Financial planning for growing your family doesn’t have to be ramen noodles and antenna t.v.–there are plenty of ways to budget and save.
The timeless proverb “if you saved enough money to have kids, you’d never have kids” will always ring true for most Americans.
After all, kids “cost” roughly $250,000 to $745,000 to raise from birth to age 18–and that’s before college, whether you pay for it or help them make the payments. For most couples, this isn’t even a thought before lamaze class and putting together baby furniture. But when that baby comes, you’re going to realize just how much everything costs!
Your eighteen-year plan
Having children provides every lesson there is to be learned about preparation and moderation. Whether you’re budgeting how many diapers you have left before a box store run or cutting back on monthly expenses that are already cut back too much, your future is going to be there when you show up. Have a financial plan involving which parents are going to work or stay home, a monthly savings plan taken out of your paycheck, and selling off or eliminate long term financial commitments and get out of a timeshare contract or lease for the latest model car.
Consider moving–even if it means finding a new career
Yes, everything is cheaper somewhere–but at what cost? Consider several places you could move if you had to, and what kind of support you would have regarding day care, family visits, and personal happiness. Moving somewhere just because you can afford a house there won’t help your marriage or parenting if you’re miserable. But moving to a more affordable location near family could just be the best thing to save your wallet and junior’s college savings plan.
Renegotiate your debt as much as possible
Settling credit card debt and paying down college debt are two of the biggest factors in your credit score. Whether you’re buying that family van or moving into a bigger space for that second child, debt is going to follow you for the rest of your life if you don’t take charge now. You’re not going to win the lottery, and you may be making less in ten years, depending on the economy and the job market. So consolidate and pay off your debts now, whether you think your credit score will be affected or not. As soon as that baby comes, all of your time, energy, and money is going to providing for and protecting that child at all costs–and be sure that it costs!
Whatever your plan is, have a financial vision that is reasonable, fair, and one that always looks to the future. You’ll be thanking yourself in the future–and so will your kids.