Starting a new family can be a beautiful thing. It's a chapter of our lives that we strive for, bonding two lives together to create a single unit. But without a strong financial base, those lifetime goals can translate into a pretty stressful situation. According to Business Insider, money was the number one reason of why married couples argued in 2019. And unfortunately, that statistic is probably not going to change anytime soon. Don't let your goals fall to the wayside because of money issues. Instead, follow these five tips to avoid debt when starting a family.
1. Start an Emergency Fund.
Having a decent amount of savings is critical when starting a family. There is no magic number when it comes to an emergency fund, but experts generally agree that 3-6 months of expenses is a good starting point. Life is full of unexpected surprises, but a decent amount of savings can make a big difference between struggling paycheck to paycheck and living a comfortable life.
2. Learn How to Budget
You've heard it all before and there's a reason why. Creating a monthly budget will tell you exactly where your money is going and will make it easier to see where to cut back on spending, if needed. A budget will also help with adjusting to major life events such as marriage or having a baby, so you aren't faced with any unexpected surprises.
3. Don't Fall Into the "New Parent" trap.
When you start a new family, it's easy to get caught up in wanting only the "best" for your child, which usually translates into buying more expensive items. While it is an exciting time, your baby most likely won't remember that cute $30 onesie you bought when they were 6 months old. While you don't want to skimp on important things like safety, consider donations or hand me down items for clothes or shoes.
4. Plan for Childcare.
Too many people underestimate the cost of childcare. While it's impossible to plan for everything, it helps to have a general idea of what your monthly costs will be. Give yourself some breathing room when crunching numbers, but also be realistic. Basic childcare can run up easily to 1200 dollars a month. Add on things like doctor appointments, extracurricular activities, and school outings and it can add up quickly. Being prepared is key!
5. Get an HSA account.
It's easy to fall into a false sense of security until your health takes a hit and empties out your hard-earned savings. An HSA gives you more flexibility with your money because it is tax-deductible and helps you pay for health-care related expenses that your insurance may not cover. In addition, the funds are fully investable so it's another income source for retirement.
A failure to plan is a core reason of why new families fall into debt. Set a strong foundation and ensure your family's security by adopting these tips.
If you are burdened with high amounts of credit card debt and are struggling to make your payments, or you’re just not seeing your balances go down, call Timberline Financial today for a free financial analysis.
Our team of highly skilled professionals will evaluate your current situation to see if you may qualify for one of our debt relief programs. You don’t have to struggle with high-interest credit card debt any longer.