How to prepare yourself financially before giving birth

Stressed pregnant woman

Having a baby can be pretty exciting but also daunting, especially if it’s your first one! Take the financial stress out of the experience, so that you can focus on what really matters – your new baby.

A new baby can be a source of joy but can also cause some strain on the family’s finances. 

Depending on whether you are already pregnant, planning to get pregnant or adopting a new baby, here are a few ways to start preparing yourself financially.

So, how do you financially prepare for a child?


START BY TAKING STOCK OF YOUR CURRENT FINANCES 


Now is a good time to evaluate your spending power. Start by taking stock of all your finances by listing all your assets and debts including loans, credit cards, and other liabilities. It’s important, to be honest, so you can determine how much you can realistically afford to spend on your baby.

KNOW WHAT PRODUCTS YOU NEED TO BUY — AND THOSE YOU DON’T


Think about all the basic items you’ll need to furnish your nursery, car, and home. Some of these items include:
  • Crib
  • Bedding
  • Changing table
  • Rocking chair
  • Stroller
  • Car seat
  • Portable crib
  • Baby monitors
  • Clothing
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Baby food, bottles, and binkies
  • High chair
Often, people want to host baby showers or give gifts to the expectant parents. It’s OK to ask for what you need if someone wants to give a gift. Consider having friends or family members go in on a high-priced item to help alleviate your financial burden.

Also, talk to other parents to see which items are “must-haves” and which you can purchase later — or simply do without.

DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE SHOPPING


Although it’s fun to go shopping and load up your cart with cute mobiles and a fancy pram, it’s important for your budget that you take the time to research and calculate prices on baby items.

Look at different buyers’ guides available online to compare prices and safety features.

Also, consider purchasing some items secondhand. On Facebook, there are groups that connect local moms where you can often find free clothes and toys since kids outgrow items so quickly. If you take the time to plan, you can save a lot of money.

UPDATE YOUR BUDGET


When you find out you’re pregnant, it’s wise to immediately update your budget and begin planning for the upcoming large expenses. Find places you can cut back on spending and increase savings. Consider budgeting by trimester to create achievable and timely goals.

It’s inevitable that your spending will increase when you have a baby, but if you prepare ahead of time, you won’t be caught off guard and become upside-down on your expenses.

DISCUSS RESPONSIBILITIES WITH YOUR PARTNER


Childcare and work responsibilities are two major issues that parents must discuss before the baby arrives.

The biggest expense we’ve encountered is childcare. I actually started a separate baby savings account as soon as we found out my wife was pregnant.

Additionally, you should discuss:
  • How much leave will each of us take after the baby arrives? How much paid and unpaid time off do our employers offer?
  • Will one of us be a stay-at-home parent? How will the working parent(s) contribute to childcare?
  • Do we have friends or local relatives who could help us defray our childcare expenses — by providing free care, sharing a nanny or setting up a childcare co-op?
  • Will we purchase life insurance as a safeguard?

Change is the only constant in life. No matter how prepared you feel, you’re likely to be surprised at some point in this new journey. However, if you take the time to plan, you’ll be less stressed and more at ease when the baby arrives.
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