Budgeting Tips for New Parents
Becoming a parent is possibly the biggest change that will ever affect your life. It is understandable to let anxiety over being the perfect parent influence your purchases and lifestyle, but if you really want what's best for your baby you should also take care of your budget. Remember that while no parent is perfect, good parenting means making responsible choices and providing security for your child. There are several important things you should consider, in order to keep your budget under control at this time.
Too much baby gear
Manufacturers of baby products are very aware of new parents' desires to provide the best of everything for their babies. Consequently, there are a plethora of over-hyped and unnecessary baby products on the market. While a few of these products may provide fun entertainment for your baby or make life easier for you, too many of them are just going to take up space in your home and suck the money right out of your wallet. Watch out for very pricey, oversized toys; limit yourself to just one, and let Baby play with simple toys like stacking rings and nesting blocks instead. These provide just as much learning experience for a fraction of the cost. In fact, some of babies' favorite toys are often ordinary household items you may already own, such as plastic food storage containers or measuring cups.
Parents used to prepare their children for college by getting them into a well-respected high school. Nowadays parents prepare their children for expensive preschools by enrolling them in classes for babies. Some even believe reading or playing music to fetuses will educate them before they're born. While a solid education is an admirable goal, at some point all of this indulgence became more of a competition between parents than a benefit for children. Reading and playing music with young children is a great activity for them, but the pressure to become trilingual and play the violin by age four is going overboard. Focus more on providing emotional attachment and bonding experiences at this age, and save that money for college instead.
Designer baby clothes
It can certainly be fun to dress up your adorable baby and take memorable portraits that will be cherished forever. For times like this you may want to invest in a special outfit. For your baby's everyday wardrobe, however, there is no need to go overboard with fancy designer clothes. Remember that your baby is unaware of fashion at this point, and is only going to grow out of those clothes as fast as he permanently stains them. You will have plenty of time to indulge a trend-conscious teenager later; for now, pay down other debts and invest in your financial security so that you can enjoy treating your child to stylish threads when she will really appreciate them.
Prepare for later
Eighteen years is a long time to indulge your child and show him your love. While your child is still a baby and unaware of peer pressure and material things, simply enjoy bonding with him or her. Make smart financial choices now and save for the future, so that later you can provide the things that matter when it truly counts.