It can be difficult to find time to shower when you are caring for a newborn. You may forget to pay your bill or buy random items online in the fog of sleep deprivation. This can lead you to neglecting infant care. Your credit score is down, and your budget is stretched.
The baby planning process — including the name and nursery theme ideas — is more fun than creating a system for opening mail. But money management is something you don’t want to leave up to chance once your baby arrives. These are some ways to begin financial nesting.
Get rid of the most important tasks
Use the pre-baby years to make big decisions.
The baby’s health insurance: Adopting or giving birth to a child is a qualifying life event for insurance coverage. This means that you don’t need to wait until open enrollment to add your baby to your plan. However, you will only have a short time — approximately one to two months after the birth or adoption — to do this. To find out the deadline, check your insurance plan’s rules. Compare your plans and decide who will be taking the baby as a dependent if you have separate ones.
Estate planning: A lawyer can help you draft a will, select a power-of- attorney, and establish a trust for your child, depending on your circumstances. Paul Sydlansky is the founder and senior advisor at Lake Road Advisors, Corning, New York.
Life insurance: If you or your partner are unable to work, a life insurance policy could provide financial support for your family.
Get your budget baby-ready
Baby expenses can range from small ongoing costs such as diapers and formula, to large-scale expenses like child care. The money coming in will change dramatically if you are on unpaid parental leave, or if one parent leaves their job to caretake full-time.
Begin by identifying the cuts that you can make and bills that you can renegotiate in order to reduce costs. If your credit card debt is not being paid off quickly, this can help you save money later on. So you can see how your spending will change, begin to estimate the expected monthly costs of baby care.
Automate your bill payments for recurring expenses like mortgage payments, credit cards, utilities, and credit cards. You can use the bill-pay function of your bank to send checks to your landlord if you rent your house. To ensure that these services continue uninterrupted and without any late fees, you should make arrangements as far in advance as possible.
Be prepared for unexpected
You should always allow for unexpected expenses in your budget.
Emily Rassam is a senior financial advisor at Archer Investment Management, Charlotte, North Carolina. She found that she was spending more on herself than she had planned. She says that her interest in cooking and grocery shopping plummeted after she became pregnant. This meant that her food budget was more focused on restaurants and takeout.
Rassam recommends that you confirm child-birth expenses with insurance companies in advance. For example, she discovered that her hospital was covered by her insurance, but not the anesthesiologist. An epidural would be more expensive than expected in this situation.
Enter your village
Not only are they great resources for hand-me-downs and advice, but also provide free babysitting. They can help you with financial tasks.
Lori Gross is a financial and investment advisor at Outlook Financial Center, Troy, Ohio. She says that neighbors have the same deadlines to pay costs like property taxes, utilities, and other bills. Ask them to send a reminder text when they pay their bill, so you don’t forget.
Gross says that while family and friends are great at helping with these things, parents often hesitate to ask for assistance. They don’t believe they’ll need it .”
This article is by NerdWallet. It was originally published in The Associated Press.