How to prepare for a baby financially.

Starting a family can be expensive. These money-saving tips will show you how to avoid unnecessary spending, while helping you financially plan for your baby’s future.

A couple sitting on the couch with their new baby.

Three money-saving tips for expecting parents.

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 order once the baby arrives. 

1. Reevaluate your online shopping habits.

There's a line to be drawn between convenience and indulgence. It's easy to let online retail sites feel like a second home, but this type of shopping can be too easy. When you go online to purchase an 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 in 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 need one."

2. Leave your credit card at home.

Once you start going outside with your child and interacting with the world, other spending traps await. 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 can help nip this reckless routine. Unless you need to buy groceries or a specific item, try to get outside with your child without making purchases. When you can't buy anything, you will stop gravitating toward stores and start enjoying strolling through the park with your baby. The best things in life really are free. 

A young couple sitting at the table reviewing paperwork with their baby.

3. Splurge and save money for your baby’s future.

It’s important as new parents to take some time for yourselves. Plan a night out or a short getaway if possible. But try to avoid booking last-minute flights for twice the price, and be financially responsible with your relaxation breaks as first-time parents.  

A savings strategy can be both motivating and mentally satisfying. 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 need one. 

It’s also never too early to consider a college savings account like a 529 plan for your child. Starting a savings plan before having children or when you're expecting can give you a head start on your baby’s future.  

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Want to learn more about how to financially prepare for a baby?

A New York Life financial professional can help determine what’s right for you.