Sort Out All Your Important Financial Paperwork before Your Due Date
Many people leave things until the last minute, and end up with chaos. File your taxes, pay your bills online or via mail, and set up autopays if you or your spouse have a regular income being directly deposited into a bank account.
Make a list of credit card due dates if you owe any money, and count back ten days to when you need to send a payment in the mail or online. The last thing you want are late fees or overdraft charges.
Re-Calculate Your Budget for the Two Years
This can be hard to predict, but with the average cost per year estimated at around $12,000 to $14,000 annually per child, add $1000 per month to your estimated costs.
Also take into account one partner not working, and/or the scenario of going back to work and needing daycare, and more. Your new family budget will constantly feel as though it is a work in progress, but do the best you can to keep track of what things cost and try to get by on one income. Some couples find they get so good at it that the second salary becomes savings, not spending money.
You might also discover, as many people do, that it might cost you money to hurry back to work too soon because you have to start paying for childcare. Two final things to consider as a couple are:
* Who do you want to raise your child during their most formative years?
* Are there ways to make the most of you deciding to stay at home?
http://www.childcareaware.org can help you explore all the options in your area.
Consider Your Earning Options
There are a number of ways to boost your earnings before baby, and which can help you tick over afterwards.
Will your company let you work from home? Or would it be possible to start your own business from home such as online, for automated income such as through selling ebooks or affiliate marketing (selling products for a commission). Once baby gets into some sort of routine and youíve got your housework under control, you can make the most of your chance to be at home.
You might also be able to do freelance work in your area of expertise while you are home with the baby. Some women even take in other children who are too young to be accepted by daycare, for extra income.
Some couples also realize that they will have to pay more for childcare than the woman will be bringing home, in which case it does not make sense to hurry back to work – especially if it is just a job rather than a decent-paying position with good benefits in a career with good prospects.
Itís important not to overdo things when you have a newborn at home, but if you canít or donít wish to rush back to work at the end of three months, it is a relief to know you have a range of options.
Plan Paternity Leave
If paternity leave is available, make the most of it.
Check In Financially Every Three Months
Review your budget every three months, from the time you know you are expecting, right the way through the pregnancy to the end of babyís first year. Make sure you are controlling spending and making the most of savings, and that your budget reflects any significant changes in income and expenses.
Check the Compulsory Education Provisions in Your State
Some states have compulsory education only for children age six and up. Everything else will need to be funded by you. This means either staying at home, or working at home or going back to work. Knowing what to expect can help you to plan ahead. In some cases, you can start children at school as young as the age of three, for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.
Also factor in the cost of after-school programs if you wonít be able to pick up your child at 3 pm every day. You will usually have to pick up your child by 6 pm at the latest, which can be tricky if you are both working 9 to 5.
Is your current car large enough to cope with a baby car seat and baby things? If not, you may have to get a larger car. Choose one with a great safety rating and good mileage. If you are a “green” person, consider getting a hybrid.
Check how a new car will affect your monthly payments if you finance it, and the impact it will have on insurance premiums. Shop around for insurance quotes. Progressive has a handy website to get a quote and will list different options including their own, so you can be sure of getting the cheapest deal. https://www.progressive.com/auto/
Since they also offer other kinds of insurance, such as renterís or homeownerís insurance, they will usually offer a discount for each additional policy you take out.
If one of you really needs a car for work and the other has to have a car to transport baby back and forth to appointments and so on, consider adding a second car to the household.
Check Your Insurance and FSA Provisions
Most people have to choose their benefits the November prior to each new calendar year. In some cases, you may be allowed to make changes to your choices based on what is called a “life-changing event” such as pregnancy and an addition to the family. Donít be afraid to ask.
Get into the Habit of Keeping All Receipts
Some can be used for tax deductions. It will also help you keep track of what you are spending. And if you make a mistake, you can return items more easily in order to get a refund or store credit.
Check Your Credit Score
Most people do this in January every year, but it always pays to check. Remember, the better your credit score, the better rates you can get on mortgages, car finance and so on.
Check Your 401k, If You Have One
Be sure you are getting the most for your money.
Sign Up for Disability Insurance If You Have No Maternity Coverage
When buying the policy, be sure pregnancy and any related complications are covered by the plan. https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/disability-insurance-explained/
If you change insurance carriers, see if pregnancy is deemed a pre-existing condition. In this case, you might not get coverage.
Check with Health Insurance in Relation to Any Pre-Approvals
Donít assume they have the entire picture or that just because your doctor recommends something, or has a particular hospital affiliation, that you will automatically be covered.
Check Your Ambulance Provision
Be sure you have an idea of how to get to the hospital when it is time. Some insurance policies donít give full coverage for ambulance services (even though they might have been essential) and/or only waive the fee if you are admitted for a hospital stay. This could mean $1,000 or so in unexpected expenses if you are not careful. Be safe, but be clear about what is an emergency and what isnít.
Planning ahead will make things easier, allowing you to enjoy those first months and even years with your first baby without worrying constantly about money. But of course, the main thing you can control is your spending. Letís look at smart shopping for baby in the next section.
3. Shopping Smartly and Strategically
Your first pregnancy can be the most exciting time of your life, one of joyful anticipation. It’s a time filled with ultrasounds, nursery decorating, and a baby shower. It is also one of the most important times for you and your spouse to create a budget and stick to it. While it is true that you can expect some gifts for the baby, it is also true that a great deal of it is an unnecessary luxury, and/or of zero use for a newborn infant.
Get a Copy of Baby Bargains by Denise and Alan Fields – http://amzn.to/2hs68Qm
The authors offer a range of ways to save up to 50% on baby essentials. They also offer helpful advice on how to sketch out a baby budget, such as:
* Maternity/nursing clothes: $50
* Stroller, car seat: $500
* Baby sling/carrier: $50
* Swaddling: $40
* Teething blanket: $10
* Crib with mattress: $200
* Traveling crib/playpen: $200
* Changing table and dresser: $400
* Bedding and decor: $300
* Newborn baby clothes: $300
* Miscellaneous: $500
* TOTAL: $2,550
If you are working, you will need to buy maternity clothes at some stage. Get as much wear out of your regular clothes as possible. Aim for a few mix and match separates and one versatile dress you can wear for a range of occasions. Accept donations from friends and consider buying second-hand online, since the clothes will certainly not be worn out.
You should register a list of what you need, with no luxuries included. Most people do not know what to expect, to do, or to buy. Fortunately, there is a lot of free advice out there, on websites and through word of mouth from other new moms.
Newborns will need enough clothes and diapers to be clean and dry from one load of laundry to the next. You can buy inexpensive cotton clothing they will get use out of until they grow to the next size. Because they grow so quickly, the clothes wonít wear out. This means you can get away with hand-me-downs from the start, through childrenís clothing swaps, garage sales and so on.
If you do buy new, remember it will come in handy for any more children. Once you are sure you will not be having any more, take them to the swap shop to get clothes appropriate to their ages as they grow.
Stick to gender-neutral pastel colors: white, yellow, cream, and green. Buy sleep sacks rather than pajamas, and baby booties. You will be changing the diaper so often, it is far easier to lift the hem of the sleep sack than struggle to get them in and out of leggings. http://amzn.to/2yAdUiY