The happiest day of your life has dawned. Your little bundle of joy had made his grand entrance and every facial expression was recorded for posterity.
The future, indeed, looks bright. As your life begins to settle into some semblance of order, take a few minutes to reflect on the many changes parenthood will bring. Remember that your responsibilities extend beyond the fun and playful aspects of raising a child. You will have to adjust your budget and spending habits to accommodate the needs and wants of your child. In particular, don’t forget to plan for a financial nest egg that will sustain you through the inevitable rough patches life will bring.
What You Need and What You Want
These are two separate things entirely. Before you go crazy with all the fun and innovative toys and clothes out there, don’t forget to stock up on your basic requirements. Obtain a list from any of the major department stores and shop around to get even better deals. Stick to the items you truly need.
Set a Budget
It’s so easy to lose track of your spending as you excitedly shop for your little one. Once you have a list of the basic requirements, develop a one-time budget for the big-ticket items you will only have to purchase once. A sturdy crib, a portable stroller, and a car seat are just some of the must-have things on this list. A working monthly budget can then be made. Diapers, powdered milk, baby wash, and cotton buds must be accounted for, in addition to your regular household grocery list.
“The early bird catches the worm.” There is a reason why this age-old adage still holds true. There is no better time than the present to set your goals for the future. Short-term goals can include weekend vacations and preschool education. Long-term goals must take inflation of college costs into account. Further down the road is retirement. Although it may seem to be excessive to begin thinking of these things, it always pays to be prepared.
Get the Best Deal
Prices vary depending on the store. The same can of powdered milk may be significantly cheaper in your neighborhood grocery store as compared to the bigger department stores. It therefore pays to canvass around for the best prices. Of course, this does not mean you have to go to five stores in order to get the cheapest rates. You’ll end up spending more for transportation! Don’t sweat the centavos but consider differences of more than ten pesos per item.
Second Time’s The Charm
It is a fact of life that children outgrow their clothes and shoes faster than you can blink. Thank generous family members for contributing gently used clothes and shoes for your little one to wear. Don’t forget to return the favor to the next one in line. Along the same vein, consider searching through thrift stores and websites for second-hand items. That Little Tikes trike you’ve been eyeing may just be had for one-third of the price at the mall.
At the end of the day, learning how to manage your resources should be a family effort. Make sure your whole family, adults and children alike, are involved in key decisions. The “I want to buy this now” attitude can grate on parent’s nerves the same way an empathetic “no, you can’t have it” can lead to public tantrums. Ensuring everyone understands the rationale behind your budgeting principles may make this rough sailing as smooth as circumstances allow it to be.