A new baby affects all facets of the life of a family including finances. Whether you want to start a family or have a baby on board, you can greatly strain your family budget if you add a little bundle of joy. Fortunately, you can plan your finances by using the following handy checklist.
1. Build Your Budget
You should spend less, save more and cut down on debt. You can only achieve this goal by breaking down your expenses into every day expenses, baby expenses and ongoing baby expenses. Everyday expenses include essential expenses such as transportation, rent, or mortgage and the other items that you need. They also include variable expenses like food costs, insurance coverage and internet or cell phone plans. When you are planning for baby expenses, you should know the average amount that you will need during the first year of the baby. You should also jot down the estimated ongoing baby expenses including childcare and diapers. You should then look at your expected income once you know the amount of money that you will spend. If there is a gap, you should prioritize by scanning your expenses. The things you consider essential in your life now could change as soon as your baby arrives. If the gap is still large, you should lower your expenses by adjusting your monthly food costs, updating your insurance coverage, and changing your internet or cell phone plans.
2. Increase your Income and Savings by Jiggling Work Hours and Numbers Now
You can help your finances by supplementing your income. You should consider asking for overtime and setting aside the equivalent of the pay check of one person every pay period. If you are unable to get overtime, you should try getting a part time job if you can handle the load. You should create an emergency fund with the extra money that you are saving. This fund should help in covering household expenses for at least three months. In addition, you should reduce toxic debt by resetting your financial button when you are pregnant through the elimination of credit card debt. Try to make payments on top of the minimum amount that you are supposed to pay if you can afford it. You will have lowered payments and decreased the interest charges that you are supposed to pay every month even if you cannot pay everything off at this time. You should refinance your car loan or mortgage if their interest rate is high.
3. Plan Ahead by Weighing the Cost of Staying at Home and Working
You can choose the best option for your family by asking yourself if it is better for you to stay at home or work. You should use your take home income instead of your gross income to calculate your savings or loss. Staying at home with the baby or working offers you other benefits in addition to potentially helping you to save money. You should therefore consult a financial planner in order to find out if your employer helps in covering childcare costs by offering a flex plan, the cost of professional clothing, childcare and transportation is more than your available income, and you belong to a higher tax bracket if you have two incomes.
The aforementioned checklist can help you to get your finances in order when your baby arrives. You should therefore use it appropriately and get a csa phone number so that you can seek help in case you have any queries.