Are you and your partner thinking about having a baby? The first things that come to mind likely include organizing a registry, planning a baby shower, prepping your nursery, and purchasing clothes for your new bundle of joy.
Yet, some of the most important things you can do to prepare for a child are things you may not think about right away – like planning for transportation, childcare, and educational needs.
Not sure how to get started? Here are some simple tips to guide you in the right direction as you rework your budget to provide the best possible future for your family.
Trade in Your Car for a Family-Friendly Model
Growing your family may mean trading in your old car for a new, more family-friendly vehicle that has the space, safety features, and rear-seat visibility you need. Here are just a few things to think about as you shop around for a new ride.
- Number of passengers: How many passengers can the vehicle handle? Does it give everyone adequate legroom and space?
- Safety: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) release their top picks for the safest vehicles each year, so you might want to consider which vehicles rank the highest in safety according to their ratings.
- Storage capacity: Babies and kids require a lot of stuff, from strollers and toys to diapers and extra clothes. When shopping for a vehicle, make sure to find one that has enough storage for everyone’s items. You may also want to consider available space for diaper changing on the go!
- Rear seat room: Does the rear seating area have enough space for a car seat without having to significantly adjust the front seats? How easily can you get the car seat into and out of the vehicle? Planning for these considerations can help prevent a lot of headaches in the future when traveling with your child.
Research Affordable Childcare Options
Childcare is one of the highest monthly expenses for families, often ahead of other necessities like food and housing. Take some time to research potential options that can help reduce your childcare costs. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Investigate financial assistance programs: There are a number of programs that can reduce or even cover your childcare costs, from government programs and tax credits to before- and after-school care.
- Enlist the help of family and friends: If you live near family or friends, you can potentially offset the cost of childcare by enlisting their help. Just be sure to maintain an open line of communication – it’s crucial to make sure you’re always on the same page regarding hours, any expected compensation, parenting philosophies, and special care considerations your child requires.
- Join a babysitting co-op: If you have a close-knit neighborhood or group of friends with children of similar ages, you might be able to join a babysitting co-op where your family can exchange babysitting services with other families.
- Become a stay-at-home parent: As you go through your budget, you may discover that you or your partner can be a stay-at-home parent. You might also find a side hustle you can do from home and work when you’re not caring for your child.
- Research discounts: If your employer has on-site childcare, you may be able to enroll your child at a reduced cost. Or, if you’re planning on having more than one child, some centers will offer a multi-child discount.
Explore Education Savings Account Options
Education can be a significant expense throughout the course of your child’s lifetime, and it’s never too early to start preparing for it financially. There are many options to help you save for your child’s educational expenses.
If you’re planning for private K-12 education or college, a Coverdell ESA is an investment account that provides tax benefits and can start making your money work for you. Compared to a 529 savings plan, a Coverdell investment lets you use your savings on elementary and secondary education, in addition to postsecondary.
Once your child is born, starting small and saving just a little bit every month can open doors for their future. If your income increases as your child grows, think about adding more to the account each month.
Finance Your Auto Loans with PSECU
If buying a more family-friendly new or used vehicle is one of the priorities on your list of things to do before your new addition arrives, remember that it’s important to secure a monthly payment you can afford. Getting approved for an auto loan from PSECU is a quick way to finance a vehicle that’s ready to take you on life’s journey. Once you’ve found the payment that makes sense for your budget and apply online, you can receive a quick loan decision, often in minutes.
Our loans make financing your auto purchase as smooth as possible. With low rates, flexible terms, and no-hassle financing, you can focus on what’s important to you while we take care of the rest. Learn more about our auto loan options today.