Finding out you are pregnant is one of the most exciting moments of your life, but your joy may be tempered by worry about your financial situation. Can you afford to bring this new life into the world? The good news is that preparing financially for a baby is not hard when you do some advance planning.
You will need discipline and focus, two things you will need as a parent as well. Think of budgeting for a baby as one of your first real parenting tasks, then dive in and see how well you can pull it off. You may surprise yourself.
Are you having a baby? Here's how to prepare financially.
Register for Gifts
You probably have many people in your life who care about you and want to help you out as you begin this exciting new chapter of your life. When deciding how to financially prepare for a baby, consider starting a baby registry so your friends and family can support you.
It's much easier to direct people to your registry than to remember what you want every time someone asks. Plus, registries cut down on duplicate gifts and eliminate well-intentioned but unuseful presents. You curate the list and only put items you really want there. People love knowing they are giving you something you want and will treasure.
Budget for the Baby
Once you find out you're pregnant, it's important to start thinking about an updated budget. The earlier you knock out those unnecessary expenses, the better.
While your budget in the nine months leading up to the baby's arrival should be carefully reconfigured to help you save money during this time, you also need a post-baby budget. After all, there's a brand new person in your world -- they're going to cost you a little extra! When planning for a baby financially, a few things you may need to add to your budget include:
- Diapers and formula
- Day care
- Health insurance coverage for the baby
- Life insurance coverage for the baby
- Baby proofing materials once the baby can crawl
By preparing ahead of time and finding out exactly how much money you'll need when you have a baby, you'll never have to worry about being caught off guard.
Get Your Baby Gear Ahead of Time
When you find out a baby is on the way, your first impulse may be to completely remodel your home. If you can afford this, great, but otherwise you should focus on acquiring the most important things your baby will need.
Some important items you'll need for your baby include:
- Changing table
- Car seat
- High chair
- Baby clothes
- Baby monitors
Remember, your friends and family have probably had babies at some point in their lives or may know someone who has recently. Try and find free or inexpensive second-hand baby gear to make the costs easier on your finances.
Consignment sales are an excellent place for preparing for a baby on a budget. The prices are low, though usually not dirt cheap. Most importantly, everything is in excellent condition, and you may even be able to ask the seller about how the equipment worked or tips for using it with a new baby.
Open a 529 Account
It is never too early to begin planning for your child's future. As you discuss your baby finances, consider opening a 529 account for your newborn. A 529 offers tax advantages for saving for college or any future educational path for your child. They can use the money to put toward a traditional four-year university or other educational opportunities. Oklahoma and Texas offer state 529 plans that allow you to save without committing to any college.
Draw up Your Will
Pregnancy financial planning isn't just about your child. It's also about you. You need to put a plan in place in case something happens to you, and you can't provide financially for your child in the future.
Drawing up a will ensures your wishes will be followed, and your child can move forward with some financial stability even when the worst happens. You can make a will for a low payment when you use an online program, or you can find a lawyer to create one for you.
Discuss Childcare and Work With Your Partner
If you and your partner aren't sure how things will work out once the baby has arrived, it's important to discuss this now.
Who will go back to work full-time? Who will take care of the baby full-time?
Will you need childcare? If so, you'll need to add that critical category to your monthly budget. Childcare is rarely cheap, which makes it smart to start shopping around for the most affordable and trustworthy childcare in your area.
Some parents say they pay more than the cost of their monthly mortgage for childcare, so whoever works full-time hopefully has a job that can cover these expenses. Otherwise, you may need some extra help.
Look Into Tax Credits
Taking on the responsibilities of parenthood is never easy, and never cheap. That's why the government recognizes the needs of parents and offers exemptions and tax credits worth thousands of dollars each year.
Also, if you need childcare, you may qualify for savings at the end of the year related to your childcare. Take a look at estimates for the amount you'll save with only one partner working — it's possible that it makes more sense financially for one of you to stay at home full-time with the baby.
Open a Separate Baby Savings Account
Once you know for certain you can afford all the new expenses that come with a new baby in the family, consider what's left over. Any amount you won't need each month that isn't already going into a family savings account should be placed in a new account specifically for the baby.
The money in this account can be seen in one of two ways: as an emergency fund for anything that might come up related to the baby's health and well-being, or as a starter fund for their future.
And remember, if you ever have an expense you can't afford when you have a new baby, you can always consider a quick and easy personal loan from Atlas Credit. Apply for a loan of up to $1,400 through us, even if you have bad credit! Then, you can cover your baby's expenses and pay the loan off at your own pace. Contact Atlas Credit today to learn more.