The decision of having babies is just as economic in nature as it is emotional, primarily because babies bear price tags, the effect of which can be quite jarring on parents-to-be.
The Money Times brings you some pragmatic financial tips on planning your baby.
1. Access Your Present Budget
The first and the most obvious step in planning the arrival of your baby should be getting a fresh look at your existing budget.
It will help you identify net combined income and expenses, so that you can make suitable changes in your lifestyle and get ready financially to welcome your baby.
Budgeting can help you gain valuable insights into your current savings (if any) and also how much money will be at your disposal once you go on maternity leave.
2. Get Rid of any Large Outstanding Debts
A gigantic debt is the last thing that you would want when your little one arrives. So, get rid of it now. If you are unable to figure out as to how you should go about repaying the huge sum, take the help of a professional credit counselor.
He could be immense help in figuring out a realistic budget, taking into consideration your future needs and requirements.
3. Estimate the Cost of Your Baby
Another step in arriving at a future budget would be to access the cost involved in having a baby, right from conception until the child becomes financially independent. While doing this, take into consideration the following aspects:
.Medical expenses to be incurred during pregnancy
.Expenses incurred to buy dresses to fit your ever changing size
.Delivery expenses (including cost of post natal care)
.Expenditure on immediate needs of the baby such as diapers, formula, clothing, stroller, car seat, baby products, etc.
.Other major expenses to be incurred in future such as that on child's education, day care / baby sitting, etc.
If your current budget is incapable of taking care of these expenses, you might require to remodel your spending habits to make some space for savings.
4. Find Out About your Employer’s Maternity Leave Policy
It is imperative that you have a clear idea about the maternity benefits that your employer offers. Find out:
.How many days of unpaid leave can you avail?
.How many weeks of paid leave are you entitled to?
.Does your company provide for short term disability insurance? If yes, does it cover pregnancy?
Did you know that The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles both parents to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave provided you are employed with the company for over one year and it has 50 or more employees on its pay roll?
5. Review your Short-term Disability Insurance Cover
This is of paramount importance since you need to figure out how you would manage meeting all your expenses, with the reduction of your total income resulting from your time-off. If you are not already covered by a short-term disability insurance cover, get one right now.
Such a cover can provide you with approximately 60 to 70 percent of your gross income for a duration of about 6 weeks post delivery.
6. Check your Insurance Policy
Having a life insurance cover in place before delivering the baby is a must. However, check if your policy provides for your pregnancy/delivery related needs. To ensure this ask the following questions.
.Is prenatal care covered under it?
.Is your hospital/health care provider covered under it?
.What are the delivery options that are covered under it?
.Does it cover antenatal care for the baby? If yes, then by how much?
.Are all major vaccinations and baby illnesses covered?
If your present insurance policy does not cover the above mentioned aspects, you would need a new insurance policy capable of covering them. Further, if you decide to buy yourself a new insurance policy after conceiving, make sure that it covers pre-existing conditions as well.
7. Eliminate Nonessential Expenses
In order to save, you should be able to curtail all non essential expenses and secondly, eliminate surprise expenses altogether.
Your non essential expenses can be taken care of by restricting those ‘on the spur of the moment’ shopping sprees that you indulged into earlier.
Cutting down your weekend spendings, looking out for discounts, and being a little parsimonious while selecting a birthday gift for your husband should not hurt.
8. Make Saving a Habit
Saving is not as difficult as you always thought it was. Starting it is the only hitch, but once the ball sets rolling you will be shocked to realize how much you can save and how soon.
However, restricting all your expenses simultaneously can be quite adverse, so go step by step by paying attention to just one area at one time.
9. Hunt for Good Bargains
Shopping for your baby can be great fun, but remember to use your money wisely.
Prepare a list of things that the baby will require. Now check with friends, or at a seconds sale for the more expensive items on your list such as a pram, car seat, bouncer, etc. Spending so much on these items is worthless, unless you plan to have more babies in future.
Be vigilant about sales. Internet too offers some great deals on baby merchandise. Ask friends and relatives to notify you in advance as to what they intend to present at your baby shower.
Don’t get intimidated by monetary issues involving the arrival of your baby. A little thought and planning is all that it needs to extend a warm welcome that your baby deserves.