Baby Budget Tips
Planning for a family is both exciting and stressful. Bringing a baby into the world is a long term financial commitment and it can make life much more enjoyable when you get your finances in order first. Read these essential budgeting tips that every expecting parents should read.
Having a child brings huge changes to your finances, both with incomings and outgoings. So you can focus on your family life and give your child the best possible future it's crucial to get your finances into order as early as possible.
Consolidate & reduce existing debts - It's easy to accrue debts on credit cards, store cards and personal loans. Why not consolidate your existing debts into one place to reduce your monthly interest payments. You can consolidate debt from credit cards using a balance transfer offer such as 0% on balance transfers for 6 months. During these 6 months you should focus on reducing the debt as much as possible.
Make extra home loan repayments - If you have a home loan and are both currently employed you should use your dual incomes to make as many extra repayments on your home loan as you can manage before dropping to one income. Make sure your home loan has a free redraw facility so that you can pull any extra repayments back out at a later date should you need it. Even if you pull most of the money back out after you have the baby you will still of reduced your interest payments in the meantime and further reduced the principle balance.
Check your Health Insurance cover - Having a baby can rack up some big healthcare bills especially is there are any complications. If you don't have private health cover you should consider taking it out in advance of getting pregnant as many funds have a 12 month wait before they pay out for maternity expenses. If you already have health cover, check the policy and ensure maternity cover is included. If not, you may need to upgrade or shop around for another policy.
Protect your income - While an additional expense, it is seriously worth considering income and life insurance should the worse happen. The upbringing of a child create a large financial repsonsibility. You need to be confident that your home loan could be paid off and essential costs such as education and living costs covered in the event that an income is lost or something happens to one of you.
Save for the future – Consider opening a savings account with a good interest rate to save for future costs such as education. Online only savings accounts often have higher interest rates and lower fees than tradtional banks. If you looking for bigger returns with a long term investment then you could look into managed funds or shares.
Think ahead - is your retirement plan working for you - Make sure you have your entire retirement plan in one place to avoid paying multiple account fees. Look for retirement plans with low fees and strong performance results. It may seem like a long way ahead but you need to ensure your money is working for you for when your little ones are all grown up.
Try out living on just one income - It can be a shock moving from a dual income household to a single income household when you have a baby. To make things easier why not try and live off one income for a while before the baby is born. The other income can be put towards extra home loan repayments or reducing debt as suggested in the other tips.
Don't spend money when you don't have to - The great thing about having a baby is that friends and family are keen to help out. If you've have friends who have had babies before you why not see if they have toys, clothes or equipment that they don't need anymore. Ebay, online classifieds and your local newspaper are also excellent places to find baby goods second hand. To save money of expensive toys that your baby will soon grow bored of you can use local toy libraries for a small cost.
Babies can save you money as well! - While there may be no shortage of costs around bringing up a child, you'll probably notice you spend less money on entertainment such as going out to restaurants and bars, especially in the first years after having a child. They will provide you with plenty of 'entertainment' and keep you occupied day and night.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Greenwood is founder of the Click4Credit groups of financial websites designed to compare credit card offers and high interest saving accounts.