6 Tips On How To Prepare Your Finances For A Baby
Having a baby is certainly a life changing experience! Not only are you are expanding your family with a new addition, you'll also be adjusting to a new lifestyle and schedule as well as changes with your finances.
"Having babies can cost a lot of money but with some good planning you can ensure that you still meet your financial goals."
Yes, having babies can cost a lot of money but with some good planning, you can ensure that you are able to cover your child's needs and still meet your financial goals. So let's talk through some of the things you can be doing to make sure you stay on top on your finances as you adjust to expanding your family.
Preparing your finances for a baby
1. Review your current budget and make changes
Once you know you have a baby on the way, it's a good idea to review the fixed expenses in your monthly budget to see where you can cut back or what you can cut out completely. Additionally, once your baby arrives and you are all settled in and have adjusted to life with a baby, you can also explore how to earn more (you or your significant other) by finding a better paying job, finding a part time job or starting a side hustle.
The combined effort of cutting back on your expenses and increasing your income with help to make more money available for little one and also help you with staying on top of your financial goals.
2. Start saving specifically for your baby
Babies come with a lot of expenses including immediate ones and longer terms ones and although you will get a lot of what you need for your baby's first year or two at your baby shower, you'll still need to have money available to fill in the gaps for what your child will need.
Things like diapers, formula, day care and school activities etc can all cost a pretty penny so you certainly want to make sure you build a line item into your budget specifically to save for your baby and make it a habit to consistently start putting away money for them.
You can also consider setting up college savings for your child as well through a 529b (or other college savings options) and build the contributions for this account into your budget as well. This would be a great gift to your child and will help them avoid or minimize taking on student loan debt.
3. If you are in a relationship, try living on one income
If you are in a dual income household and one of your goals is to stay home with your baby after your maternity leave has elapsed, you definitely want to start making preparations by learning how to live on one income.
While you are still earning an income and before your baby arrives, you can readjust your living expenses and figure out how to make things work financially on one income while you save the other income.
Not only will this help you get used to living on one income, it will give you the opportunity to ramp up your savings before you stop working.
4. Start planning and saving as early as possible
To ensure you are able to stay on top of your goals with a baby arriving, it's important that you create a plan for your finances and start putting money aside as quickly as possible not only for the expenses of a new baby but also for the long term expenses that will come up as your child gets older e.g. school activities, music lessons, day care fees, baby sitting costs etc, because the last thing you want to do is to have to take on debt in order to meet your child's needs.
Having children might mean that you may have to save less in order to cover their needs but it's all about being mindful of your expenses and being creative whenever you can to limit how much you are spending overall.
It's also important to keep your long term financial goals in mind too as you make plans around your child. This way you can still make progress towards your money goals while at the same time be able to cover your child's expenses.
5. Check in on your maternity leave, insurance coverage and other associated costs
It’s important to understand the details of your maternity leave so you can prepare your finances for while you are out of work. How long is your leave and how much of your salary will you be paid? If you leave is covered at 100% great, otherwise if it’s less you can plan to put some extra funds aside to fill in the gap and even try to live on a reduced amount so you get used to it beforehand.
You also want to check in on your health insurance coverage. How much will be covered for a vaginal vs c section delivery as well as your hospital stay. This way you know what to expect when you go to have your baby!
6. Don’t shop till after your baby shower
It’s easy to get tempted to hit the shops and buy all those cute little baby things in preparation for your new arrival but, if you can, wait until after your baby shower to go shopping because you’ll most likely get a lot of what you need at your shower and you can put the money you would have otherwise spent towards your goals.
The key to getting what you need is registering the right way, so be sure to look up online guides and ask other moms. Think of including things like diapers in different sizes, wipes, a stroller, bouncer etc. After your shower is over, you can then go out and purchase the things you didn’t get!
Have you had to readjust your budget to accommodate expanding your family? What worked best for you?
Bola Sokunbi is the founder of Clever Girl Finance and she's passionate about helping women take control of their money so they can live life on their own terms.