With the impending arrival of a little one, many families are concerned about how they are going to deal with maternity leave and the loss of one income for a certain amount of time. But going on maternity leave doesn’t mean that accruing debt is the only option.
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There are lots of ways to try to prepare for the additional expenses and save money along the way. Here are some options for staying away from debt while still taking care of all the usual expenses that come with a new baby.
Create A Plan Well In Advance
While many mothers have a set plan in place before the birth of a child, most find that things change a lot when the contractions start to take over. This doesn’t mean that the plan was a waste; it just means that there should be some flexibility. In the same way, it helps to plan well in advance for the lack of income that is going to take place with maternity leave.
Don’t wait until there is no income to start figuring out how the next few weeks or months are going to work out. Many of the following tips can be implemented now, making the entire process easier for the parents to be.
Families have lots of time before the arrival of the baby to start getting ready. One of the best things to do is set aside money that will be used during the maternity leave. Putting away a little each month will take some of the financial strain off the family later on down the road. Some couples begin to practice living on just one income, saving the other person’s paychecks for later. This helps a family to understand what life will look like with a limited income and encourage them to save.
If saving seems like too much of a challenge, consider trying to put away $20 a week. This money will really come in handy in the future and tends to be a manageable savings goal for most families.
Look For Deals And Discounts
The list of items that a child needs can be overwhelming. Diapers alone can put serious fear into new parents. But it makes sense to start looking at current deals available and maybe even buying some to stash away in the closet. Looking for deals before the baby comes will help make it easier to spot a great sale price when items like diapers are really needed. Join any clubs or groups associated with stores that give additional discounts to new parents.
This is a great source of coupons and free samples that can be really helpful. It also gives you a chance to try new products for free to see which ones you like best.
Consider Using Coupons
Today, using coupons is easier than ever. Instead of searching through the local paper, many companies offer to place digital coupons on a club card. Others can be printed out at home. Print only the coupons that are needed, and use them to get deals on groceries, personal care items, and even baby care items. Coupons are like cash. When you use them, you are saving money, making it easier to re-purpose the cash for things like bills.
Consider A Type Of Good Debt
Credit cards can serve a helpful purpose during maternity leave. Some retailers offer credit cards that are specially designed for new parents. They may offer a discount on common purchases that new parents make. At the same time, they may come with reward points that can be used in the store for other items that a new family needs. Look into the cards, read the fine print, and see if applying makes sense. Sometimes, putting all of the bills on a credit card and paying it off right away can result in a lot of points, which in turn mean a lot of free items.
Look For Second-Hand Items
It’s amazing the speed at which a baby grows. Many only use certain items for a matter of weeks or months before they are no longer useful. Because of this, there are lots of second-hand items available that look brand new or have hardly been used. Start looking for ways to save money by shopping second-hand. The money saved can be tucked away for the maternity leave, helping to make things easier when that day comes.
If there isn’t a second-hand store nearby, consider joining some local parenting groups or local online groups. They often have a way for members to advertise different items they are selling. At the same time, when you are done with something, consider selling it to a new parent looking for a deal.
Consider Online Shopping
Once the baby is born, getting out of the house can be a challenge. Most new moms aren’t interested in walking up and down the aisle of a grocery store with a newborn. Instead, consider shopping online. It’s easy to pick out the items that are needed and still take advantage of the deals. Some stores, for a small fee, will offer delivery. Others make it possible for customers to pull up near the store so that their groceries can be loaded into the car. In addition to saving money, this prevents spending all day out running errands as well as eating out for lunch.
Look For Inexpensive Entertainment
It’s no secret that having a baby is going to be a life-changing experience. Gone are the days of fine dining and movies every weekend. Instead, many new parents struggle to figure out how to enjoy themselves during this transitional point in their lives. The good news is that you can still have a great time with a newborn, and it doesn’t need to cost a lot. Make small adjustments for big savings. Instead of heading to a movie theater, consider streaming a movie. Instead of meeting up with friends for drinks, head to the park to walk around to enjoy the sunshine and get out of the house.
Ask For Help If You Need It
Most of the time, when a new child is born, everyone is willing to help out in a variety of different ways. If things are looking bleak financially, consider asking for help. While this can be awkward and uncomfortable, it usually isn’t as uncomfortable as going into debt in order to get through the maternity leave. If asking for money is out of the question, consider saying yes to some of the many offers that new parents get. For example, when someone offers to make a meal and bring it by, say yes.
This is one meal that a family doesn’t need to pay for, saving a little bit of money. If someone offers to pick up a pack of diapers on the way over to see the new baby, go ahead and say yes. These little kindnesses quickly add up.