In LearnVest‘s “Baby Debt Diaries: 3 Tales of New Parent Sticker Shock,” families tell of how they managed their finances and admit they wished they had done more financial planning and saved more money. None of the families had children with extremely serious medical conditions but all found that the medical costs were more than they could have imagined. And each family found out how quickly being unprepared for baby expenses could land one in debt.
- One couple that had a surprise pregnancy was even more shocked at the medical costs they incurred with their high-deductible insurance plan.
- A woman who felt that she and her husband were doing well financially didn’t think they needed to save that much for a baby and found out that she was wrong.
- One woman, who divorced after spending a lot of money and effort to conceive, found herself unexpectedly pregnant after a brief relationship, and realized her new temp job wasn’t enough to pay the bills.
Each family had to find ways to trim their budgets (or make one). Even with help from family and some good luck, these families that hadn’t dealt with debt before baby found they had to find ways to meet expenses and reduce debt.
LearnVest cautions people who have yet to have babies, “If you’re planning to start a family of your own someday, it’s smart to start getting your finances in order—pronto.”
Save. Cut back on dining out and having fun before you have a baby. One couple had to re-examine and re-trim their entertainment budget twice. And the woman who thought there was no need to save had to return to work from maternity leave three weeks earlier than planned.
Define Essentials. When you’re expecting and get added to a few mailing lists or peruse websites and magazines, you are inundated with lists of “essentials” as well as tempted by just how adorable everything looks. Figure out what you really need and see what you can get that is gently used but safe.
You don’t have to bring home a new baby and new debt.