Having a first – or subsequent – child is the start of many happy years as a growing family. A whole new world opens up, and parenthood is perhaps life’s most rewarding experience. At the same time, it is not without its stresses and anxieties, not the least of which is the family finances. Having a child also gives rise to many new (and sometimes unexpected) expenses and while no-one would ever begrudge a cent they spend on their child, a growing family does mean that you’ll need to look at again at budgets and costs, and perhaps make some adjustments.
Costs can be disproportionately high for a first child – items such as cots and prams can of course be used again in the future for younger siblings. The costs of raising a child also vary in type and amount depending on their age, and it’s as well as to start planning ahead when it comes to the big-ticket items like school fees.
Five ways to adjust your expenses for your expanding family:
Save for a rainy day (at university)
Get your kids into the saving habit early by setting up an account in their name for future education expenses. Start with any cash gifts you may receive when your child is born, and add more over time. Education is the most important gift that you can give your child, and this is a great way to help cover those costs.
Choose the medical aid provider and plan that best matches the circumstances and needs of your family. The level and type of cover that worked well for you as a young couple may need to be adjusted now that there are three or four of you in the family.
Your medical aid scheme should be very well-placed to advise you on the changes to your policy or products that you will need to make to accommodate and take care of family, now and into the future. You’ve got the parenting covered; make sure possible medical expenses are, too.
Don’t buy things twice
Clothes and toys used by your firstborn child can have a new lease of life when their younger brother or sister comes along. Very young children certainly won’t mind, and you can save a small fortune.
Especially for more expensive items like buggies and cots, be sure to research prices online as well as in stores. You’ll often find much better bargains online, especially if you’re prepared to buy last year’s models.
And sell online too
There is of course a huge network of parents who are active on social media. Facebook parenting groups can be a great way to meet people like yourselves, get handy tips, but also to sell on items that you no longer need (and then invest any money you make in your child’s education fund). You can also sell items on OLX or Gumtree.
Planning in parenthood is essential and can be easier than one thinks.