Finances and Other Basics Article

Stretching Your Budget










Figuring on the new costs and reduced income, coupled with a tenuous job market, could cause you to wake up at three a.m. in a sweat. Financial worries are an inescapable fact for most fathers.

Being a father is a commitment for life. The biggest one you'll make. You can say this, and agree with this, but it isn't real until you've had your own child for a while.
- Veteran Dad

The average cost of raising a child to age 18 is about $180,000. But there are many things you can do to keep your budget from becoming a runaway train:

  • Talk with your partner about your concerns and map out a plan to stretch the dollars after the baby is born. Do it now, as it will be very difficult to find the time, energy and emotional focus to do it afterwards.
  • Make sure you have health insurance. If your employer doesn't provide it and you cannot afford to insure your child, there are public programs that will help. Ask the hospital for  information.
  • Buy baby furniture second-hand, or borrow it. There are a great number of stores that recycle baby items - from clothing to strollers and car seats to cribs and playpens. Lots of it is brand new - castoffs from baby showers or duplicate gifts.
  • Buy carefully. Remember that most baby furniture and equipment outlives its usefulness after only a short while. A cradle may be obsolete in a matter of months, and while some babies never get tired of their swings and floor gyms, many never take to cradles at all (why the second-hand stores are so full of nearly new items).
  • Mail out baby announcements to everyone you can think of. Many will want to send gifts, gift certificates or money. Make sure you have registered at a baby store or big department store so people will be able to get you what you want and need.
  • Register with online sites, such as Babycenter.com and you'll not only get great information, you'll also get coupons and discounts on baby stuff.

Get as much done as you can ahead of time. Getting the baby's room together and other stuff takes a lot out of you. A big mistake we made was not buying the mini-van before the baby was born.

I tell you - going around on weekends with a newborn and talking to salesman - it's something you really don't want to go through. Get things done early so you can spend more time with your baby.
- Veteran Dad

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