While a baby is a wonderful gift for any would-be mother or father, they're also extremely expensive to care for. The question is, how do you make sure that your budget is prepared for the pitter patter of tiny feet?Check That You Have Plenty of Space
Moving to a bigger home is one of the major expenses that you may need to consider when having a baby- particularly if the apartment that you first bought with your partner isn't big enough to accommodate an extra person. Take some time to assess your living space and find out whether it's large enough for a family. If it isn't, then you'll need to consider the costs associated with moving somewhere new.
Strengthen your Savings Account
Hard times are easier to manage when there's just you and your partner to think about. However, you can't simply cut the costs of milk or nappies when your baby is relying on you. The best way to make sure that you're prepared for anything is to strengthen your savings account or add an emergency fund into the mix. Save back enough to pay all your bills for a few months if you hit a time of hardship.
Manage your Debts
We all find ourselves in need of a little extra financial help from time to time. There's nothing wrong with taking out the occasional loan if you need to, particularly if you're careful to choose the loan with the smallest interest rate. However, it pays to have a plan for getting rid of your debt as quickly as possible. The faster you can get rid of your debts, the fewer expenses you'll have each month. That means more money left over for you.
Plan for Lost Income
Unless you're lucky enough to have a cheap source of childcare available nearby that you can rely on until your youngster is ready to go to preschool, then you're going to need someone to be around to look after your baby. This could mean that you or your partner has to switch a full-time income for a part-time job. Alternatively, one of you might have to give up on your career altogether for a few years. Either way, make sure that you know what you're going to do about the lost income, and ensure that you're ready to live without it.
Cut Unnecessary Expenses Out of your Budget
Even if you end up deciding that now isn't the right time for you and your partner to have a baby, there's never a bad time to cut down on your living expenses. Get together as a couple and look at the difference between the money that you have coming in, and the expenses that you have going out. This will allow you to see any areas in your budget that you can afford to cut down on. For instance, can you switch to a different insurance provider to cut costs, or share a single car instead of driving to work separately?
Try Before you Buy
Finally, we're not suggesting that you should borrow someone else's child for a few months, but you can see what it's like to live with a child financially. Calculate a budget based on how much you think you'd have coming in and going out if you have a child, then live according to that budget for six months. This will help you to see what you'll feel like with the added bills to worry about. Not only will you be better prepared, but you'll also have extra money set aside that you've saved from spending less as you prepare.