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How to prepare your finances for a baby

4 ways to stretch your budget for a baby
How to prepare your finances for a baby

Baby-related expenses don't have to be a huge drain on your finances.

Here's a secret: Baby needs -- beyond diapers and formula -- don't cost that much, especially if you are lucky enough to receive big-ticket items from family and friends, says Julie Asti, CFP, owner of Berkeley, Calif.-based Asti Financial Management, which often counsels expectant and new parents. Not to mention that you won't be getting out much in the beginning, so the decrease in your entertainment expenses will likely offset some of that new cost.

"That's why you should be most concerned with making sure you can cover your expenses after the baby's arrival, especially if Mom (or Dad) will be taking some time off to be with the baby and income will decrease," says Asti.

In other words, start crunching the numbers for a new budget, and make sure you have all of your financial ducks in a row. "When you're in your second trimester, and can move around and make phone calls and do things," she says, "you should be planning." Among the items to cross off your list is finding out about maternity and paternity leave policies; what kind of short-term disability you are eligible for; if there will be additional costs to add the baby onto your health insurance policy; and what type of baby care you might need and how much it will cost.


 

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