Inside: New to parenting? Money can be a huge stress when you’re anticipating a new baby. These financial tips for new parents will help you create a solid plan. Avoid common parenting money pitfalls and set your family up for financial success!
Becoming a parent is undoubtedly one of the most life-changing experiences you’ll ever have. Parenthood is incredibly rewarding, but it can veer from being joyful one moment to overwhelming the next. And in addition to coping with the emotional highs and lows, there’s no avoiding the reality that being a new parent is expensive!
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5 Essential Financial Tips for New Parents
Although there are some necessary costs that all new parents should expect, the good news is that there are lots of ways to make the early days, weeks, and months of parenthood surprisingly affordable.
Even better, with some thoughtful planning, you can also make sound financial decisions that will benefit your family for years to come.
Tip #1: Don’t buy more than you need.
When you first find out that your family is about to grow, the instinct of many parents-to-be is to buy all sorts of things that you think you’ll “need” for your baby. The truth is, though, that babies don’t need much at all.
Besides the love and care of their parents, all a newborn really requires is a safe place to sleep, suitable clothes, diapers and wipes, and plenty of breast milk or formula. Most parents will want a few other essentials, such as a baby carrier and a buggy, and a car seat will be vital if you have a vehicle.
Before you rush to the mall (or place a huge order on Amazon), take a moment to think about what your little one will need and try to adopt a minimalist approach. You’ll save a significant amount of money and avoid a lot of unnecessary stress and clutter.
Tip #2: Find gently used baby gear on Facebook Marketplace.
For baby items that are essentials, you can purchase nearly everything you need secondhand through Facebook Marketplace. A quick search will turn up a wide range of bargains on baby clothes, toys, and nursery furniture in your local area.
There are a few things that you should buy new for safety reasons, such as a breast pump, car seat, and a mattress for your baby’s crib or cot. Other than that, be kind to your wallet (and good to the planet) by picking up gently used items from other parents that might otherwise be thrown away.
Tip #3: Invest in your child’s future – and your own!
It’s never too early to start thinking about how you’ll fund your child’s education, nor is it ever too late to reflect on your own educational goals. Opening a tax-advantaged 529 plan (i.e., a prepaid tuition plan or an education savings plan) is a great way to start growing your child’s college fund, and it can be bolstered with monetary gifts from family, friends, and co-workers.
As with any savings account, the earlier you start saving, the more you’ll have in the long run, even if college currently seems like a far-off prospect for your infant or toddler.
Likewise, investing in your own education is one of the best things you can do for your family. Whether you’re considering going back to school to get your GED, bachelor’s, or master’s, furthering your education can be hugely beneficial for your career prospects, current earnings, and your family’s overall financial future.
Many colleges and universities offer flexible arrangements for mature students, including part-time courses designed to fit around work or childcare responsibilities. And to make your higher education goals more affordable, remember that there are scholarships available for students of all ages, including many that are specifically reserved for women.
Tip # 4: Protect what’s most important with life insurance.
If you don’t have a life insurance policy yet, becoming a mom or dad is the time to get yourself covered. Although it may be difficult for healthy young adults to imagine needing this, parents (no matter their age) must have life insurance to protect their families from unexpected financial hardship.
Life insurance is probably more affordable than you think, especially if you don’t have any underlying conditions or lifestyle risk factors. However, the premiums will increase the longer you wait to buy it, so get a quote as soon as possible.
Tip #5: Accept help from family and friends.
You’ve probably heard the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” There’s plenty of truth to that, so accept help from family and friends whenever it’s offered.
Remember, people genuinely like to help each other, and you should never feel too proud to accept help, regardless of whether it comes in the form of babysitting, a casserole for the freezer, or a selection of hand-me-down clothes and toys.
You would do the same for your loved ones, and you likely already have!
How are you financially preparing for parenting? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!