Having a baby is a life-changing affair. We’re not just talking about the physical changes or the many challenges that will come as a parent, but also your personal finances. While you can’t put a price on parenthood, having a solid financial plan in place will go a long way in helping your small family stay comfortable financially.
Learn how to pare down expenses, stretch your dollar and even grow your savings with these five rules to raising bubba on a budget.
#1 Have good financial habits
Whether you’re planning for a baby or already have a bun in the oven, it’s time to take a good and honest look at your finances. Apart from putting away savings for baby’s future, it’s best to consolidate all debts and start paying off large expenses. Reduce credit card limits to curb overspending, and cut out all frivolous expenses – you don’t really need your daily morning latte.
Plan a practical budget around new and ongoing costs of pregnancy, and cater for future responsibilities. Being frugal and adopting good financial habits will go a long way to helping you prepare for this new member of the household.
#2 Be Practical
Especially for first time parents, it is completely natural to want to provide your baby with the ‘best’, from branded daily necessities to fancy developmental toys to newfangled baby gadgets – in fact, the baby product market thrives on it!
But learning to discern the ‘needs’ versus the ‘wants’ is essential right from the get-go, especially for those on a tight budget. Write down every single item you’d like to purchase for baby, then go through the list and only check off what you absolutely need. You’d be surprised at how many things you can get by without.
With that being said, choose quality over cheaper and poorly made items – you’ll be able to save money on sturdy items when you decide to expand your family.
#3 Delay purchases you’re unsure about
While there is an extensive list of things to prep for baby’s arrival, there are some items you can hold off on buying especially if you’re not sure which works best for baby. Whether it’s baby bottles, pacifiers, diapers or even newborn outfits, delaying purchase reduces the risk wasting money on stuff you can’t use, and helps to alleviate the financial burden of having to buy everything at once.
#4 Seek alternative options
There may seem to be plenty of parenting guidelines, but you can adapt to what best fits your child and budget. For example, it is expensive to clad the little one in brand name disposable diapers – many parents opt to use either cloth diapers or no brand disposables during the day time, and save the ‘higher absorbency’ diapers for night time use. And you can save on buying premium ‘organic’ baby food by making your own, equally healthy and yummy version. Don’t worry about sticking to the ‘rules’!
#5 Find small ways to save
Whether it’s asking for samples, shopping on cash back sites, making use of credit card rebates or even signing up for baby company newsletters and using coupons and promo codes, these little savings do add up in the long run. Stocking up during sale periods and buying in bulk also help to save money, as long as you have space to accommodate the extra items.
Also, don’t be shy to ask friends, family or even co-workers for hand-me-downs. Kids outgrow things so quickly that it really doesn’t make sense to splurge on items such as baby clothes, toys and furniture. When the time comes, you could pass them on to other families who need it.
Last but not least, look out for convertible items that could pull double duty. For example, a crib that converts into a toddler bed, or a car seat that unfolds into a compact stroller and a high chair, would save major bucks in the long run.