There’s nothing quite like being a parent.
And no matter how much you prepare for the arrival of your little one, parenting quickly becomes a trial by fire that’s stressful but worthwhile in the long-run.
While most new parents are happy to take on the challenge, it’s only natural for some to have their doubts.
This is especially true for parents who find themselves struggling financially.
For starters, bear in mind that financial troubles do not mean that you’re off to a poor start as a parent. Likewise, it’s more than possible to provide a happy, healthy environment for your baby even if you’re stuck on a tight budget.
It’s all about perspective.
Oh, and finding some serious ways to keep more money in your pocket.
That’s why we put together this list of seven tips to help get your finances in order despite the craziness of raising a new child. No matter what your current financial situation might be, these tips can help ease you into a reality where your money troubles won’t mount as much.
Become a Bargain Hunter
The first step to saving money is simply being more vigilant about where and how you shop.
For starters, knowing where you can automatically score discounts is a good starting point. Being part of rewards and email loyalty programs is a must-do, granted you aren’t getting sucked into a bunch of BOGO deals or low-ticket coupons. Instead, you should focus on steeper, dollar-off discounts with no minimum purchase.
Also consider that you might qualify for shopping discounts based on your profession, granted you’re willing to ask for them! Former military? Teacher? Nurse? Keep in mind that there are 130 military discounts available as of 2018, meaning you can very well prioritize where you spend your money based on where you’ll save.
Rethink Your Kiddo’s Clothes
Baby clothes can quickly drain your budget if you’re not careful. This is especially true when they’re experiencing growth spurts and what seemed to fit one week is snug the next.
There’s absolutely no shame in shopping at second-hand stores or asking for outfits from friends and family. After all, babies outgrow clothes fast. Many parents are more than willing to share their child’s old clothing to help get more mileage out of it.
Perhaps the most important aspect of buying the right baby clothes is sizing up. If something is a bit snug, simply move on to the next option regardless of whether or not the number is “right.” It’s better to allow your baby some breathing and growing room rather than buy an outfit that’s going to be ready to donate within a week.
Ditch Your Car Payment
This tip might not be possible for some families, but think about how gas and insurance payments can put a damper on your spending. If nothing else, trading in a second vehicle for a used, fuel-efficient model that’s paid off makes perfect sense for stay-at-home parents who aren’t commuting regularly.
Get in a Good Rewards Program
Spending money to make money.
Sounds like a dream come true, right?
Given that you already have to spend on the likes of formula and diapers, why not get the most bang for your buck with the help of rewards card? Cash back can quickly accumulate if you can find the right program.
Right now, the best credit cards for rewards come from the likes of Capital One and Discover. Just make sure you’re not making your financial problems worse by running your cards up.
Take Time to Declutter
This might not seem like a financial tip, but getting conducting a proper clean-up can really help you understand “wants” versus “needs” when it comes to your possessions. Not only that, but you might find items worthy of a garage sale or Craigslist which could score you some extra cash.
Buy Food in Bulk
Many new parents fall into the trap of relying on fast food which spells bad news for both your wallet and your waistline.
If time and money are tight, buying food in bulk from warehouse stores like Costco or Sam’s Club flat out makes sense. The initial membership fees pay for themselves within a visit or two. Also, such stores afford you the opportunity to only have to go shopping once or twice a month versus making regular trips to the grocery store.
From snacks and formula to diapers and toiletries, there are tons of Costco bargains for new parents that can save you some serious change.
Plan for the Future Today
On a final note, it’s important to keep things in perspective when it comes to your financial situation as a parent. Just because you’re struggling now doesn’t mean it has to be this way forever.
Planning for a career change means playing the long-game. Either you or your partner should start putting together a sort of long-term plan to figure out how you can earn more money in a way that’s healthy or realistic. That might mean getting a bit of experience or going back to school: either way, you can make it happen if you take it slow.
Nothing is easy about being a new parent, especially when you constantly feel strapped for cash. Of course, the upsides vastly outweigh the negatives when you consider the precious time you get to spend with your new bundle of joy. By knowing how to better budget and manage your money, you can do so with a sense of security and peace of mind.