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How Credit Counseling Can Prepare You Financially For Having a New Baby

Having a New Baby? How to Prepare Financially

Having a new baby may be the most joyous moment of your life. But it can also mean upheaval in your autonomy, your relationships, your sleep schedule and especially your finances. All new parents know that a baby’s arrival changes everything. So to avoid financial stress, prepare early.

Tackle Debt

Prioritize your bills first and pay minimum payments on the lower-priority ones while you attack the most urgent accounts with renewed vigor. Not sure which are which? A quick call to your non-profit credit counseling team can help you organize which ones need attention first.

Reducing stress in every area will better equip you to be the best new parent and enjoy the precious moments ahead. Nowhere is this truer than in your pocketbook. If you’re struggling to make ends meet each month because you’re trying to dig your way out of debt, financial stress will rob you of invaluable memories and the fun of your family’s new arrival.

Create a Budget

Topping our list of crucial preparations for any life change – a budget. It can take less than an hour, and the benefits will prove to be invaluable. Start by making a copy of your current budget so that you have something to refer back to in the coming months. Your new budget should include line items for these five important changes.

  • Increased health care costs. Children don’t have to be sick to influence your healthcare costs. Well visits, vaccines and even the occasional weight-check ordered by your doctor will all add up in copays and deductibles.
  • Time away from work. Even if your employer offers short term disability, you’ll take a hit here, so budget accordingly. Resist the temptation to fire up the laptop while you’re still in the hospital recovering. In fact, keep your phone and work email turned off for a few days after having a new baby.
  • Childcare once you return to work. Planning on staying home with baby? This will mean a reduced income to work with, so make note. If you’ll hire a caregiver, add that line item as well.
  • Higher grocery bill. It’s true that newborns don’t eat much, but what they do consume is worth its weight in gold. Much of your new baby feeding gear will be surprisingly pricey. From the moment your baby arrives until he graduates high school, he will surprise you with his mealtime appetite.

If you’ve never made a budget, check out our recent blog post about how to get started.

Establish a Support System.

“It takes a village to raise a child,” says the old proverb—and it does. Your new addition will require more from you than you have, whether emotionally, physically or socially. So be ready to “phone a friend” when you’re at the end of your rope. This might mean vetting daycare establishments long (even months or years) before you plan to need time away. It might be as simple as asking your boss for grace long before baby spikes a fever. It could mean having a friend on constant “standby” for your emotional rants in the middle of the night. It may even mean hiring a marriage therapist or financial credit counseling advocate for the random questions that arise. After all, you don’t need to know everything, and a strong system of support will bridge the gap when you fall short.

How have you prepared for having a new baby in your life? What would you recommend to other new parents? Leave a comment below or tweet your tips to @CESISolutions to share what you’ve learned.

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