Friday, October 20, 2006

Affording Baby

By Brandi M. Seals

When you first find out your pregnant your first reaction is hopefully one of joy. You plan out the nursery, make a list of all the things you will need and start spreading the news. However, sometimes all the excitement turns serious as a nagging fear that you cannot afford a baby may arise.

Babies do not always come at the best of times or when you are standing on solid financial ground but there are things you can do to safeguard your child's future. To give your child the childhood she deserves it is imperative that you work towards paying off debts and most importantly learn to live within your means.

Children do not need all the latest toys or designer clothes. They need love and understanding. If you are looking to curb your spending or are otherwise trying to find a way to get extra cash for your child's needs, try one of these suggestions:

1.) Pay of Debts
Pay off everything you can or pay it down as much as possible. With debt comes money that is just being thrown out the window on interest. Stop wasting your money as soon as possible. Get the extra money buy trimming spending in other areas. Stop going out to dinner so often; reconsider getting your hair highlighted every month. Look around for areas that could use a little trimming and put that new found money towards the debt.

2.) Create a Budget
Go through your monthly expenses. Learn where your money is going. Aside from bills and food see what you are spending money on. Inevitable you will find that you are spending a lot on something that is not really necessary. Down grade the cable or dine at less expensive restaurants. Sometimes it is as simple as skipping the daily cappuccino. Think about it. A cappuccino runs about $4. That means you are spending $20 each work week on a coffee drink and that money will really add up over time. Within a year you would spend $1040 on that cappuccino.

Once you learn what your spending money on and you trim away all the extras, you can create an accurate budget and stick to it. You should know how much your bills are, an estimate for a month’s worth of groceries, gas, or anything that you are routinely purchase. Also add in some flex money. Budget a certain amount to go to miscellaneous items - like a cappuccino when you are having a bad day. Do not forget to budget extra money for gifts during the holiday season.

3.) Save Money where You Can
Clip coupons to save a little on the groceries. The Sunday paper is the one with the best coupons. Clip out the ones you will use and take them the next time you load up on groceries.

Also, if you are going to be making a major purchase on computer, TV or other high priced item, do yourself a favor and check the prices. I try to check at least 3 different places to see who has the best price. If you do not need to get the item right now, watch for sales and then pick up your item when it is at its lowest price.

For those that live in states that have a deposit on pop cans, it is worth while to return your cans. When I lived in Michigan I would collect my cans until I had at least two large trash bags full. I always came out with at least $10. That money would have been lost if I just threw the cans away. So save the planet from pollution and get a little extra money for yourself.

Implementing all or one of these steps will help anyone find a little extra cash. Be sure to put it to good use. Spend it on the new costs of baby food and diapers. When things settle down and you are not spending so much on baby necessities, set all extra money aside and work on building up your savings. It will come in handy if there is an emergency. It can also serve as a down payment on a car or house.

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