It is the most exciting time in your life when you have a new child in the family. This time is also the start of an expensive journey. You can easily spend $250,000 or more raising your child until they turn 18. You need to make smart financial choices from the very beginning to ensure financial stability for your family.
Create a Budget
You need to create a household budget. Before your baby is born, determine how much you will need to spend each month on diapers, baby food and related expenses. Add a few extra dollars each month to your estimate since babies have a lot of needs. Include your estimated expenses into your budget.
As you are creating your budget, determine if there are any expenses you can cut out. Perhaps you can give up that daily coffee or settle for a cell phone plan with less frills. Now is the time to cut down on some of your unnecessary expenses. Once you create your budget, do everything you can to stick with it!
Pay Down on Debt
If you are planning to start a family in the near future, you should start to pay down on some of your debt. Work hard to pay down on your (or your spouse’s) student loan debts. Try to pay off credit cards and other revolving debt. If you have already started your new family, pay more than the minimum payments on this type of debt (add these payments to your budget to help ensure they can be afforded).
Plan for the Future
You are probably not thinking about retirement when you are just starting out in life. It is the last thing on your mind when you have a new baby in the family. However, you should not neglect your retirement fund. It is important to still work to place at least 1/10 of your income in your retirement fund.
Open a college account for your child. It is never to early to start saving money for college. Shop around for college account options in your state that provide you with tax saving benefits. Consider asking relatives and friends to make contributions to your child’s college fund rather than buying them gifts.
It is important for you and your spouse to have life insurance. This is not something you want to think about when you are starting a new family, but you should. You will want to make sure that your spouse and children would be in a good position if something where to happen to you. It is also a good idea for you both to purchase disability insurance in case someone becomes sick or injured and is not able to work for a while.
Plan to live within your means
Plan to always live within your means. Do not buy your child the most expensive toys and baby items. Chances are that they will do just fine with moderately priced items. Do not take your family on vacation if it is something you really cannot afford. Wait to buy your dream house until you are in the most ideal position. Do not buy a house or a car if you will be stretching your paycheck to the limit to keep up with those payments.