One of the most sure-fire ways to guarantee wealth and security is to pay attention to your personal finance situation. The more you know about personal finance the more money you will save. You’ll also make better financial decisions in general. I recently came across a great resource that lists the best personal finance blogs of 2016. Here’s the link to the article. The list was actually voted on by readers, so the top site, Cash Cow Couple, is a site that a lot of readers recommend. There are many other sites on the list that are worth checking out too like Dough Roller and Mr. Money Mustache. All of the sites on the list are great for inspiring you to manage your money better.
One of the most important things you can do before your baby is born is prepare a financial checklist. Raising a child is expensive, so the more preparation you do the easier the experience will be. You’ll also save more money than you would have without a plan. Below are some of the top financial tips that new parents should use when creating a checklist.
Research Health Insurance
Even with health insurance, the fees associated with baby care can add up. Do research so you know what sort of fees to expect with labor, delivery, and prenatal visit. If you estimate how much the medical bills will cost, you won’t be surprised by the final bill.
Maternity and Paternity Leave
Does your company offer maternity or paternity leave? Do you know how many days you are allowed to take? Do you get paid during the entire period? These are the type of important questions you need to ask. If you take off for an extended period of time, and your company doesn’t provide payment, your finances can be seriously impacted.
Prepare A Baby Budget
After you estimate healthcare costs and understand your leave situation, make a budget. Your budget will guide you as you purchase necessary items. It can also help prevent you from purchasing unnecessary items. If you’re particularly budget-conscious, don’t hesitate to purchase used items. Your budget should also include estimates for the monthly costs associated with diapers, food, etc. The more budget planning you do before your baby is born, the better.
Find A Pediatrician
In order to save money, it’s important to choose a pediatrician that’s within your insurance network. Ask friends and family members for recommendations. Also, don’t be afraid to interview potential candidates.
Start An Emergency Fund
Whether you’re a parent or not, emergency funds are a financial necessity. However, they’re especially important for parents since children are prone to accidents. As a parent, you never know when you’ll need extra funds to pay for an unexpected expense.
Health Insurance For Your Child
Add your child to your health insurance as soon as possible. Most health insurance policies give parents thirty days to add their child to a policy. The last situation you want is for your child to be sick and uninsured, so take care of this step right away.
Start Saving For Education
Every year the price of college tuition rises, so it’s never too early to start saving for your child’s education. Consider starting a 529 plan. It will allow you to save money and avoid taxes.
If you haven’t already made yourself a new year’s resolution – don’t worry, I’ve got one for you. Make 2017 a year of better financial footing. All you have to do is kick the year off on the right foot and make some adjustments for better finances. There are a ton of things you can do to get yourself on the right track, but we will focus on a few of the bigger ones in order to make the largest impact.
The first step in tackling your financial new year’s resolution is reevaluating, resetting, and creating goals. Goals are the finish line of your resolution, but you can’t possibly get where you want to be without knowing the end. Goals also give you something to work towards. They will keep you on track and motivated to reach a better financial foundation. Set both large and small goals. Be care to not shoot for unattainable things though, because they aren’t going to do you any good.
Automate Saving and Bill Pay
The absolute best thing you can do for yourself is to automate as many payments as possible. One of those payments should be to your savings account. Most living expenses and monthly bills offer an autopay option, so take advantage of it. This will help you pay bills on time and never leave you paying a late fee ever again. Additionally, schedule payments or transfers from your checking to savings. It’s a good way to consistently build up your saving with little effort on your end.
Another thing you can give a shot is a cash budget. Many people say it’s much easier to lose track of spending when you use plastic. It makes a lot of sense. Paying for things in cash helps you visualize exactly what you have left to spend. It may also deter you from making certain purchases. You can start small and set a cash budget for things like eating out. If you keep cash on you that only can be used for food that week, you’ll be surprised at how much you save by sticking to it!
Bill Due Dates
Another way to balance your finances is to change bill due dates. Depending on your pay periods, it may be easiest to pay half your bills at the beginning of the month and the rest in middle. Right now you may be tight for the first half of the month because all your bills are stacked at one time. Requesting a change in due dates will help you budget better and leave you with more money each paycheck.