People say that when you have a baby, everything changes – and this is certainly true when it comes to your finances. Whether you’re feeling prepared financially or you’re just winging it, here are some tips to point you in the right direction.
Change Your Withholdings
When you have a baby your tax status changes. You’ll likely see a healthy bump with your tax return if you had your withholdings set up correctly in the first place. If you continue to have 0 as a withholding, for example, your paycheck will be lower, and you may have a bigger tax return at the end of the year. Go through your W-4 again and make sure it reflects the correct number of withholdings. Consult your tax advisor for guidance and specifics.
Update Your Budget for Baby Related Expenses
With babies come new expenses. The typical baby will go through about 3,000 diapers in the first year. If you use sales and coupons, a good price for a diaper is between $.08 and $.12. On the higher end, that means you’ll spend around $350 per year on diapers. In the first year, you’ll also likely have the expense of wipes and diaper cream. Shop around and consider signing up for the groups like the Amazon Family discount, it’s a great way to save some money on baby-related products. There are several other discount groups so search around.
Add Your Baby to Your Health Insurance
Having a baby is considered a “qualifying event,” which means you won’t have to wait for the enrollment period to add your baby to your health insurance. Most health insurance companies require you to add your baby to your medical insurance within 30 days of their birth.
Figure out Daycare Early and Plan for the Cost
Many high-quality childcare centers fill up quickly and have waiting lists. Start scouting out daycares early. Some daycares don’t accept children under a certain age, which make them much more challenging to get your child into.
Also, be prepared for the price tag. Childcare in Whatcom County is among the least affordable in the state of Washington, according to a report from Child Care Aware Washington. A family with a median income of $57,291 will spend 36.8% of its income to put an infant and a preschooler in a licensed family childcare center in Whatcom County.
Open a College Savings Account
Start early saving for your child’s college education. If you save $100 a month for 18 years, you’ll save a total of $21,600. While this won’t touch the high cost of higher education that exists today, you’ll certainly get them started.