For many young families just starting out, the arrival of an infant brings on a tremendous amount of financial responsibility, not to mention overwhelming periods of lost sleep. Even before the new little bundle of joy arrives, we’ve often already made some important purchases, such as a crib, car seat, swaddling clothes, blankets and other necessities. But often we forget about long-term financial responsibilities for our growing baby who’ll be off to college in what seems to be the blink of an eye sometimes.
According to Daily Finance, the cost of raising a child for the typical middle-class American family can run upwards of a quarter-million dollars during their initial eighteen years of existence and that doesn’t even include the cost of a college education.
#1 – DO YOU NEED LIFE INSURANCE FOR A BABY?
One may not even entertain the notion of getting life insurance coverage for an infant, but for many young parents, they should at least consider coverage and understand their options. Young children present a minimal health risk and therefore life insurance companies give them the most affordable rates. Young parents could lock in coverage for twenty or thirty years at extremely affordable rates.
Although it may be a morbid topic to discuss, parents can be completely blindsided by the death of a child. While the emotional roller coaster can be unbearable for some, adding catastrophic medical expenses on top of this tragedy can be overwhelming. While you may have health insurance, co-payments and non-covered expenses can still lead to thousands in out-of-pocket costs. Unpaid medical bills are still the leading cause of bankruptcy filings, surpassing both mortgages and credit card debt.
#2 – RANDOM ACTS OF BLINDNESS
Obviously no one has a functional crystal ball when it comes to foreseeing the future, and many other types of unexpected expenses can really cripple a family budget. Whether it’s an unplanned car repair bill or the failure of a household necessity like heating or air conditioning, these costs can easily run into the thousands. While some home and car warranties are overrated and expensive, consider your options when you have an older residence or vehicle.
To reduce these expenses, do regular maintenance on both your automobile and your home. For example, change the motor oil in your vehicle as recommended by the manufacturer. For household appliances like HVAC units, change the filter(s) regularly and have a professional maintain them on a yearly basis. Both of these practices can extend the lives of these expensive necessities and reduce the incidences of unnecessary repairs.
#3 – DISCRETIONARY DECISIONS
While some expenses that accompany a newborn are unavoidable, things like diapers and formula, others are more discretionary, like childcare for example. Couples should carefully weigh the difference between having a one-parent household income against the cost for caring for a young one while we’re away at work. There’s other options, do you have friends or relatives that would be willing to trade childcare for other services or offer it to you at greatly reduced rates?
Toys and entertainment are amongst the cheapest of the accessories when it comes to growing children. While they don’t need every new game and gadget on the market, they’ll still need newer technology to stay current with today’s times. Since children can be rough on handheld devices, consider spending a little extra on a replacement warranty in case it is lost or stolen to avoid a bigger bill down the road.
We all want what’s best for our children, but it should come at the risk of breaking the bank and destroying our budget. With some careful planning and consideration, we can care for our loved ones and provide for them accordingly without drowning in a sea of debt.