When you are expecting a baby or have a newborn, finding extra ways to save money for the baby becomes very important. There are many more expenses to account for, including daycare, medical bills, diapers and formula, clothing and extra food. By taking small steps early on and forming new habits, you will be able to set enough money aside to account for these additional expenses without seeing a drastic change in income. It is important to not only cut down on expenses, but to also put that money away into savings. Depending on your personal situation, you can choose to do all or just one or two of these ideas. The key is to review your monthly expenses and think creatively and honestly about what you can and cannot cut.
The first step to finding extra ways to set money aside for the baby is to find expenses that you can cut. The following are a few ideas to cut expenses:
- Pay off or pay down credit cards. If you have a couple credit cards or lines of credit, then you might consider paying them off, or consolidating them. If you are making payments to three different accounts, all with a $100 monthly payment, then you can possibly consolidate them into one with a lower required payment. I do not suggest only making the minimum payment, but to continue to make the $300 payment and pay it off faster. This can also allow you to have a lower overall interest rate, and if you have an emergency month, then you can make the minimum payment without any penalty and start the higher payments again the next month. Also, if you have one card with a low balance, you can use extra money to pay that card off faster, then use the money you had been spending on it to pay off the next lowest balance card faster. Use this method to get one or two accounts paid off before the baby is born or before they start going to daycare.
- Eat out less. This is a habit you might need to break. It might be eating out for lunch every day, or it might be getting that expensive coffee every morning. Most people have some form of expensive eating habit they can cut back on. If you can save five dollars a day on your eating habits, then that adds up to $150 dollars a month.
- Stop smoking. If you are a smoker looking to save money for the baby, you have several good reasons to quit. Again, if you smoke a pack a day, then you could easily save about $150 a month.
- Cut out cable or satellite TV. This is a hard decision for many people, but cable television is not a necessity for living, and can be very expensive. Cutting this expense could save between $50 to $150 per month depending on your package. Also, if you have both cellular phones and a home phone, you might consider cutting one of them from the budget. This could also save between $30 to $100 per month.
- Refinance. If interest rates are better that when you first got you home or car loans, and if your credit is in good standing, then you might consider refinancing. Try not to extend your payments when refinancing, because that will cost you more over the long run. However, if you can refinance at a lower rate for the same amount of time, then you can save money in the short and long term.
Once you cut expenses, then it is time to start saving. If you are expecting a baby, then the savings might be for the delivery costs. If you have a new baby, then you might be saving for child care or pre-school. The following are some hints to make it easier to save:
- Forced savings. One of the hardest things to do when you free up extra money is to not spend it. It is especially hard not to spend the extra money when you are looking at all of the baby room items, clothes and toys. A way to avoid this is to force yourself to save. To do this, set up a dedicated baby savings account, and schedule money to transfer into it from your checking account on a regular basis. Generally, you can schedule money to transfer on the same day that you get paid, this way you never see the money and won’t miss it.
- Buy a Certificate of Deposit. If you are saving for a specific item that you will use the money for in the future, then you can purchase a Certificate of Deposit. These accounts have a higher interest rate, and penalize you if you withdraw early, so it forces you to not spend the money without thinking it over first. You can typically buy six month, one year, two year and up to five year CDs.
- Act as if you are already paying expenses. If you are planning on regular monthly expenses in the future that you must account for, then start paying them now, but pay yourself rather that the other person. Take this planned monthly expense and put that money into savings. This way you will start building savings early, and when you really do have to start making the monthly payments it will be easier because you are already used to it.
With a little planning and self control, you can find many extra ways to save money for the baby. It is important to first find ways to cut your expenses, and then remember to put the extra money into a savings account for the future.