As an OB/GYN, I often talk about successful pregnancies and deliveries but one subject often overlooked is how you are going to make sure the baby has the best opportunity for health and success.
Sometimes it’s easy to get so excited about a new baby that you forget some of the realities. While there are all kinds of ways you can cut expenses, the fact that your family budget is going to change is pretty much inescapable. After all, your life will change after the baby is born, and so will your priorities. Here are some financial considerations as you prepare for your new family member.
If one of you is going to stay home with your baby, it’s important to think about the real numbers that will result from that decision. Consider not only the loss of income but what either parent can do to earn additional income. For example, maybe the stay-at-home parent can work from home, or the parent who works outside the home may be willing to take on some overtime or extra jobs if they are available. It’s a good idea to sit down and weigh all the income options and their potential financial impact.
Another thing to think about is how long the stay-at-home parent plans to do so. If he or she plans to stay home with the baby until the child is eighteen, then that financial impact will look a lot different than a parent who goes back to work as soon as the baby is six weeks old.
If you have friends or family members who are willing to watch your baby for free, and you like their caregiving style, then that can be very helpful with regard to your childcare budget. Nonetheless, having the means to hire a babysitter or mother’s helper when needed can make a big impact. After all, family members, like everyone, get sick, go out of town, or otherwise find themselves unable to babysit. It can put parents in a bind when something urgent comes up and there’s no money to hire help.
If both parents work outside the home, or there is only one parent in the home, daycare is also a potential cost. You can “toggle” between a daycare and a family member’s care during the week to offset costs.
For those couples or single parents who find themselves in a financial bind, some financial assistance programs may help. Food stamps and health care are two commonly available aids obtainable through state or federal programs. There’s no shame in factoring in these and other financial supports as you look at your future financial situation.
Your family budget is going to look different after the baby, so it’s a good idea to draw up a new one (or create a budget if you don’t have one). Expenses are going to be funneled to different things now – diapers, childcare, baby clothes, and so forth will make their appearance on the budget form, and you may need to shuffle those funds from other, pre-baby activities.
Until next time #GYNEGirls and #Preggos…