||Children and Money
Time is drawing near. Your stomach is
slowly nearing the size of a watermelon, and your excitement and fear are in an ongoing
tug-of-war. There is so much to think about and prepare for when expecting a baby, but
where do you start? Having a child is a big expense but worth every penny! However, if you
aren't prepared, it can eat away at some of the joy of parenthood (not to mention eating
away at a marriage). To help you avoid this, simply follow these three steps:
Don't wait until the baby is already here to start thinking about expenses. You should
have already developed a budget to follow. If not, now is the time to make one. It doesn't
have to be painful or take a long time
All you need are some general numbers about your net household income, monthly bills and
spending habits (pre-baby). Make a list of all your regular monthly expenses first. These
include everything from mortgage or rent, to telephone and cable, to car payment and
credit cards, to magazine subscriptions and health club membership, to groceries and dry
cleaning. List them all.
It often helps to use your checkbook as a guide to see what your normal expenses have been
in the past. Give yourself a monthly allowance for things such as clothes and
entertainment (movies, dinner out, etc.) and stick to it!
Now, compare your final budget total from the first step to your net monthly income. Are
you in the black or red? If you are in the red, you're not alone, but now is the time to
take some steps so that you can enjoy every aspect of parenthood without the burden of
constant financial worries.