When you've got a newborn attached to your body 24/7, the adults-only experiences can become almost non-existent. The upside to being housebound with a baby is that you spend so much less money on social activities. The downside is that you may spend too much money ordering in food if you're not careful. Mindless spending, whether from fatigue, boredom, or lack of planning, can be one of the most expensive parts of being a new parent. Here are three tips to keep your finances in check once the baby arrives.
- Reevaluate your online shopping habit.
There's a line to be drawn between convenience and indulgence. It's easy to let online retail sites feel like a second home—this type of shopping is just too easy. So fast! And so expensive if you're not careful. When you go online to purchase one item you need, avoid checking out with two or three (or ten) others you don't need. One of the best ways to avoid the over-purchasing trap is to make a list of what you really need—whether it's clothes for yourself or your baby, food, or something for your home—and decide what's most convenient to buy online. For the rest, get out there and hit the pavement. You're much more likely to stick to your list when you're in a store that doesn't sell everything. The fresh air and adventures to new places will also do a lot for you and your baby.
"In addition to your regular savings accounts, consider opening a separate account to deposit a nominal amount every week that will allow you to splurge on a reward of some sort when you're in need."
- Leave your credit card at home.
If you're able to develop a habit of getting outside with your child and interacting with the world (something easier said than done when you're a new parent), be warned: another spending trap awaits. Being a new parent changes your entire lifestyle and can feel like the most tiring job you'll ever have. A dependent child and sleep deprivation can lead to buying things you don't need or even want, just because they're there. Leaving your credit card at home sometimes can help nip this reckless routine. Unless going to buy groceries or a specific item you needed, make an effort to get outside with your child and not make purchases. When you can't buy anything, you stop gravitating towards stores and start enjoying strolling the park with your baby. The best things in life really are free.
- Save up to splurge.
After a few months of steady, non-stop parenting, you're going to need a break. A real break that involves a night out with dry-clean only clothing, or, if you're lucky, a few days away somewhere fun. You deserve it. But plan ahead to avoid booking last-minute flights for twice the price—and be financially responsible with your relaxation breaks as a new parent. In addition to your regular savings accounts, consider opening a separate account to deposit a nominal amount every week that will allow you to splurge on a reward of some sort when you're in need. This savings strategy can be both motivating and mentally satisfying. Starting a plan like this before having kids or when you're expecting will have you rewarding yourself for your hard work as a parent in no time.