Written by: Rebecca Campbell, MA
Understanding finances when raising a baby can be difficult, but with a good plan of action and resources to assist you, it is not impossible. When you have a new baby you will have additional financial obligations to consider such as diapers, wipes, formula, medical appointment/medication costs, clothes, childcare, and more. You will also need to take into account all of the current financial obligations you currently have including basic living expenses and debt. By making a detailed budget of your financial goals, current income, and expenses, you can help reduce any potential stress related to finances.
Unfortunately, stress has been identified as a common trigger which could potentially lead to relapse. Our hope is, with the right resources, informational blogs, and website learning portal, we can assist in stress reduction and keep you moving towards your financial goals.
Identifying your Goals and Developing a Budget
The first step in creating a financial plan is to identify what your financial goals are and write them down. Do you want to pay off all your debt? Do you want to build your savings? Do you want to save for something specific? Or, maybe you want to do a combination all of these things. Once you have your goals in place, you will need to list all of your debt and expenses. Writing down debt and expenses is crucial to any financial plan. If you only have an estimate in your head, it is easy to overlook expenses which then leads to financial surprises. After you have categorized your expenses and debt, the next step is to classify your income. This will allow you to look at how you pay your bills and cover your expenses each month. One good resource that can be utilize in Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. This organization not only has templates to utilize, but a lot of informational resources meant to guide you through financial questions you may have.
Resources for Finances Concerning your new Baby
When looking at all of the financial planning that come with a new baby, it can cause any mom’s head to spin, but the best way to prepare is to link to resources. Resources aimed specifically at finances and children are not always readily identified, but a good way to locate them is to join a mom group on social media. Social media groups can identify if there are clothing closets, food pantries, local assistance for childcare, and more available in your area. For example, I found local mom groups that I can sign up for a free new mom package on Similac.com and Enfamil.com which come with samples and up to one year of coupons/checks for their formula. Coupons can be a huge money saver! Other great resources are pregnancy resource centers. The centers have lists of the assistance available to you in your area and can provide guidance you may need on a variety of motherhood topics.
No matter what your financial goals are, there is assistance out there to help you; the key is to link to the right people and resources.
There are a variety of templates available online for developing financial goals, creating a budget, and identifying debt to fit your needs. You can use a paper format or available apps. If you need assistance to identify templates, developing a budget, or with financial issues, contact the WV IMPACT Education/Employment Specialist.
Campbell graduated with a BS in psychology and a MA in Human Services Counseling. She has thirteen years’ experience working in the social services field providing various levels of case management and counseling as needed, in areas including, but not limited to housing, mental health, substance use, basic needs, medical treatment, transportation, all services to provide and increase in quality of life.