Here’s the question that every parent, especially every woman faces – “How can I balance my career and childcare?” Let’s get practical. For a majority of people, money is a major part of pregnancy and child rearing. Considering this, financial planning and preparation before you get pregnant is a very good idea. Here are a few steps you can take to prepare financially for a baby.
Evaluate Your Expenses
Starting out, you need to ascertain how much you currently have in your budget for the extra costs of having a baby and raising a child. A baby budget includes the costs of diapers, baby food, insurance, day care, furniture, strollers, car seats, clothing, education savings, and much else. That’s quite a lot! Then you need to build in unexpected medical expenses into the budget too.
If there is no allowance in your current budget for these expenses, you might have to cut back on your personal spending. Understand that almost every expectant parent worries about money. But the good news is that most discover after the baby is born that adjusting isn’t as hard as they thought.
Scrutinize Your Income
After baby arrives you’ll have to live on one income for some time. Question is, will you be going back to work? If you plan to stop working for a while, even if it is for a short while, now is a good time to start saving money. You still have two paychecks coming in don’t you? Since it is hard to predict how much time you might want to take off work after the baby is born, plan to save as much as possible before becoming pregnant.
Study Your Maternity Leave Policies
Next, study your employer’s maternity leave policies. Consider paid maternity leave, short-term disability, flexible spending accounts, sick leave, vacation time, flex time, new mom benefits, and paternity leave.
- Paid maternity leave:If you have worked at a company with over 50 employees for at least one year, you are entitled to three months of unpaid maternity leave and are guaranteed your job back. Find out if your employer offers any unpaid leave – incase you plan to stay away for more than three months.
- Sick leave:Does your employer allow you to substitute accumulated paid sick leave for paid or unpaid maternity leave? If so, take advantage of it.
- Vacation time:If you have accumulated paid vacation, you may substitute it for your paid or unpaid maternity leave.
- Flexible time:If your employer offers flexible time, you may have the option of a gradual-return-to-work schedule, flexible hours, job sharing, shorter work weeks, or the chance to work from your home after the baby is born.