby arrives. Will you stop working during the early months of the child’s life or will you work part-time? Either of the two will impact your income. This means that you’ll need to work out plans to manage household finances within this period.
Identify Your Priorities
As a new parent, the thought of having your first child can be overwhelming. There’s a lot to think about, including your child’s education and that is not wrong, even before the child is born. However, it is important that this doesn’t come at the expense of your future financial stability. You can borrow money for college, but no one will lend you retirement money.
First off, set up an emergency fund to pay for unexpected bumps in life. Once that is in place, this is how your financial priorities should look like:
- Saving for retirement: Experts recommend that you save at least 15% of your total income for your retirement. However, one guiding factor should be what your employer contributes to your 401 (k). That is if your job has one.
- Paying off any debts: Debts are a constant irritation if not dealt with in advance. Figure out a plan to clear them for the benefit of your pocket and peace of mind.
- Contributions to the emergency fund: The emergency fund is a lifesaver in tight financial situations. In fact, to be on the safe side, financial experts advise that you should aim for at least 3 months’ worth of income. Because the reasoning is that, by the end of this period, you will have found a lasting solution.
After you’ve taken care of these three areas, you can start thinking about the child’s education.
Don’t Alter your Budgeting Basics
Since you’ll have an additional mouth to feed, your expenses will go up while your income remains the same. However, you don’t need to change your approach to budgeting.
For the parents new to budgeting, the best way to prepare an overall budget is by using the 50:30:20 technique. This is how to apply it:
- Fifty percent of household expenses such as regular bills, and new ones like child care, formula and diapers, among others.
- Thirty percent for various financial needs
- Twenty percent toward pay off debts like credit cards and, most important, set some money aside for savings.
The figures in this technique tend to change from one home to another, so, don’t worry if your expenses drain more than 50% of your total income. The main aim while budgeting is to keep track of your income and expenses in order to find room for improvement.
Save and Save Some More
Savings will always held get you off the hook in a tight financial spot, and they come in many forms. For example:
- Buying diapers in bulk: Buying larger packs of diapers is more cost-effective than buying small numbers. Doing this will help save on gas as well as on the price of the diapers themselves.
- Breastfeed your baby: Did you know that formula can cost up to $200 per month? Breastfeeding is free with no taxes! Besides, breastfeeding your baby comes with unmatched health benefits in the long term.
- Prepare your own Baby Food: When your baby is old enough to eat solid food, think of how you can make your own food at home. Instead of buying costly prepared baby food at the store, get a food processor that’ll help you make it on your own.
- Borrow used stuff: Chances are that you have friends with grown-up children who don’t need their cribs, dressers, baby slings and such. By borrowing, you save on money that you’d have otherwise used for buying new items.
- If the baby needs something, and your friends don’t have it, you can always find a second hand store that offers low prices compared.
- Forget the Unnecessary Items: There are tons of things for a new baby for sale. Your baby doesn’t walk so, why buy baby shoes yet? Others include bottle warmers, diaper genie, etc. Your baby doesn’t need all this. So, skip them.
Brace for Hard Times
Sometimes the money isn’t enough, despite employing these strategies to cut down on expenses, but it is okay. You can still opt for other ways to fill in the gaps. Take a look at some of them:
- Find other ways of making money. This is the best option. It sounds hectic and tiring, but it’s better than drowning in debts or having to deal with a bad credit score that will lock you out of future opportunities. One of the jobs you can take on the side includes freelancing as a homework-at-home mom or dad.
- Refinance your student loans and/or mortgage
- Sell off items that you don’t need. If both parents have a car, you can sell one of them and downgrade the other.
- Get rid of monthly subscriptions, including cable tv, gym memberships, that extra cup of coffee, and so on.
As a parent, these are some of the sacrifices you must be willing to take for your baby. Remember, that the situation is just temporary, and by preparing ahead of time, you will soon be back to your previous lifestyle.
By taking these steps to prepare for your baby, you’ll save yourself many headaches. You’ll also have enough time to focus on the baby and other family issues, such as your marriage instead of the bank account or how to repay various loans with the help of realisticloans.com.
Also, remember that you might need to make painful decisions and endure difficult times, but in the long run, it will be worth it.