| March 12, 2012

Planning ahead for the cost of a baby

Most new parents take smart, basic steps when they find out they’re expecting, such as establishing a baby budget, making a list of the items they need and setting up doctor’s appointments. But there are several other aspects of getting their financial house in order that they can employ to find out how much they will really need or prepare for unexpected costs.

Hospital bills can be one of the costliest expenses new parents will take on, and some may not realize that the overall costs vary by medical facility. For this reason, adults may benefit from contacting different hospitals in the area to find out how the costs and services may vary, according to The Wall Street Journal. While care should never be compromised for expectant mothers, weighing the pros and cons of different facilities can help new parents make the best decision for their family and their finances. The same logic is also true of seeking out child-care facilities early on. Not only will different service providers impose different rates, but some may also be more flexible than others in terms of scheduling.

In addition, budgeting for the arrival of a baby is a big part of being financially prepared. Because food, diapers, childcare and other items may heavily impact new parents’ wallets, most experts recommend that individuals acclimate themselves to their new financial circumstances by living on one paycheck until the baby arrives. This can help new parents ease into new costs and give them more time to downsize expenses and figure out which money management tactics work and which don’t.

High-interest credit card debt can also weigh on households without a child in the picture, so the months leading up to a new baby may be a good time for families to eliminate their balances. Because paying off debt and establishing a strict budget may go hand-in-hand, working with a professional, such as a credit counselor or financial advisor, may help individuals improve their planning strategies. The financial health of a household that is expecting a child will play a large role in how they handle their preparations, so working with a professional can be a great place to start.

A new child is a blessing for most families, and adults who are less stressed about their finances may have more time and energy to focus on the new addition in their lives.

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