As a mom to twins, I can tell you first-hand that having kids is life-changing! It's definitely expensive and most certainly requires that you readjust your finances to accommodate their needs. However, you CAN start a family and still manage your finances well. And you CAN build long-term wealth while providing for your children's needs. You just need to plan accordingly.
So whether you have babies or small kids, there are lots of clever ways to save money so that you can still meet your financial goals. Here, we'll walk you through how to be financially savvy when you start a family!
Assessing your lifestyle and making adjustments
When starting a family, you might need to adjust how much you save. But that doesn't mean you should stop saving money or contributing to your retirement accounts. Quite the contrary—it's more important than ever now! And remember, every penny counts toward your overall portfolio.
Assessing your family budget and 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.
As such, you might not have as much time to watch as much TV, so do you really still need all those extra channels? It's an easy way to save an additional $20 - $60 every month! Making adjustments to your lifestyle and finances when you start a family is the key to reaching your goals and saving money.
Top 10 tips for starting a family
Here are top financial tips to help your family's financial future and save money!
1. Start that 529b 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. 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.
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'll go toward their college education. Planning for your children's future is a huge part of starting a family.
2. Buy clothes on sale
You will find out when you start a family that babies outgrow clothing quickly! Most of the time, it's not worth buying full price. The good news is, there's always a sale on baby clothing. And because you know they are constantly growing, you can purchase larger sizes as well.
However, keep in mind that sales are tempting! The point of shopping on sale is to save money—not to spend twice as much because those adorable clothes are 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 to help you with babysitting, bring you gifts, or cook your meals. Take the help! You might be able to save on hiring a nanny or on sending your baby to daycare right away.
The great thing about baby gifts and hand-me-downs is that most people tend to give you stuff you'll actually use. 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. Consider making your own baby food
A food processor, some Pinterest baby recipes, and fresh organic fruits, veggies, and grains. That's 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're 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.
All it takes is a quick Google search for the best coupon sites or sign up to be on your favorite store's mailing list. Using coupons is one of the easiest ways to save money when you start a family.
6. Make sure your little one is insured if you can afford it
Ensure that your little one is added to your health plan within the allocated timeframe, so they're not stuck without health insurance! All those well visits add up, not to mention all the sniffles and scrapes that can happen during that first year.
7. Save money when you start a family by eating at home more
Trips to the ice cream shop and your favorite fast-food spot add up fast. Cut down these visits and enjoy meals at home with your children instead. Make it fun by having ice cream at home or popcorn and pizza night.
These are things you can buy for a fraction of the cost at the grocery store ( or make at home yourself with ingredients from the grocery store).
8. Try out the farmers market
Most people don't realize that farmers' markets can have comparable prices to a regular grocery store.
And the best part is that at the farmer's markets, you can buy the freshest locally grown and also organic foods - saving money and supporting your local farmer's community at the same time.
9. Substitute toys and video games with home games and activities
Toys and video games can get really pricey. Instead, limit how much you buy and substitute them with activities at home and with homemade games. There are tons of fun things you can do at home on a budget! Don't forget to check Pinterest for ideas too.
10. Don't move right away when starting a family
Often, the next step after starting a family is to move into a bigger space. However, moving can be expensive, and your bigger space could cost you more money that could be used to bulk up your savings account if you can wait for a year or two. However, if your move will save you money, then you should absolutely do it!
Save money with these tips when you start a family
It might seem difficult to save money when starting a family, but with a few changes, it's definitely possible! Simple things such as using coupons, not eating out as much, and accepting help can really add up.
Learn more about saving money and creating the perfect budget for you and your family with our free financial courses!