7 Tips on How to Combat Financial Stress while Expecting
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Meredith Rines is a wife and mom to an always moving toddler. When she's not chasing after her little boy, she can be found helping families with their money issues. Meredith holds her Master of Business Administration degree and is currently studying for the Certified Financial Planner exam. She helps young families start learning to budget, paying down debt, and saving for the future. Meredith's goals are to help families learn how to manage their money effectively while living the life they've always wanted. If you want to learn more about Meredith check out her blog Merelynne.com or on Facebook.
Pregnancy can be such a joyous time. It’s moments filled with wonder and awe as the little one inside you begins to grow. The first time you feel your baby kick is the most amazing and strange feeling. As the days pass you begin to dream of the perfect nursery, what your days are going to look like and how you are going to give your baby everything they could ever dream of. However, as your pregnancy goes along you start to worry about the investment your new little one is going to cost. It’s not long before the financial stress sets in.
There are so many costs that you’re worried about — baby gear, hospital bills, doctor’s appointments, day care costs, maternity leave from work, new clothes, traveling to see family, and so much more. It’s no secret that financial stress can disrupt this wonderful time and can even play a huge distraction to a woman’s natural pattern. When you’re worried about money almost every area of your life is affected. You eat different, your sleep is disrupted, your attitude changes, and so much more. When you’re pregnant the financial worries seem to be a lot heavier — worried about being able to afford a new addition, worried about your home, everything you have to buy, stressed about your job that you will have to step away from while on maternity leave, and so on.
A recent study shows that expectant mothers who worry about finances are more likely to have babies with lower birth weights. It’s a scary thought and as a mother you would do anything for our little one to thrive, even when they are still developing inside of you. One of the most important things you can do while pregnant is get a handle on all your financial stress. Here are seven great tips to help you combat the financial stress while pregnant:
1. Get Comfortable With Your Finances.
Spend time creating a budget that works for your family. When you have a financial plan, a lot of weight can be lifted from your shoulders. Creating a budget doesn’t have to be complicated either. You can really simplify it by making a list of your actual income and actual expenses. These expenses should be what you have to have to live — things like rent or mortgage, groceries, insurance, car payments, utilities, etc.
After you have your list of income and expenses you want to make sure those numbers line up. The worst thing you can do is have more expenses than you do income. A great benefit of knowing your finances is that you will be able to recognize any area that needs to be reduced before your baby arrives.
2. Start To Pay Down Your Debt.
A big money stressor is debt. It can be hard when your statement arrives each month and you see the balance unchanged. Take a look at your debt and make a plan to knock out either your smaller balanced bills first or the ones with a higher interest rate. But once you have a debt plan, then stick with it. Just make sure your budget allows for debt payoff after all of your living needs are met.
3. Build Your Emergency Fund.
One great way to help reduce the stress of a new baby is by building an emergency fund. It’s recommended to have at least $1,000 in your savings account at all times. Now if you feel that amount is too low, feel free to increase it. By having about $1,000 or so in an emergency fund it will take a lot of pressure off your checking account. An emergency fund can really help when you have an unexpected medical bill or home repair come up.
4. Save Money When You Can.
There are a lot of ways to save money on maternity clothes, baby clothes, and baby gear. One great way is to buy used from either consignment shops or online. Do research on any nursery items to make sure they comply with the latest safety guidelines.
You can buy your maternity clothes from consignment stores to save a lot of money or even borrow from friends who have recently had a baby. Most new maternity clothes can be quite costly and considering pregnancy is just 9 months you may be able to find quality pieces that still look brand new for a fraction of the retail cost.
Buying secondhand also applies to aby clothes. You can look online or in thrift stores to find high quality baby clothes at very reasonable prices. You can also borrow from any friends’ children who have outgrown a specific size range.
5. Learn About Your Insurance Benefits.
If you’re unsure how much your insurance will cover or what your deductible will be then give them a call. Most insurance providers are happy to explain benefits to you over the phone or even online. It’s important to know what is covered or not covered so you don’t have any surprises.
A lot of insurance companies have added a provision that if both parents are covered by separate insurance providers then the baby will be automatically added to the oldest parent’s insurance for the first 30 days. Not every insurance policy has this provision, but it’s important to find out before taking your little one to their first doctor’s appointment.
6. Plan For Your Maternity Leave.
You should take some time to plan for your maternity leave. This is true whether you work away from home or you’re a stay home working mom. By creating a plan for who is going to help with your workload can relieve a lot of stress and frustrations with maternity leave. Take some time to write down all of the tasks you do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Make sure to to include everything. After you have your list try to ask co-workers, friends and family members to help with specific tasks. Most employers will be very appreciative if you have a plan in place before your maternity leave starts.
Also, now is a great time to talk to your human resource officer to make sure you understand your maternity benefits. Do you know how much maternity leave you will be given? Can you extend it for less pay? Do you plan to take the full leave given to you? Do you want to try to work part-time after so many weeks or even try to work from home? A lot of employers can be flexible and are willing to work with you.
7. Relax and Enjoy This Time.
You can really get yourself flustered when it comes to money. So make sure to take time to step away from the financial side of everything and just enjoy this time. It may feel like an eternity when you’re in the middle of your pregnancy, but in reality it’s such a short time period. So make sure to enjoy each and every moment. Pregnancy is a beautiful moment and it will pass you by way too fast. Here are some great tips to make sure you are making the most of this moment:
- Have fun creating a space for your little one to come home too.
- Go for walks with your partner, but don’t discuss any money issues.
- Spend time with friends. Having a close knit group of friends that you can talk to and share your fears with can really help.