Social Media Moms

Affording the New Baby

1 Comment 31 October 2011

Bringing a new baby into the home and raising it is an expensive undertaking. Your weekly living costs will definitely increase. If you have income that significantly exceeds your routine expenditures, you’ll adjust easily. If you have income that is just adequate for your daily needs, you may find it necessary to change your lifestyle a bit in order to free up enough money to care for the new family member. If, however, your current income comes up short each week, you’re going to experience a financial crisis unless you can find ways to increase income or reduce expenses significantly.

Early Planning is the Key

 Affording the New Baby

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If you and your spouse are planners, you can establish a timetable when you expect to afford a baby. Using this timetable, you can establish a budget, find ways to generate extra income, and begin saving to create a nest egg that can handle the additional expenses incurred because of the baby over the critical first two years.

Be realistic about which expenses will be absolutely necessary, and which expenses would be for those “nice-to-haves” that all parents dream about providing for the first child.

Set up a budget that you can reasonably expect to meet. It’s alright to be optimistic, expecting a healthy baby and reasonable job growth, but be practical. Allow for minor emergencies. Once you’ve developed a plan that seems reasonable, you can begin your family’s expansion with an expectation of success with minimal financial difficulty.
Family members and friends will probably love to give gifts to the new baby. You will want to know how to throw a baby shower on a budget. That way you will save a lot of money and have fun celebrating too.

The Unexpected Pregnancy

 Affording the New Baby

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As a popular bumper sticker succinctly and rather crudely infers, the unexpected happens. You and your spouse may find that a family addition is on the way without regard to your lack of financial preparation. If this happens, you can’t simply ignore the obvious and pretend that everything will be alright. You must become proactive immediately and determine how you can, by cutting down on weekly expenses and increasing income, provide for the coming addition to your family. The very first reality that you must face is that your financial situation requires that you focus upon the expenses that are absolutely necessary. You will have no room in your budget for the “nice-to-haves” discussed above.

List those items that you will definitely need for the baby. Make one list of those necessities that you will buy only once, such as baby furniture, a stroller, a car seat, a high chair, a bottle warmer, and other such equipment. Get prices for both new and used options. Think about which of your friends or family might have some of this furniture that they no longer use, and let them know that you could use it. Make a second list of those major items that you will purchase and use routinely over the next two year: diapers, baby formula, and baby clothes are but a few examples. Shop around to find out where the best bargains can be found and estimate a minimal weekly cost.

Seek Help from Friends and Family

 Affording the New Baby

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Friends and family members are usually as excited about a new baby as the prospective parents. Usually, these people are well aware of your financial situation and will be willing to help you, within reasonable limits of course. Letting family and friends know what you need makes it easier for them to select a gift for your baby without guessing. When my friend Emily had her first baby, our friends purchased the First Years Wave Stroller for her baby as a shower gift. If your friends are wanting to throw a baby shower and are looking for ways to save, they might enjoy these baby shower food ideas on a budget.

After the baby is born, don’t be ashamed to accept hand-me-down toys and clothing. Free is good. Whenever you find that you must buy a clothing item, shop at consignment stores and Goodwill type stores before going to a full price retailer. Let full price shopping be a last resort.

Check with your local government assistance agencies. Perhaps there are programs that help with necessary newborn medical care. Perhaps your income level will leave you eligible for the food stamp program. Investigate - it doesn’t hurt to ask, and may save you money and concern.

The Big Not-to-Do

Awoman paying with credit card 42 18489548 Affording the New Baby

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Suppress the urge to solve you financial problems with credit cards or personal loans. Borrowing can push you into a cycle of increasing debt from which it can take years to extract yourself. You may find credit to provide instant gratification and temporary relief, but in the long term, you’ll end up in greater financial difficulty.

Remember: It’s about the Baby

 Affording the New Baby

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It’s natural for parents to want the best for their children. The baby, however, has very simple needs. He needs to be comfortable, warm, well fed, cuddled, feel secure and safe, and be loved. Everything else is extra-nice-to-haves.

This is a guest post written by Amy Brown. Amy is an editor of Livesnet.com, a site offering baby gear reviews and tips on problems parents encounter in daily life. She’s surely willing to share her own experience and tips. Please visit Livesnet.com and read her recent reviews on Britax Roundabout Convertible Car Seat.

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