Originally posted on https://www.stuff4tots.com/managing-finances-as-a-growing-family/
Have you ever wondered how people who have 18 kids are able to provide for their family? Or what about the family that has a million dollar house, brand new luxury vehicles and only one parent works at a minimum wage job? I wonder this all the time, but I don’t have all those answers. I do however know how I can help you financially prepare yourself for your growing family.
If you have decided you want to grow your family, whether it be your first or fifth child, there are a few easy steps to take to help financially prepare yourself.
The number one best thing you can do is communicate with your significant other or whichever person is assisting with your finances. You need to be open and honest so you can prepare for this extra person coming into your lives. Finances can be hard in general so open and direct communication is the key to success. This helps so much when you have an emergency such as an unexpected doctor’s bill or when your car breaks down and now you’re paying a garage to fix it. I say this because then you guys are on the same page and it isn’t as if one person is blind-sided.
The next thing I want to talk about is putting money aside into a savings account of some sort.
You will hear most people tell you to just start a savings account. This is something you can do either before you get pregnant or adopt or even after the little one is in your life. This is easier said than done. I know I like to spend my money more than I like to save, so this can be an adjustment. So let’s break everything down more.
If you have an option to have a certain percentage taken out of your paycheck and placed directly into another account, this helps tremendously. The reasoning this helps is that you technically never see that money if it’s taken directly from your paycheck, therefore, you learn to live without that added money. You can have a nice saving account set aside by the time you have your child.
Another thing you can do is to start an account through an online savings account such as Capitol one 360. You link it to your checking account and can set up money to be taken out of your account on specific dates and place into this account.
And the last thing I would like to say is there are also applications out there you can download and use on your phone. Many of the apps will let you set your debit card to round up to the nearest dollar and take the money and put it into a separate account. You won’t get rich off of this, but you won’t notice a huge difference in your money when you are only seeing at most 0.99 cents a transaction.
By having money set aside, you can use it for things such as daycare or other expenses related to your child. This helps take the financial burden and stress off of you when you have wiggle room with your money.
Next, I always like to talk about diapers and wipes. If you are using disposable diapers, you will have a weekly or monthly cost. Therefore it can be much easier to plan ahead. I recommend buying diapers and wipes while you or your significant other are pregnant and build up a stash. I cannot say how much this helps the monthly costs. I mean an average day, you are looking at around 10 diapers. A box of diapers averages out to about $40.00. If you buy at places like Target and Wal-Mart, you can easily exchange them for the right sizes or brand depending on your child. I find that the smaller costs add up quickly and are what overwhelms people. On the same note, you can always have a baby shower or “sip and see” and request diapers and wipes.If you are planning to use cloth diapers, they will save you money in the long run. However, you will need to spend the money upfront to buy all the cloth diapers. If you want to use homemade wipes, you will need to stock up on the materials needed for that as well. The nice thing about this option is that you pay for it once and then you are pretty much set.
So you have money set aside for daycare or other costs and you have a stock of diapers and wipes. So now what? How about clothes? If you go to the department store, you will find that infant and toddler clothing are almost as expensive as adult clothing. I am not joking when I say there are dresses that will fit a Teacup poodle for upwards of $50.00. I am not willing to push out that much cash for a dress that will be worn a handful of times. On that note, you have probably already figured out that your child will not wear clothing for long before they outgrow it. My advice is to buy tots like rubber maids containers with lids and store clothing with labels of sizes.
There are many sales at stores, but they aren’t always the best priced or most practical. The sale may be 20% off a shirt that costs $25.00. I like to find either the clearance items which are normally priced over 50% off. A great way to find these types of deals is to shop during season changes. You can buy shorts and tanks tops for 75% off when the cold weather hits. And on the flip side, you can get long sleeve shirts and possible winter jackets, snow pants for cheap when winter is done and spring is coming.
If you can hit up garage sales and thrift store, you can score some major clothes, jackets, shoes and all sorts of other things for very extremely amazing prices. Most of the smaller clothing is in great shape as they are only worn a handful of times. I wash them and place them in the appropriate tote. When your little one outgrows the size they are in, you grab the tot in the next size up. Then you can either sell the clothing that is too small or re-label the tote and put the smaller clothes in it.
So your child is taken care of when you are working, has clothes and diapers and wipes. What are we missing? I would say food. As I stated above, a cushion of money in savings always helps offset any costs.
There are two options for a newborn. You can breastfeed or you can formula feed. If you breastfeed, you will mostly want to purchase two breast pumps (1 manual and 1 electric.) Side note, most health insurance will cover the cost of an electric breast pump. You will need a few extra items such as bottles. These are if you plan to store breast milk and feed your little from a bottle. Therefore you will also need breast milk storage bags. These are more of an upfront cost like cloth diapers and can save in the long run.
The other option is the formula. These are bought in stores and will cost you hundreds a month. You will also need to buy bottles. There is a program called WIC you can apply for to see if you qualify for help with buying formula along with other specific foods such as peanut butter, milk, bread, and cereals.
So to help prepare for this, sit down with your significant other or make that decision on what you plan to do. Add that into your savings account plan. The tough part about buying formula early is that it’s harder to exchange with dates since it is a food and you never know if your child will have any issues with a specific type or brand of formula. It is better to try and put money aside for it.
I want to add that whether you formula feed or breastfeed, remember… a fed baby is a happy and healthy baby!
The last major thing I would like to touch on with a growing family is healthy. Will you be paying to allot more to add a child onto your plan or is it an all-inclusive family plan? What is your deductible now and what will change with another member of the family. Being prepared and knowledgeable about your insurance plan can help ease the financial burden. You can always plan your finances better when you are educated on the change.
A little off topic, but something that isn’t directly related to a child is to try and become as debt free as possible. If you have any outstanding credit card debt, student loans or anything of that sort, try and pay them off. This will free up extra money that you didn’t have before and help offset the costs of your growing family.
You cannot plan for everything with a child and you will learn to adjust your finances as your child grows with you. These are just tips to look into while you are making the initial transition. It should be a joyous part of your life and you should not be stressed over money issues. So congratulations on your next step on your family and enjoy this bundle of joy!