“When are you going to have a baby?” It’s the question that rings in the ears of every newly married couple.
A shy laugh and a “not just yet” often seems more fitting than a “well, we’re actually not sure if we can afford to have a child, yet.”
For many couples, the transition from dual income to single income can be a huge shock - so many new parents have no idea how to manage finances for raising children! Add to that the expenses associated with having a new baby, and before you know it, you’re not just raising a child - but also your debt and your stress levels!
Below we have outlined our top family budgeting tips to help you reduce the cost of raising a child, so you don't have to fret about how you are going welcome your bundle of joy into the world.
How to Raise a Child Without Raising Your Debt
Pay Down Your Credit Card and Personal Loan Debts
As soon as you know you’re expecting, paying down debt is the number one thing you must do to set your finances straight!
The last thing you want is to go on leave with a debt burden hanging over you! Not only will existing debt cost you in interest, but if you miss payments this will reduce your credit rating.
Having a bad mark on your credit file will impede you if you need to get finance (i.e. for a new car or a house deposit).
If you are in this basket and the debt is not unmanageable, do a balance transfer with a better rate, and get cracking to pay it off!
Ask Your Friends
Friends and family are likely to have advice on things you hadn’t considered.
Of course, you don’t have to take on board everything they say, but often there will be some wisdom and advice that will help you navigate the financial changes that come with your new addition.
Speaking to a friend or someone who has had a child and lives a similar lifestyle to you too, will be super useful to help you find out any hidden costs you may not have thought of.
Family Budgeting Tips: Revisit Your Budget
The addition of a child, not just once they are born, but during pregnancy can mean some pretty major adjustments to your budget.
Factor these costs into your budget for before and after birth so there are no financial shocks amidst those already sleepless nights.
Child Support Debt Relief: Review Your Eligibility for Government Benefits
Subject to an assessment of your assets and income, you and your partner may be eligible to receive the following payments (these links will send you directly to Services Australia/Centrelink):
- Parental Leave Pay
- Family Tax Benefit
- Dad and Partner Pay
- Parenting Payment
- Rent Assistance
- Child Care Subsidy
- Concession and Health Care Cards
How to Manage Finances for Raising Children: Consider Health Insurance
If you haven’t already, shop around for health insurance to see which extras can be covered.
You may find it’s cheaper to have health insurance than not, particularly when it comes to pre and post birth medical bills and further down the track when your children are older.
Reduce the Cost of Raising a Child: Cloth Versus Disposables
It’s an age-old debate, cloth or disposable?
Cloth will obviously see you washing more, whereas disposables will be more convenient and less work but likely to put a bigger hole in your budget.
Another cost to chat to friends and family about - do the math and make a decision.
Trade Babysitting Time
For the first few months, the idea of leaving your baby at all will probably not be one you want to entertain.
However, as your baby gets older you will want to revisit time with your partner and friends without your child.
Trading babysitting time with friends is a great way to manage this.
Not only do you get the peace of mind knowing that your baby is with a friend, but you can also swap hours, which means you don’t have to pay anyone!
Make Your Own Baby Food
There are websites full of information about how to make your own baby food.
A quick Google search will reveal thousands of baby food recipes, which often even include using food you are already preparing for your family.
Making in bulk and freezing will save you dollars on pre-prepared jars and pouches in the supermarket – and by making it fresh, it will be healthier because you will know exactly what’s in it!
Family Budgeting Tips: Get Items Second Hand
Don’t get caught in the “it must be new trap!
Ask friends, visit markets and check out sites like eBay and Gumtree to discover bargains on near new items - the options are endless, and you will save heaps of money simply by buying second hand.
Baby items like prams, strollers, bassinets, cots, clothing, shoes and car seats are often expensive to buy brand new, and they are usually outgrown well before they start to show any signs of wear and tear.
Make The Most of Gifts
A new baby can often send friends, family and work colleagues into a frenzy of gift buying, but don’t be scared or feel rude to ask for things you need.
If you’re having a baby shower, be open about the items you would like to receive as gifts - chances are your friends and family will feel better about giving you something you actually want and need, and they may know from experience which products are worth buying!
Importance of Family Budgeting: Set Up An Emergency Fund
Be it 5% or 10% of your pay, or whatever you can spare – an emergency fund will give you financial breathing space when you really need it!
Start by setting up a bank account specifically for your emergency fund, and allocating a set amount of your income toward it each pay cycle.
You can then bulk it up by selling some old things you no longer need and contributing those monies toward your fund.
Start Practicing Frugality NOW!
As tempting as it may be to live it up whilst you still can, you will adjust better to your post-birth situation if you start implementing positive money habits sooner rather than later.
You will never know what unexpected things you are going to encounter between the loss of income or having to take unpaid parental leave.
Best Debt Negotiators
Bringing a new addition into your family is an exciting time, so give yourself the peace of mind of being financially prepared - this way you will look back on the early days of your child’s life with fondness instead of angst and regret about not being adequately prepared.
However, if the clock is ticking and you are majorly stressing about bad debt, seeking professional assistance from the best debt negotiators might actually get you on your way to being debt-free faster than you think!
Call us on 1300 003 328 for a free and confidential debt assessment, where we will assess your current finances and work out a plan to get you back on track and looking forward to starting a family!