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New parent? Here are five tips to keep your budget in check

May 20, 2016

Budgeting can be difficult for new parents who are sometimes surprised by the cost of supplies and equipment that new babies need on a regular basis. Here are some tips on keeping your budget in line, when expanding your family creates new expenses:

1. Create A Realistic Budget

New parents must generally add a variety of new expenses for baby food, diapers, doctor’s visits and other necessary costs. These regular expenses should now be accounted for in your budget’s fixed costs. Once you adjust your budget, you may be able to identify opportunities to save money elsewhere. Perhaps you can ask a friend or relative for hand-me-down clothes or furniture. Or, you can try making your own baby food instead to save money.

2. Be Aware of Changed Priorities

When considering your budget, be aware the change in your goals. You may have been working toward a trip to Europe or new car, but now the need for a home has become more pressing. These shifts in priorities will mean a shift in what you’re saving for and how much you should spend on everyday needs.

3. Be Creative with Your Entertainment

The “nights on the town” begin to be few and far between when you’re a new parent. If you have family nearby, you can enlist their help as babysitter to help keep childcare costs lower. Consider entertaining friends in your home for a movie or game night, instead of going out.

4. Recycle, Repair, Re-purpose

Helping the planet can also help you to save money. Items you may have been throwing out can be repaired or re-purposed to allow you to cut back on expenses. Instead of purchasing new furniture, consider re-finishing a piece with good lines to give it a fresh look.

5. Continue to Save For the Future

Although your expenses change radically when you’re a parent, you should continue to find ways to save for future goals, which may include a house, college for your child or your own retirement. Use automatic savings plans through your bank to ensure that you put aside money for your goals. Look into your state’s college savings plans to find an affordable way to pay for college. If your company provides matching funds for retirement, maximize them as much as possible.

Although it may seem that raising children is more expensive than ever, developing a thoughtful financial plan can help you to maintain a comfortable lifestyle and save for a secure future.