5 Financial Tips For New Parents
Being a new parent comes with a lot of exciting but also stressful experiences. Babies can be expensive and new parents should be prepared for costs of all types and sizes—some quite unexpected. They’re also a long-term investment, with bills you will need to pay for a long time.
So one of the first steps, even before choosing the color of the room or the name of your baby, is to put your finances in order and secure some financial stability for years to come. With so many happy and unforgettable moments ahead, no one needs to waste time dealing with any financial stress.
Here are some financial tips for new parents to make this major life transition a lot easier.
1. Get Rid of Debt
Before you can start saving, you need to eliminate any debt. With new bills and expenses to come with the baby’s birth, no one needs to get even more indebted.
Getting out of debt is not easy. Sometimes the bills seem to consume your entire monthly income. Here are some simple practices to save some money:
- Take a side gig or freelancer job in your free time
- Sell things you don’t use anymore, or rent some unused space (like a bedroom or garage)
- Cut out extra expenses like cable TV or gym membership
- Stop eating out for a while
- Slow down on credit card use
- Try to renegotiate your debts
Many people don’t consider loans a way to decrease debt, but using a payday loan alternative can be a way to get money fast in an emergency to avoid greater financial stress. These loans often include lower interest rates and more time to pay off the loan.
2. Get Life Insurance
Maybe life insurance doesn’t seem important right now while you’re young and healthy. But when becoming a new parent, you will also need to recognize that a human life depends heavily on you. Having life insurance is the most effective way to protect your family’s financial future in the event of your untimely passing.
There are many options available. Some charge high commissions, others have very specific conditions, so be sure to understand the details for each type before committing. Try to choose a policy with a minimum term of 20 years. In this way, you provide minimal coverage for your new family member from birth to college graduation.
3. Save for College
College is a major expense that many parents have to face sooner or later. It’s a smart move to create a college fund and start saving now to ensure you can pay your child’s student years when the time comes.
No need to make big sacrifices: saving just a bit can help with the big expense later on down the road. Experts suggest that you save at least $250 a month from the time the baby is born. That way you’ll have enough to pay for at least a third of your child’s future college costs.
There are even specific savings accounts available for educational savings, like 529 Plans, that offer benefits a traditional savings account won’t offer.
4. Claim on Your Income Tax
The good news is that, as a new parent, you will now claim a dependent on your taxes. This will save you some money: you get a tax credit of up to $2,000 per kid under age 17 that you claim.
You can also get tax credits as a parent if you can continue claiming a child on your taxes after they are 18. Don’t forget to talk about it with your employer, since some companies also help with childcare subsidies.
5. Start an Emergency Fund
Ideally, everyone should keep a small fund to help in those unexpected times. Emergencies are never easy, especially with a kid. Now it’s the time to stop thinking about the emergency fund and start making one. Spend smarter, setting aside some money to give you peace of mind when it is needed.
Keep emergency savings of at least three to six months of living expenses, or customize the amount to fit your circumstances. This can cover everything from a sudden job loss to a medical emergency.
A Baby Changes Everything
It may sound like a cliché, but your life will never be the same after your child is born. You need to be prepared for these changes, as supporting a child requires a lot of care and investment over many years.
In 2017, the government projected that a middle-income family would have to invest around $233,000 to create a child from birth to age 17.
So don’t wait for the little guy or girl to be born and start saving some money right away for the expenses you have right now, the expenses you will have in the future, and especially those unforeseen events that can ruin your family’s financial stability.