Having a baby and growing your family is an exciting time. Some sleepless nights, yes, but also many joyous experiences to look forward to. Having an extra mouth to feed can also put some pressure on the family budget. Have you stopped to think about how you will cope financially, particularly if you or your partner have given up work permanently or temporarily? You don’t want to have money worries when you’re raising your children. Here are six ways you can help keep your family bills down – and stay on track with your spending.
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Can your employer help?
If you or your partner are taking time out from your work to look after a baby, have you checked out what financial help you can get from your employer? If you’re the mother, you should qualify for some level of maternity pay – or your partner, some level of paternity compensation. If you’re expecting a baby over the coming months, then have a good chat with your boss and human resources department, to see what’s open to you – and what will be best for your individual circumstances. Having some sense of stability in your income will help ease the financial worries you may have at this time.
Getting your other finances in order
As you prepare to have a family, you should be taking a long, hard look at your existing financial commitments – to see if they’re affordable and will be sustainable as you build your family. Maybe you’ll have to move home to accommodate your children, or maybe you have some existing credit agreements or regular payments that will be continuing for a few more years. You’re bound to have new expenses as you bring a baby into the world. You may want to look at getting a personal loan to consolidate some of your payments or to cover expenses over a longer period of time. If you’re worried about your credit score, then check out things like Lending Point, one option to help you boost your rating.
Nursery on a budget
When you’re expecting a baby, there will be a million and one things on your mind – including creating a nursery for the little one. If you’ve identified a space in your home already, then it’s time to set to work on turning it into a tranquil, calming place for your baby to sleep.
That doesn’t mean you must go out and spend hundreds of dollars on new furniture and decorations. Quite the opposite. If you don’t have much spare cash, there are ways and means of creating a lovely nursery area on a budget. For example, if any of your friends or relatives have had a baby in recent years, do they have anything they could sell to you for a knock-down price? Maybe a crib for the baby, a chair or some toys? They may even have some curtains or lighting equipment that could help you out.
Often baby furnishings are still in good condition because they’re only used for a few years, so have a look around at second-hand items. If your family and friends can’t help, then go online and look at local selling groups on social media – or head off to some garage sales to see what you can pick up. You could bag yourself some bargains and save! Every dollar counts.
You can also save some dollars when it comes to clothing for your new arrival in the family. Instead of going out to designer shops at the mall and spending loads of cash, why not re-use clothes that you may have had from earlier children. Or, again, you could speak to your family and friends to see if they have any used items they no longer need. Look out for clothing sales in your local community and online. You could also check out some charity stores, to see if there’s anything that’s suitable. As baby clothing is so transient, used for such a short space of time, why spend loads on brand new items when you can get some good quality clothing on a re-use and recycle basis?
How about toys?
The temptation, especially when having your first baby, is to buy masses of toys and games to keep your little one occupied! Yes, of course, they should have lots of stimulation around them, things to enjoy and to interact with. But try not to go over the top and spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on this kind of stuff. If you don’t have loads of money, then just buy the basics. For sure, your close family and friends are likely to shower you with gifts when you have a baby, so those presents will help you out. And, again, like with the nursery and clothes, have a look out for good-quality used items at reduced prices.
As your kids grow up
As your little one grows up, their needs will change – and you will need to adapt to them. In terms of your finances, this means that you will need to prepare for any extra costs around child care. Will both you and your partner be back in full-time work, for example, after the first year? If so, you will need to look at the costs of care for your child. Will you send them to a private nursery? Will you ask family and friends to help you out? It can be an expensive business, so take time to assess your options and work out what’s best for you and your child – and your finances!
After the first years, you will also need to start looking ahead to schooling and eventually college. All these things will have financial implications, particularly if you plan to send your child to a particular place of study.
So, as you face all these different things, you need to keep track of your income and spending. Budget for everything to keep you and your family on a firm track.