When preparing to start a family, it is important to look at your finances, and assess your current financial situation. You are not always in a situation where you can do this, but if you can plan this ahead of time it could help ease some worry to know you are financially prepared. There is no exact amount you need to have saved when preparing to add a new family member, but it is important to make sure you have the bare essentials covered.
There are many added expenses that come with having a baby. A good way to plan for all of these new expenses will be to assess what is essential and put them at the top of your list to save for. A good way to limit your spending on some of the items needed would be to try to borrow them or buy them used.
Start looking at your financial situation by tracking all of your expenses to see if your income is covering your current expenses and determine if you have additional money left over. It is recommended to do this for at least a month, but this should only be used as a guideline since your monthly spending will vary, and this wouldn’t account for seasonal changes. Once you have listed your expenses, go through them and separate the items you need verse the ones you can go without. This will be helpful to determine the areas that you could limit your spending to help save.
When looking at your monthly income, it is important to factor in the difference in earnings that will occur when you are on maternity leave. Check to see what your company’s policy is for maternity leave. This can make a large difference to your monthly income if your plan is to take time off work and it is either unpaid or a percentage of your income.
Ideally, you should have enough savings to account for the change in your earnings over maternity leave, or if you are planning on changing your work schedules after you have the baby. It is also recommended to have an eight month emergency fund to keep you out of debt if anything unexpected occurs. It is never too early to start saving – the earlier you save the less of a burden it will be to set the money aside and get your finances in order.