If you are budget planning for a new baby, here are four items to start saving for today.
Maternity leave expenses
Not everyone in the US is lucky enough to enjoy paid maternity leave or family leave. A crucial part of budget planning for your new baby involves knowing if you or your spouse qualifies for maternity or family leave. If your employer or your spouse's employer has more than 50 employees, you are covered by a group health insurance plan, and you've been with your employer for more than a year, you should both inquire as to whether you are covered by the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act). If so, your employer is legally required to grant you 12 weeks of maternity/family leave. The leave may or may not be paid, and your employer may insist that you use your paid leave first.
Obviously if your leave is unpaid, you'll need to start setting money aside to cover those three months of expenses as soon as possible. If you plan to part ways with your employer after your baby is born and rely solely on your spouse or partner's income, you'll want to set aside as much as you possibly can in advance.
Start-up and everyday baby necessities
Parents want the best of everything for their children. However, don't feel obligated to outfit your child with a $400 stroller. Your baby doesn't demand the best; he/she only demands food and a regular diaper change. If your nursery isn't fully stocked after a baby shower or two, try shopping for the remaining items you need at a children's consignment store, or see if friends or family members have baby necessities or clothing to spare. Generous friends or relatives can be a serious boon to your budget planning. Odds are, you know someone who will be willing to lend or give you the items you need, or at the very least, sell them to you at a bargain price.
Expectant parents should also take time to reevaluate their pre-baby family budget and add in the costs of everyday baby necessities like diapers and formula. Small (or large) sacrifices may need to be made to get you through that trying first year of parenting, both emotionally and financially. You can find an extensive list of both one-time and regular monthly baby expenses at The Bump. You can also find an extremely handy First Year Baby Costs Calculator at BabyCenter.com.
If you plan to return to work after enjoying your maternity of family leave, you'll need a childcare plan, and you'll need to know how you plan to fund it well in advance. The high costs of childcare can surprise new parents, but there are a myriad of childcare options available, some of which are far more affordable than others. You can find more tips about paying for childcare when you're on a budget in the Protective Learning Center.
If you've made it this far in life without purchasing a life insurance policy, you now have (at least) one good reason to reconsider. Responsible parenting includes planning for worst-case scenarios and ensuring your loved ones will be provided for financially. If you don't currently have life insurance coverage, it's time to start doing some rate shopping to secure a policy - today!
If you have questions about family budget planning, or how much life insurance you may need, or you'd like to learn the differences between term life, whole life, and universal life insurance, the Protective Learning Center is here to assist.