Many say that children are a blessing, and in the words of Whitney Houston, they’re our future. The excitement of the prospect at being a parent is unlike any other feeling, but when it comes to starting a family, the potential financial stress can edge out some of that excitement. As of 2015, raising a child from birth to age 18 can run a family about $230,000, so starting a budget and making necessary preparations is a great way to get a start on your family planning in a less stressful way. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
- Plan from the beginning. While it’s often easier to make plans for when your baby is a bit older, it’s important to make sure you’ve got a plan for hospital bills and any other possible expenses from the day the baby is born. According to experts, hospitals can charge between $2,000 and $12,000 for childbirth, and that’s not accounting for any additional charges for any emergency procedures. Before the big day arrives, sit down with your obstetrician and healthcare provider to discuss what costs to expect.
- Budget for the baby. As a new family, you must plan for additional food costs, clothes, nursery furniture, and additional supplies, and creating a more curated budget will help ease into those new costs. If possible, borrowing items from friends and family can ease financial stress, and your friends with kids might have hand-me-downs and supplies they no longer need.
- Prepare to completely adjust your lifestyle. There a few questions you and your partner should address as they plan for a new addition to the family, to help figure out how you’re going to reconfigure your lifestyle once the baby arrives. Will you be going back to work? Can you take maternity / paternity leave? What kind of child care options are on the table? All of these and more are important to address before you take the plunge. You can also take advantage of books, websites, and web articles to help you plan responsibly, and there are plenty of tools on the internet to create a budget and find deals.