Are your finances keeping you up at night?
Being a parent for the first time is an incredible and eye-opening experience. Not only do you get to watch your bub grow before your eyes, but you’re able to nurture this new life that you’ve created.
For all the joys that being a new parent brings, there’s equal amounts of responsibility. It’s easy to be surprised by unexpected costs which can leave you concerned about your financial situation.
Fortunately, there are some tips that you can follow to educate yourself financially so you can sleep like a …, well, like a baby.
Save on baby items
If it’s the unexpected costs of baby items that’s stopping you from getting your 8 hours sleep, there’s a few different methods that will help you stay on top of your finances.
While nappies are definitely an essential – there’s a few methods we can use to save your hard-earned dollars. Stock up on your nappies in bulk or when they are on sale. It’s almost always cheaper to buy in larger quantities, so have a shop around to find a deal that works for you.
Only use products if manufacturer’s instructions are provided.It’s important to make sure your baby’s car seat is as safe as possible, however the more expensive doesn’t necessarily equal safer. Look for seats with a High CREP (Child Restraint Evaluation Program) rating. You may be able to find one second-hand or on sale if you shop around. If you do opt to buy a second-hand car seat be mindful of safety considerations. The Infant & Nursery Products Association of Australia (INPAA) have published safety tips and guidelines for second-hand products:
- Never use damaged products.
- Never use second-hand car restraints unless you can be certain of the product’s history.
- Car restraints that have been involved in an accident should never be used as the product may have structural damage that is difficult to identify.
Your little one is not going to care if they have the latest and greatest in newborn toys. Consider looking at op shops or purchasing second-hand.
While a good baby cot is essential, a top of the line expensive one isn’t. Look for a second-hand one or if you’re lucky, inheriting one from family or friends which is no longer needed. If you do opt to buy a second-hand cot, INPAA’s guidelines are to:
- Only use products if manufacturer’s instructions are provided.
- Never use a cot that is older than 10 years. Safety standards cannot be guaranteed for cots older than this.
Set Financial Goals
It’s important to set financial goals for ourselves.
There’s no blanket rule with newborns and financial goals. Everyone’s situation is different so everyone’s goals will be different. Whether it’s eliminating debt, building an emergency baby fund or even saving up for a holiday, setting clear and achievable objectives will help you get there.
So how do you achieve these goals?
Set a plan and stick to it.
Are you trying to eliminate debt? Make sure your debt is consolidated, put a payment plan in place and always consider paying down any debt with the highest interest rate first to save on interest expenses.
Putting together an emergency baby fund? Create a dedicated savings account and set up a direct debit to align with your paycheck.
As we mentioned, there’s no set plan to follow as everyone is different. The secret is being consistent and disciplined in reaching your financial goals.
Cut back on costs
With a new bub to look after it’s not uncommon to feel a bit of strain on your financial situation.
If this resonates with you then it might be a good opportunity to look at cutting back on some costs. Westpac’s financial education specialists, the Davidson Institute team have created a cost-cutting checklist which provides some helpful options to save some of your dollars.
The checklist covers things like;
- Prioritising debt reduction
- Creating a weekly meal plan
- Minimising home energy usage
- Reviewing subscription services (Netflix, etc.)
We’re fortunate enough to live in Australia where financial support is available to eligible families. A common assistance package that everyone should be taking advantage of is parental leave, including maternity leave. This is a government initiative which provides payments to parents who’ve just given birth or adopted a child.
Some other assistance packages include:
More information about these packages can be found on the Services Australia site.
The Davidson Institute - Financial Education Course for New Parents
While these are all helpful tips to help get on top of your finances, there’s a lot more you can be doing. Luckily, our friends at Westpac’s Davidson Institute have created a financial education program for new parents that will have you sleeping soundly.
This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice. ©Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714.