How To Prepare Your Finances Before Having a Baby
Having a baby is a daunting task, especially if it's your first one. Whether you adopt or are having one yourself, you are now in charge of keeping a little human alive, caring for it every day and helping to shape it so it grows into a happy, independent, well-adjusted adult. No pressure, right?
While yes, of course, there is a lot of pressure coming from all areas of life when bringing up a little person, one thing you can sort out beforehand is your money situation. Having your finances in a good place before you have a baby takes a lot of pressure off an already new and sometimes stressful situation. Having a baby is such a blessing for so many people. These are just some helpful tips for any parents-to-be to keep in mind. Taking these steps beforehand will take some of that worry and responsibility off of your plate.
Get Rid of Debt
Having debt is a killer to your paycheck. After living expenses, instead of any extra money going into your savings where does it end up going? More often than not it goes toward paying off some kind of debt. Car loans and credit card debt are some big debts that may be accruing interest. The more debt you have the more interest it accrues. The more interest your debt accrues the more you end up having to pay on top of your original loan amount. Even if the monthly payments don't seem like a lot, you'd be amazed at how fast you can save money when you don't have any debt to your name. So, if possible, take at least the big debts you have in your name and pay them off. Student loans, on the other hand, are an investment in your family’s future and generally have lower interest rates.
Make a Budget
With babies come extra expenses, so there's a caveat to this one. Yes, you should make a budget but you also have to stick to that budget. Making a monthly budget only goes so far if, every month, it's thrown out the window and you still just spend whatever you want whenever you want. Instead, break down all of your monthly expenses into categories (i.e. food, gas, baby clothes, doctor's appointments, etc). Look at how much you make every month and at the end of each month divide that amount to cover all of your expenses for the next month. For example, what you make in April isn't spent during the month of April. That money is budgeted at the end of April into your May finances. This way you know exactly what you have in each category, which lessens the chance of overspending and potentially gaining more debt.
Open a Savings Account
No matter how much money you make or how good you are at budgeting, it's always a good idea to have some kind of savings on hand. Life has a tendency to throw things at you you're not expecting and, with a baby on the way, that chance increases even more. So, if you don't have one already, open a savings account. Here, you can put aside a little money every month for emergencies. You can also open a savings account for your future baby. This can be something you put money in every month and later use it for their college or wedding. Whichever avenue you choose, opening a savings account before having a baby is a good step for your finances.
Being a parent takes hard work and sacrifice. Setting up these few things ahead of time will only help to make everything run smoother.