As a mum to twins I can tell you first hand - Having kids is life changing, expensive and most certainly requires that you readjust your finances to accommodate their needs. However, you can have children and still manage your finances well and build long-term wealth while providing for your children's needs. You just need to plan accordingly.
"Having a baby changes your life and financial situation but you can adjust accordingly."
Here are 8 tips on how to save money:
1. Start that 529 / college savings account
Give your child the opportunity to get a head start financially by starting a college savings account as soon as you can. The 529 allows you to save for their college tuition with considerable tax savings i.e. earnings in 529 plans are not subject to federal tax, and in most cases, state tax, as long as you use withdrawals for eligible college expenses. See specific details on the SEC website here.
If you aren't sure about investing in a 529 account, set up an independent account in their names where you save money over 16-18 years, that you don't touch, towards their college education.
2. Always buy clothes on sale
Babies outgrow clothing so quickly that most times its never really worth buying full price. The good news is that there is always a sale on baby clothing and because you know they are constantly growing, you can purchase larger sizes as well. However keep in minds - sales are tempting. The point of shopping on sale is to save money not to spend twice as much because it's on sale.
3. Accept gifts given and help offered
When you first have a baby lots of friends and family will want to help you. They will offer you babysitting, bring you gifts, cook your meals. Take it! You might be able to save on hiring a nanny or save on sending your baby to daycare right away.
The great thing about baby gifts/good hand me downs is that most people tend to give you stuff that you will actually use and you can save a ton of money as a result of the gifts you get since you won't need to go out and buy them.
4. Make your own baby food
A food processor, some Pinterest baby recipes and fresh organic fruits/veggies/grains etc are all you need to whip up some amazing meals for your little one as they transition into eating solid foods. And since you can make these meals in bulk and freeze them you'll save a ton on baby food. Plus you'll know exactly what you are feeding your baby.
5. Use coupons
One thing I realized is that baby coupons are everywhere! From furniture to clothing to food, there's pretty much a coupon for almost everything at most stores and all it takes is a quick Google search or signing up to be on a store's mailing list. The coupons are usually 10 to 20% off and Babies R Us even has a rewards program where you get $5 - $10 off every $100 you spend.
6. Make sure your little one is under your insurance coverage
Ensure that your little one is added to your health plan within the allocated timeframe so they are not stuck without health insurance to cover any treatment they might need. While your little one builds up their immunity they are bound to fall sick here and there. Doctors office visits and emergency room trips are very expensive.
7. Don't stop saving
You might need to readjust how much you save as you grow your family but don't stop saving money or contributing to your retirement accounts. Every penny counts towards your overall portfolio.
8. Assess your current lifestyle
Assessing your current lifestyle can make a big difference in how much your finances need to change once you have a baby. For example, you'll be spending lots of time taking care of your beautiful new bundle of joy and you might not have as much time to watch as much TV so do you really still need all those extra channels that cost an additional $20 - $60 each every month?
Having a baby changes your life and financial situation but you can adjust accordingly, still work on creating wealth and building the life you truly desire.