As any parent will tell you, children are expensive. And as the cost of living continues to rise, they’re only going to get more expensive.
So, if you’re planning on starting a family—or bringing a new family member into the mix—here are some financial tips you can’t afford to ignore:
Start a budget. If you’re planning on bringing a baby into the world, it’s time to create a budget where you can track every expense your new baby will require, as well as all your current expenses. This will give you a clear idea as to how you’re spending your money—and alert you to any areas where you may be wasting money. Putting a budget in place will also be instrumental when it comes to starting an emergency fund.
As you create your budget, take into consideration the many costs a new baby will require. This includes babysitting, daycare, emergency medical visits and the endless amount of baby supplies you’ll need. You may even need a bigger car and home after you bring your new bundle of joy into the world.
Dealing with a drop in income. If you and your spouse are each going to take time off to care for your new baby, expect a drop in your income.
To balance that fall, check with your employer regarding its policy for maternity and paternity leave, as your employer may not pay you at all during such leave from work. Also, be sure to check with your state to see if it pays for time off with a baby, and if you can receive disability pay.
Know your healthcare. Expect to have regular doctor visits for a new baby, and possibly emergency care. Check what your health insurance out-of-pocket deductible is, and put money aside in a health savings account as soon as possible to pay for it.
Go slow on new gadgets. While there are all kinds of things you’ll need for a new baby—and many more you think you need to make your lives easier as new parents—try to stay away from buying items on a whim. More often than not, some of the items at the top of your wish list aren’t entirely necessary.
Shopping for your new baby doesn’t have to break the bank. Before you dry out your bank account, be sure to ask friends and family members who may have recently had a child whether they have any items they’re willing to sell for cheap—or even give away.