Financing a Family
So you’re pregnant – congratulations! Starting a family often brings about a host of emotions, ranging from absolute excitement to total terrifying realizations about the ways your life is going to change. One of the most common concerns people have about pregnancy? The cost of a child.
This article is going to detail some of the best ways to budget for life with a family, from how to get started to how to begin preparing for the future itself.
The cost of childhood
Nappies, dummies, baby formula, food, school expenses, the costs of having kids go on and on. The Federal Government has released findings that raising a child from birth to 18 costs an average of $384, 543 (though some estimates range significantly higher) as of 2009.
With costs starting there and only rising over the years, people really need to budget carefully if they want to bring their children up in a stable household.
9 months can be a short time, or a long time, depending on how carefully it’s used. You don’t need to spend the entire time scaring yourself witless, but you do need to work to keep your financial wits about you.
Do you have a health insurance plan that covers your pregnancy related costs (from doctors visits to the delivery itself)? These services can often extend past your pregnancy itself, to infant care classes and other information related to post pregnancy needs for you and the baby. If you don’t already have one, you need to get working on establishing one, because there are often lengthy waiting lists (ranging up to a year) that can impact your receipt of these services.
The point with pregnancy is to use the time carefully to prepare yourself, emotionally, physically, and financially.
Looking at the numbers
Keep in mind that parents frequently move into a position where they need more income, but more time off. See if you can budget yourself to live off of one parent’s salary, if you can you can use any excess made as savings, and it will buy a lot of peace of mind to know that you are making it – regardless of the other parent being now able to take time off.
Also, now is the time to focus on debts that you may have. You have 9 months to start working to eliminate these debts, giving yourself the best shot that you have at a financially stable future. Less debt is less stress, bottom line.
Look into assistance plans
Does your workplace budget for maternity or paternity leave? Does the government in your area provide child care assistance, or baby bonus you need to be signing up for? Make sure you work to set up all the forms of assistance that you can to make sure you have as much support in place as possible.
Look into your baby’s educational future
You may just be at the pregnancy stages of your family right now, but children grow up QUICKLY. As every parent will tell you, their education costs will really add up, so it’s best to start working now on a savings plan to cover the costs of that education.
Budget for your baby
Babies cost a lot of money, from the moment they’re conceived to the moment they start going through nappies at increased speeds. Sit down with your partner and budget as to what you can realistically afford every month in terms of nappies, furniture, medical costs, and more.
This will help you to both see your limits and know when you are approaching them. Keep in mind the extra costs that you may not have considered before, like changes to water bills, less gas needs for the partner who is staying home, and more. The key here is to prepare to be realistic, but also to reduce your stress levels.
Make sure you have solid legal plans in place for the child’s benefit
Look into your will, your life insurance policies, and other legal costs. Re-evaluate these policies and make sure that you are putting your most effective foot forward in terms of benefiting your partner and your child in the event of your unlikely death, accidents, and other unforeseen incidents.