Expecting? Get Ready Financially too.
There is nothing more daunting (financially and emotionally) then the prospect of becoming a parent for the first time.
I remember being surrounded with other expectant mothers at a pre-natal class, who were glowing and gleeful, and seemed like they really knew what they were talking about. I however, was swollen and terrified. How would I know what to do? This extended from changing diapers to the shifting from me to we- as well as a shift in the finances.
Here are some things I wish I’d known back then.
You Don’t Need Everything at Once
Your baby will grow (and outgrow) everything at a rapid pace in the first year. You don’t need to hit Toys R Us and buy everything in sight for each age and stage. Firstly, it becomes a question of storage. Secondly, it becomes about budget. Plan to buy things as you go (age appropriate toys and clothes), which will spread out the expenses.
You don’t have the cash to buy the expensive baby bedroom set? Relax. Your baby will spend the first few weeks of his or her life nestled nearby in a bassinette likely, which is if nothing else, is more convenient in the wee hours for multiple feedings. The crib can wait.
Likewise for the change table. A towel or a changing pad on top of your bed does the same thing quite nicely.
Consignment stores are your Friends
Face it. You are basically renting kids clothes, based on the length of time that they actually wear them. Trade in your baby clothes at consignment stores; get a credit and move up to the next size. Let the designer outfits come from doting grandparents, friends and neighbours.
You will likely be the recipient of a shower or two, no doubt. Take a pragmatic (but polite stance) and if the host is open to it, suggest a shower with purpose. The best one I ever had? Guests had to stock my freezer with their fave homemade goodies. I have never been so thankful in my life, when after several weeks of sleep deprivation, I discovered the food mother lode.
Also be open to gift cards for pharmacy or grocery stores- great saving for you on baby wipes and diapers, down the road!
Expect an income interruption
Unless you are one of the lucky ones whose company tops them out while out on maternity leave, expect to be scaling back on your income at least temporarily.
It can be a tough time- your income lessens, while new expenses emerge on the scene.
Plan for this by putting a little bit extra aside in advance and by planning to alter your budget accordingly.