News that you’re pregnant brings a tremendous amount of excitement and also a great deal of stress. Both are incredibly normal reactions, whether it’s your first child or fifth. Along with your new bundle of joy is going to come a change in your finances. By preparing early, you’ll be better able to make room in your budget for baby.
While it’s completely normal to have a bit of a panic attack at the overwhelming thought of raising a child for the next 18 years, do your best to remain calm. Give yourself a day to freak out and then settle yourself down. By the time baby comes, chances are you’re going to be so well-prepared that you won’t even realize what she is costing you on a day-to-day basis.
Create a Baby Budget
Sit down together and create a list of short and long-term financial goals as they pertain to your child. Are you going to breast feed? If so, you won’t need a ton of cash for formula. Are you going to send your child off to a private day care? These are things that need to be considered before your child is born but don’t worry if you leave something off of your list; it can easily be added later.
Do plan on spending between $100 and $200 a month on your baby for things like food, diapers and clothes. This money should be added into your budget for immediate use when the baby is born. Because it is an immediate need, any monies for future day care or school tuition should be added on top of this basic amount.
Pay Off Debt
As soon as you find out your pregnant, begin to pay off as much of your debt as you can. Credit card debt and short term loans should be paid off if at all possible. This will free up some of your money each month. Add the money you’ll save into your baby savings account.
Part of being a parent is making sure your child is taken care of and provided for should you die. While it’s not something any new parent wants to think about, it’s a fact of life that bad things happen. Your new policy should be at least eight times your yearly income. For instance, if you make $40K a year, your life insurance policy should provide for $320K. If you can afford more coverage, by all means, go for it!
Plan for Daycare
If you’re going to be going back to work after the baby is born, you’ll need to arrange daycare. Will Grandma and Grandpa be watching your child while you are at work? If you can find a friend or family member that is willing to help you out, you’ll end up paying far less than you will for private daycare. You’ll also need to decide if going back to work makes financial sense. If your paycheck will simply be paying for childcare and gas, it might make better sense to stay home.
Don’t sweat the small stuff! Becoming a parent is scary enough without spending all of your time worrying about money. With a bit of advanced planning, and help from family and friends, you’ll be fine!
Author Thomas Hathaway is a financial consultant and content contributor to paydayloans, a site providing information and advances when you may need an advance to your regular paycheck.
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