Raising a child comes with expenses and commitments. Trying to make your budget work to care for a new baby can be a challenge. But there are ways to make it work — even if money is tight.
Here are 7 ways to save money that can help you make ends meet with your growing family:
- Open a savings account if you don’t already have one. DO NOT attach your debit card to this account. You can still access the money if you need it for an emergency, but it’s not quite so convenient so it’s easier to save.
- Create a budget – and live by it. Plan to put something into your savings account every month, even if it’s only $10 or $20. Aim to save $1,000 for emergencies.
- When you have an emergency, don’t put it on your credit card. Instead, use money you have saved.
- Limit the number of times you eat out every month. It’s amazing how much money you can save by buying food at the grocery store and cooking your own meals. These meals can be simple and don’t need to take a lot of time. Eating at home for most meals is one of the easiest ways to save a lot of money quickly. When you go to the grocery store, have your shopping list and stick to it. Be sure you’ve eaten before you go shopping so you’re less tempted to pick up extra items because you’re ready for a snack.
- Understand the difference between your needs and your wants. Keep this in mind when you make your budget and when you go shopping. Be sure to reserve money for rent, utilities, food and diapers. Don’t buy that adorable baby outfit, pick up that cute pair of shoes or get your hair done unless you have all that you and your baby need taken care of first.
- Be aware of your credit score. Run your own credit rating and see what it says. Look for debts that are not yours and file a fraud claim if needed. (The collection agency will walk you through how to do this.)
- Accept the resources that are available to you such as WIC, Foodshare or local food pantries. There is no shame in making use of community resources. Consider ways you can also give back to your community, especially as your resources grow.
Saving money to raise a child on a budget may mean making some short-term sacrifices. However, the benefits in the long run are invaluable:
- Your budget frees you to spend money where you have already decided you want to spend it. It’s a spending plan. Don’t be afraid to spend what you’ve already budgeted.
- When you live within your budget and save a little money each month you will become financially stable. Then you will be able to provide for yourself and your baby.
- Being aware of your credit score, getting rid of fraudulent debts and paying your bills on time will make your life easier. It will be easier for you to get an apartment or a home in the future and to handle life’s emergencies.