Know Your New Expenses
You know that budget you've carefully planned for your life together as a couple? The one with the nice bit of disposable income for extras like movies and dinners out? You'll be pretty much scrapping that.
The good news is, you'll probably be too tired for that stuff in the near future anyway.
And if you haven't been all that great about budgeting to this point, good news! You now have the incentive.
It's not rocket science. The first step toward financial planning for your new family is to sit down, and, well, plan. It's important to know what you can count on spending on your child for the next couple of years so you can fit that thoughtfully into your overall financial situation.
So set aside some time during what is hopefully your baby's good, long nap and figure out what your new expenses are. The most common ones include:
- Diapers, wipes and ointment
- Bottles and formula (if you go that route)
- Breast pump (if you go that route)
- Clothing (and new clothing when your baby outgrows it)
- Regular doctor visits
- Gear such as crib, car seat, high chair, stroller and safety locks
- Day care, if both parents go back to work
There will be others, and you'll figure them out as you go. For now, just work out the new costs you know you can count on, and rework your budget to include them. You may find you need to spend less on entertainment (again, likely not a big problem right now) and possibly forego upgrading to the bigger flat-screen for the living room. Go watch your baby sleep peacefully for a few minutes and you'll be fine with the smaller TV.
Next, once you've factored in the basics ...