Advice for New Parents Who Need a Financial Roadmap
Congrats, you’re going to be a parent! What an exciting time it is for you and your family. As you begin to prepare, you’ll want to think about all the factors that go into planning for a baby. A source on Parents.com states that, on average, it costs between $5,000 and $14,500 to deliver a baby. That price point even varies depending on how you deliver the baby and how much your insurance covers.
From the day you find out you're pregnant, to the time you deliver, and when the baby gets here, costs can start to flood your mind and the numbers may start to add up quickly. You may find yourself feeling overwhelmed. But there is no need to worry -- we’ve developed a financial roadmap to ensure you can get a better idea of what to expect financially.
Understand Baby-Related Expenses
As you start to lay out your financial roadmap, you’ll want to understand baby-related expenses. Before the baby even arrives, there will be expenses that you have to think about. Here is a list of some factors you’ll have to start budgeting for:
- Birthing or pregnancy classes: Enrolling in these classes with your significant other is a great way for you to bond with one another as new parents. It allows you to see what to expect and how to prepare.
- The birth of your child: Depending on how much your insurance covers, you’ll want to still set aside money for medical bills.
- Nursery preparation: You’ll have to purchase a crib, mattress, bassinet, changing table, rocking chair, and storage containers. It’d also be smart to set up a nursing station in the nursery for easy access.
- Home preparation: Put unneeded furniture into storage, revamping and flipping a spare room into a nursery, and baby-proofing your home, can put a dent in your budget. However, having costs associated with these projects beforehand is a good way to prepare.
- Baby transportation: You may want to purchase two different strollers. One that you can keep at home and one that is easy to transport for trips. If you have two cars, you’ll also want two car seats. If you have a family member or a nanny you may also want to purchase a car seat for them.
- Nursing and feeding supplies: You’ll want to buy items for a pumping station. Along with bottles and a body sanitizing station.
- Toys and technology: Some toys and tech items to think about are rattles, baby books, a play mat for tummy time, a swing, a bouncer, and a baby monitor.
- Clothes: Some basics you’ll want to get to start filling the dresser and closet are onesies, shirts, pants, socks, diapers, etc. Also, remember babies grow fast so maybe purchasing a size up will be a good idea so you are prepared in advance.
- Child care: If you plan on going back to work, you’ll want to figure out estimates on how much child care will cost you. You should look into daycares, nannies, and family members who are willing to watch your child.
Who doesn’t love to celebrate? Having a baby shower is another expense you’ll want to think about if you want to spend time celebrating your pregnancy with friends and family. Although celebrations can be costly at times, developing a registry of items you know are necessary is a great way to lessen the load for you and your spouse. Develop a registry of baby items you really want and need to ensure you get exactly what you’re looking for.
Develop Baby Budget
Developing a baby budget is a great way to prepare for your baby’s arrival and can keep you on track financially as you start to purchase necessities. Start your baby budget by analyzing your current income by reviewing what you and your spouse bring in on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. If you have a side hustle, don’t forget to add that income in as well.
Using a baby cost calculator is a great way to forecast what you may spend during the first year of having your baby. A cost calculator can also help you dive into one-time costs and repeating purchases.
Utilize the figures you get from the baby cost calculator to develop your budget. As you develop your baby budget, consider using the following to keep you organized: a budgeting app, a Google spreadsheet, or a printed-out budget template. As you develop your spreadsheet or update your budget in your app, add all the categories from the section above and any other expense you may think of along the way. Factoring expenses outside of the baby are important factors to think about because when monthly payments are in the mix, as it may show you that you’ll have to scale back other spending at certain times of the month in order to prioritize buying baby products.
Analyze Financial Options
As you start to plan out baby expenses and get the shopping done for different items and projects, it’s a smart idea to have various financial options in mind. Having different options at your fingertips can allow you to split up how you are making payments and ease some financial stress that may be brought on as you start to move forward.
Using a debit card and cash are both good ways to get payments out of the way right off the bat. If you are someone who has been saving up for this moment in your life, use money from your savings account. Other options for someone who doesn’t want to pay up front would be various lines of credit or credit cards. Using one of these methods allows you to make payments over a set period. Lines of credit or even credit cards make paying for larger purchases easy and are great options for individuals who like to space out payments.
Discuss Future Finances
As you get closer to the little one's arrival and once they get here, it’s a good idea to keep in mind financial situations that could occur within the first year and most importantly down the road. Discuss with your partner what you should plan on forecasting for future expenses.
Within your first year, and even before the baby arrives, you may want to re-evaluate your family's life insurance and health insurance plans. It’s also important to research different health insurance plans and see which ones best support the costs associated with the delivery. Another great idea once your baby arrives is to update tax forms to claim your child for potential tax breaks.
Think about ongoing expenses and if you plan on expanding your family after your first child. If you plan to expand your family, work together on tactics you can use to save up for the next time around. Also consider putting items into storage as your baby starts to grow out of them for future use with your next child. Talk with your partner about how much you’ll have to put towards ongoing expenses like clothing as your child begins to grow, transitioning from diapers to pull-ups, child care, and eventually college. As your child grows up, you’ll want to think about ways you can save up for their education. Different saving tactics for your child’s college education are:
- Create a savings account for your children
- Leverage a 529 college savings plan
- Add money to a Roth IRA
- Open and set money aside in a trust fund
Even with your kid(s) in the mix, you and your spouse should still set up your family for a successful financial future. Continue to add to your 401k, learn about social security, and save as much as you can. Work together to build up your savings so you can splurge and enjoy your later years stress-free. When in doubt, consider speaking with a financial advisor to ensure you are exploring all the avenues you should to best support your financial situation.
Having a financial roadmap is a great way to stay organized and be prepared for starting your family. Considering these tips and doing the much-needed research on the costs of raising a child will help to ensure you are set up for success financially.