A month or so ago I posted a few tips about preparing your body for a baby. All of those suggestions are still very important and beneficial, but there are other important things to consider when you’re preparing for a baby. I guess most people would think, “yeah, that’s commons sense”, but believe it or not there might be a few things that you’re actually missing. Planning for a baby is very possible, but it’s very important to keep an open mind and be open to your plans taking major setbacks. Here are a few necessities that you and your spouse will need to parent successfully:
1. A Home – having a place to call your own is important when having a baby. It’s not impossible to live with a family member or friend while you are raising your child, but having a safe, clean, and nurturing environment is always the best provision that you and your spouse should make before becoming pregnant. Your home is what you make it out to be! A home can be an apartment, house, or mobile trailer. As long as there is love, safety, and a clean environment, your family will thrive. Joyce Meyer said it best, “Don’t ignore your family trying to work 2 and 3 jobs just so you can have a bigger house.” All houses will decay, so focus on making where you live a happy home for your family.
2. Income – Babies, children, omg…just life, in general, comes with so many expenses. It’s possible to save for an expecting pregnancy, but sometimes those saved funds will vanish faster than expected, considering the curve balls that occur in all of our lives. Having a steady income will assist for those unsuspecting mishaps. Considering being a stay at home mom? It’s totally possible. Discuss your expectations with your spouse before leaving your job and definitely before your baby is born. You don’t have to make a fortune on your job, but you do need to really think about the lifestyle that you currently live, and add the expenses of another life into that equation. Babies will always need things and as their parent, you will always want them to have things; some of those things will not be necessities. Some will just be things that you want to provide as a luxury. A steady income will make this possible.
3. A Budget – I know that most people don’t like the idea of living on a budget, so let’s rephrase it by saying “live within YOUR means”. You and your spouse should both know how much each other brings to the financial side of the relationship. Babies will have many expenses, but that doesn’t mean that life stops for you as a person. It’s important to financially plan monthly with your spouse. Some of the areas that you may want to consider having a budget for are Entertainment, Shopping, Vacation, and Miscellaneous. These three categories are separate from the expected budget which will always include necessities such as Mortgage/Rent, Medical, Insurance, Car Expenses, Food/Toiletries, Utilities/Bills/Debts. Don’t be fooled. Living on a budget isn’t something that poor people do, it’s something that smart people do.
4. A Savings – Having a savings kind of goes hand in hand with having a budget. Both make life easy and allows you accessibility to extra income when it’s necessary. My husband and I pay our tithe first, ourselves second, and thirdly we add to our savings. After we’ve completed those three steps we pay our expenses. The mortgage is paid first, followed by utilities, household needs, etc. I’m not saying that you must follow our order, but to not have some form of order will surely set your household up for financial failures. It also helps for you and your spouse to determine the amount that you will put into your savings either weekly or monthly. Having a savings isn’t hard to do. You can start with as little as $25 a week or a month. According to practical money skills.com, a 2015 Visa survey states that the average American spends approximately ” $3,000 a year on lunch. If you are a member of this demographic, you can definitely set aside a little money for savings.
5. Safe Transportation – Your baby won’t be allowed to drive for another 15 years, but you surely will have to drive them around. Prenatal and postnatal appointments are extremely important for mommy and baby and shouldn’t be missed often. If your current form of transportation is perhaps a motorcycle, it’s definitely time to reconsider something with doors. Relying on family members is perfectly okay, but it may not always be possible for you and your family. Consider owning your own transportation before becoming pregnant. Vehicle maintenance should be placed into your budget. This includes oil/filter changes, insurance, and fuel. Insurance must be budgeted into your family’s monthly allowance because it’s illegal to drive uninsured. If full coverage is beyond your budgets allotment, search for alternatives such as liability coverage or being added to a family members coverage. If you live in a larger city and mostly rely on the subway, trolley, Uber, or a bus, you can also consider this as a reliable form of transportation. There are many baby products that will accommodate your needs while using these forms of transportation. Some of those products are lightweight strollers and stroller rain covers. There are a few non-profits in some cities that offer children transportation to doctors appointments. You have to meet certain criteria to qualify. In Alabama we have a non-profit called Kid One. Kid One provides transportation for children 18 and under to safely get to any medical appointments that they may have.
6. Health Insurance – Health insurance is a necessity for prenatal and postnatal care. Most jobs with at least 10 or more employees normally offer at least one form of medical coverage to qualifying employees. Your human resources department or supervisor should be able to assist you with information regarding available coverage on your job. While many companies offer single person coverage, having a child will require you to subscribe to family coverage. If you are self-employed or if your job doesn’t offer medical insurance, you can apply for independent coverage through various insurance companies. Some of the companies that you can opt to use are Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, and United Health . Most independent insurance plans can range from $260-900 a month. If you have to apply for health insurance independently, meaning outside of your job, make sure that you add those expenses into your monthly budget as well. Whatever type of insurance that you have remember to read the fine print, and the qualifications of coverage for pregnancy and delivery. Many types of health insurances use to consider pregnancy as a pre-existing health condition and did not have to offer coverage to expecting mothers. Thanks to the Affordable Health Care Act, this rule was abolished. However, Congress is in the process of overturning the Affordable Health Care Act. This may allow insurance companies to resume the former practice of considering pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. If so, you will want to consider another option for health insurance or delay getting pregnant. Most insurances companies that use to consider pregnancy a pre-existing condition required covered subscribers to wait 12 months before covering pregnancy. If you have a steady income and insurance is just not an affordable option for you and your spouse, check with your local Medicaid agency for possible coverage. You will have to meet certain financial criteria to qualify.
7. Life Insurance – No one will live forever. Having some form of life insurance is going to be a necessity for you, your spouse, and your baby. Having an affordable, but detailed life insurance policy will cover the cost of your funeral. It’s up to you to determine if you want to take out extra coverage that will leave your family with money to pay off any of your debts or to invest into their future. For example, if you take out a $100,000 life insurance policy, you can ask your family to use $5,000-8,000 to cover your funeral expenses. With the remaining $90,000 you can pay off or down a mortgage and open a trust for any surviving children. This is a very important topic to discuss with your spouse, which brings me to point number 8.
8. A Will – Having children is one responsibility that you will be able to handle. God will equip you with everything that you will need if you seek him first and do things in his timing and plan. However, the fact remains that you and I will not be here forever. We have to make smart provisions of the “what if’s” because they happen to people like us everyday. You want to know that your children are safe and financially taken care of in the case of your death. Make it your business to talk with your spouse about what you expect for your debts, burial plans, and children’s future after your passing.