Considering growing your family can be an exciting time. Planning ahead for the financial responsibilities of parenthood will help you avoid being blindsided by debt, so you can focus on the joy of your new baby. Here are some steps you can take to prepare.
Anticipate medical expenses early in the pregnancy by calculating which costs for prenatal care and labor and delivery will be covered by health insurance, and which ones you’ll be responsible to pay out of pocket.
Build your savings. No matter how well you budget each month, unexpected costs will arise as your baby grows. Be prepared with an emergency fund for health-related expenses and another savings account for everything else.
Ask friends for approximate costs of ongoing baby supplies such as diapers, wipes, formula/food, etc. Include these estimated expenses in your current budget and begin adjusting your spending habits before the baby arrives. (Safeguard this unspent monthly amount by transferring it to your savings account.)
Don’t overspend on baby gear. Borrow from friends or buy gently used items from children’s consignment events. Consider what’s necessary and what will fit in your living space before purchasing every gadget advertised.
Plan ahead for time off. If your employer doesn’t offer paid maternity/paternity leave, save extra money ahead of time to cover the income gap. Find out your company’s policy on using earned vacation or sick days for extra time at home after your baby’s birth.
If you are a dual-income family, calculate the cost of childcare versus one of you changing to part-time or staying home full-time. Evaluate the best fit for your family.
Plan for the future. Set up a life insurance policy and create or adjust your will. Start saving for your child’s education, but don’t neglect funding your own retirement in the process.
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