5 Budgeting Tips for New Parents
Having a baby is a wonderful adventure, but it can also be a costly one. Debt collectors too often get the best of well-intentioned parents who didn’t budget properly. Want to make sure your baby has everything it needs to grow up? Follow these simple budgeting tips to help build your child’s future.
Make a budget
If you don’t already use a budget to control your household expenses, this is a good time to start. Without a budget, spending can easily spin out of control and leave you in more debt than you can manage.
Use your current family budget and adjust it in consideration of all the new expenses you will have:
- Baby food
- Car seat
You will also need to buy some baby furniture, get a life insurance and health insurance coverage for your child.
Sit down and write everything that comes to mind when thinking about parenting expenses.
Friends who have had children before you may offer some used furniture, clothing and accessories. As long as everything is safe (safety regulations change every so often for cribs and seats, for example), there’s nothing wrong in accepting the gift. Just give it a coat of paint and voilà! All new!
Clothing can be tricky but if the clothes still look wearable, you shouldn’t turn them down either. Your baby will grow out of it quickly anyway.
Buy in bulk
Visit your local superstore or warehouse store and buy things like diapers and wipes in bulk. This saves a surprising amount of money compared to grocery store and pharmacy prices.
And you’ll also save on gas, since you won’t need to go out for diapers every other day.
Don’t buy too much in advance
Getting clothes for a year is illogical, as your baby may go into sudden growth spurs and quickly outgrow clothes you were planning to keep for another few months. Buy a little at a time and only when needed.
Oh, also: don’t bother with shoes. Babies don’t need shoes until they start to walk, and even then, they only need shoes to walk outside. Let them go barefoot in the house and use socks and booties for when they’re sitting down or sleeping. (Ask your knitter friends for those—they’ll be happy you asked!)
Adjust over time
A budget isn’t a fixed fact: you can adjust and change it as you go. If your financial situation changes, make sure that these changes are reflected in the budget as soon as possible.
Inattention in these matters can easily turn into uncontrolled spending and falling into unneeded debt. We suggest readjusting every three to four months unless a major event happens.