Being a parent should mostly bring joy and thrill. However, it’s normal to feel a bit of panic. This is particularly true when it comes to creating a budget for your family.
Before learning how to establish a budget, there is one thing you need to remember. Being a parent will keep your funds in fluctuation for years to come.
Parenthood budgeting can be a challenging ride. However, you need to stay calm. The key to parenthood budgeting is flexibility and preparedness.
Basic parenthood budgeting is about meeting the daily needs of your family, saving for the future, and managing unexpected bills.
Parenthood budgeting helps you be in control of your finances. This helps you feel more secure and prevents stress.
Here is a beginner’s guide to parenthood budgeting:
Create An Emergency Cash Fund
Even if you are still not a parent, it’s important to have an emergency cash fund. According to experts, it’s best to have an emergency cash fund of 4 to 7 months.
If you do not have an emergency cash fund, don’t worry. You can start to build one today and work on saving more.
It does not matter if you’re starting small. Always remember that every penny counts.
One tip for creating an emergency cash fund is to sell items you don’t use anymore. Perhaps you have a stroller you bought from a wholesale baby stroller manufacturer that you’re not using anymore. If so, consider selling it.
Plan Your Meals Out
It’s a major step in parenthood budgeting to eat at home. However, it’s also useful to have a plan.
Half-prepared or pre-made meals from the grocery store are more affordable compared to takeaways. However, they are more expensive compared to buying raw ingredients.
Also, you can avoid impulse buys if you plan your meals. The reason for this is that you will purchase only what you will need.
For instance, there’s a huge possibility that you won’t use an entire bag of carrots in a single meal. Thus, plan at least 3 meals that include carrots before you purchase them.
With this, you can prevent unexpected expenses in your budget.
Use A Zero-Based Budget
This is one of the best budgeting strategies for parents and families. This type of method means you plan out where every penny of your income would go every pay period.
The reason why it’s called zero-based budgeting is that you need to have 0 unclaimed dollars at the end of every pay period.
Every dollar you do not spend should go into your savings account or pay down debt. This is an excellent method to manage your budget, manage your finances, and keep track of expenses.
There are a lot of mobile apps that can help you with this strategy. So, if you’re struggling in adopting this method, consider using one.
If you don’t know where to put the money that you’ve saved, you should buy a high-quality safe from a premium safe manufacturer.
Be Ready When Your Income Isn’t Enough
Oftentimes, you will feel like there is not enough money for the family. The two basic strategies you can follow are to increase household income and cut down expenses.
However, doing these things can be a bit challenging. Thus, here are several options you should consider:
- Get rid of unnecessary monthly subscriptions. This includes unused gym membership or streaming services.
- Think about refinancing student loans and/or mortgages.
- Sell your car or downgrade your home.
- Look for new ways to make money.
Remember that these sacrifices are not permanent. Once your finances stabilize, you can get these things back.
Try To Live On Less
After you have a child, your income will drastically change. You or your partner might have to take some unpaid paternity or maternity leave.
In other cases, one might have to completely leave work to take care of their child.
If you’re still pregnant, consider living on less before you give birth. This will help you or your partner get familiar with a smaller budget and save for child care and other expenses in the future.
Learn To Prioritize Your Needs And Wants
Whether it is clothes, food, or other things your family needs, consider taking inventory of what you have. This will help you avoid wasting money purchasing the same items.
Declutter your house and eliminate any item that you and your loved ones do not use.
Perhaps you’ve got a pond that you don’t use anymore. Try to sell any ceramic media that you still have.
To cut down on your expenses, try to stick to things that your family needs. Create a list of items you need vs. items you want. Make sure you are realistic with it.
When needed, you can also rely on your friends and family for favors.
Also, there will be things that your kids will quickly outgrow. To save money, consider asking your family and friends for hand me down items.
Creating a budget is a challenging task, especially if you’re raising a child. However, getting control of your expenses and money is extremely rewarding.
If you want to worry less about your finances, use the tips above.