How to prepare your credit and finances when having a baby

Welcoming a child into the world can be an exciting time in one’s life. From designing the nursery to building your child’s first crib, having a kid can be a wondrous event. But stocking up on all those diapers and baby clothes can begin to take its toll on your bank account. Along with making everything in your home safe for your newborn, you should consider getting your finances in order before the baby arrives.

You may find yourself relying on credit cards when it comes time to stock up on diapers and baby food, and a weak credit score may make this more difficult. However, creating a detailed financial game plan beforehand will make this process as smooth as possible.

Check out your credit standing

Before the new member of the family arrives, your first step should be to take a quick glance at the state of your credit. Having a child tends to be expensive and having bad credit will only make the situation tougher. Begin by running a credit report, which will tell you about your credit history. This report will detail your past credit activity as well as your credit score. Looking at your credit history can help you improve your credit habits which will then boost your score. A credit report is easy to obtain, and a great jumping-off point for addressing any credit issues.

Save as much as possible

Once you have investigated your credit score and history, it is time to begin saving. Providing for a child can be on the expensive side so it is smart to put as much money aside as possible in the months and year leading up to a new baby. Also, consider unforeseen expenses. You may miss a paycheck due to maternity leave or the delivery room charge might be more than you expected. There can be many abrupt expenses that will likely come your way, and saving now will help ensure you will be able to handle them.

Tax credits

Although your expenses will be increasing, there are certain tax credits that can help you out. The Child Tax Credit can provide as much as $1,000 per child per year depending on your income range. This amount can make all the difference when you are tightening up your finances.

Health Coverage

The safety and well-being of your approaching child is something you should plan for. Having a good health plan can make sure you have a lively child. Reviewing your benefits can better prepare you for how much you will have to pay out of pocket for standard and unexpected medical situations. In some instances, health plans will not cover pre-natal care, maternal care or even the delivery. Review your health coverage and see what it will deal with. It is better to know beforehand what won’t be paid for as opposed to finding out in the delivery room.

As you make sure that your health insurance is primed to go, be sure to check out any disability or life insurance provisions. If an employer does not offer disability, you are able to get it independently.

Create a budget

Going shopping for cribs and baby clothes may seem like an exciting activity, but going overboard will significantly impact your wallet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that a medium-income family will spend more than $165,000 raising a child through the age of 18. A simple way tighten up your expenses is to create a budget as well as a financial calendar. Setting up times when you can afford to buy certain items will help you in the long run. It would be smart to buy a crib right away, for example, but purchasing a stroller can wait.

Plan for the future

It will be a few years before your little one starts school, but saving for college is always a good idea. College tuition tends to be expensive so any extra money should be stored away for schooling. Saving now for their education will benefit you in the long haul.

As you welcome a child into the world, remember to keep your finances in order. A good credit score makes all the difference in your financial health. Keep an eye out for it and make sure you have enough money to provide for your bundle of joy.

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