For many people, having children and becoming a parent is the greatest joy in their life. Whether these children are biological, adopted, or come into their life through another method, there’s no denying that they bring a massive change when it comes to a person’s lifestyle. For most people, this change is good and wanted, but that doesn’t automatically make it easier. Children often come along when you least expect them, and in those cases, you might not have enough time to do everything you may want to. However, if you do decide you want children, even if it’s only a few years from now, it’s always a good idea to start preparing for them as soon as possible. Keep reading to find out how.
Try and maximise your income
Kids cost money. And they will continue to cost money for many years – likely even after they’re out of your house. At this point, you may find that your total household income each month (whether you’re the sole contributor or you have a partner who helps) may be enough to cover all the necessities, plus a bunch of luxuries . . . and still have some extra money left at the end of the month. Once you have children, this will likely not be the case.
Even if you have a decent income, it’s still a good idea to think of ways to increase that income to prepare for the arrival of a child and to cover their expenses once they arrive. The best way of doing this without working yourself to the bone is to invest. One of the most popular and effective ways of investing is to join the stock market, so if you can learn how to invest in stocks, you may be able to get a second stream of income to cover the added expenses of having a child.
Prepare for their education
Many people only start thinking about their child’s education once the time has arrived for the child to start going to school. Others may start preparing ahead and start saving up for it once the child is born. Both of these are valid options, and often the only option someone may have. However, as mentioned, if it is a possibility, you should start saving up for these things before you even have a child, simply because of how much education costs, and the fact that you may not have as much extra money once you have a child.
This is especially important if you want to have your child receive a certain quality of education, such as going to a private school, or if you want to give them the option of studying abroad once they’ve completed high school. One of the most financially draining parts of having a child is the fact that their education costs so much over their school-going years.
Have a stable home
Hopping around from place to place or moving around every few years is fine if you’re alone, or if your partner is okay with that lifestyle, but that isn’t ideal for children, especially young ones. Children need stability, and a big part of that stability comes from having a place to call home. Changing this place regularly can lead to feelings of confusion for a child. It’s also important to note that this home needs to be child-proofed, and it’s best if you do this before the child comes along, as you may not have a lot of spare time once they’re here.
Another reason for having a proper home to raise your child in is the fact that, once you have a child, a home becomes more than just a place to live – it’s a place where memories are made. For this reason, you likely want your child’s first home to be a special one. Some people may even want to build their own house if they plan on staying there for a long time.
Start stocking up on necessities
As soon as you know for sure that you will be having a child, you should start stocking up on everything a child needs. It’s not recommended to do this too far in advance, as your life may change, and also because technology changes so often; a baby stroller which is the highest technology now, might be considered unsafe in a few years. However, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to start doing this, either.
One thing everyone will tell you to stock up on is baby diapers. That’s solid advice to follow, especially once you learn how many diapers babies go through in their first year alone. You can also start stocking up on things the child may need as they grow – a good tip is to go through end-of-year sales items each year, and pick up clothes one size bigger than your child is now so that you have a fully stocked wardrobe by the time they grow out of their current clothes.
As we’ve mentioned, children are a big expense. While most people are aware of this before they have children, many people aren’t aware of just how much strain having a child can put on your finances. We’re all accustomed to a certain lifestyle, and any change in that (particularly to a less luxurious lifestyle) can be hard to adjust to. However, this is almost always unavoidable once you have a child, unless you’re earning much more than the average person.
A good idea is to do your research and talk to people about how much they spend each month when it comes to their children, and what their money is spent on – we guarantee there are expenses you haven’t thought of yet. You can then set up a budget, and start making adjustments to your monthly expenses to leave enough money for taking care of a child. This will help you see whether you are financially capable of raising a child, and it’s much better to adjust your finances before the child arrives, rather than having to do it on the fly.