When the biological clock is ticking and you are quite convinced this is the right time for baby-making, take stock of your income, expenditure, investments and lifestyle too. Here’s a checklist to ensure you are on the right track – financially!
Pay Off Debts And Loans – and start doing it even before you conceive, as you can never arrive at an accurate estimate your medical expenses during pregnancy. For example, a sudden complication could require specialized medication or even a hospital stay which could dent your savings. Paying off your credit card bills, loans and other debts will help increase your cash flow just when you need it.
Invest On A Regular Basis – as this will help you start a savings pool to fund your pregnancy/maternity expenses and your child’s future. A savings account will give you more choices in life and greater security.
Review Your Insurance – If you have a health insurance in place, now is the time to review it and read the fine print to ensure your cover is adequate. Also, find out what your costs may be so you are prepared for the other expenses not covered in the insurance.
Plan Your Career – If you are the sole earning member in your family, or if your income is the prime source, make sure this is the right time career-wise too. It makes better sense to stick to a stable job while having a baby as you will be eligible for paid maternity leave. Review your company’s maternity policy before you conceive and check if your employer will be flexible too. Unsympathetic employers can be the biggest challenge for parents struggling with child care problems.
Don’t Put Your Life On Hold – having a baby on a budget doesn’t mean making drastic changes to your lifestyle. For example, doing away totally with Saturday night outs and other entertainment expenditure is not really necessary. Strike a balance instead and find new ways of entertainment. Take time off together as a couple and get help from family. In India, relatives and friends are always willing to pitch in when you need help.
Stick To The Basics – especially when it comes to clothing and furniture. Keep the clothes simple. As for furniture, cribs, rocking chairs and shelves are all much cheaper when you buy them at regular furniture stores rather than at special baby stores.
Don’t Overspend On Baby Stuff – Before you set out shopping for baby, prepare yourself. The more you know about what you really need, the less likely you are to overspend. Resist the urge to splurge on designer baby stuff and expensive toys.
So remember, while you on a shopping spree, it is also essential to tighten your purse strings once in a way and avoid unnecessary expenses. After all as the saying goes, “many a little makes a mickle”.
It’s a fact of life that no financial hurdle is big enough to prevent you from having a baby. But having a plan in place and being well-prepared will only make the ride smoother and help you enjoy this phase of your life better.