10 Mindful Money Tricks For Brand New Parents
As all new parents discover, the role comes with lots of joy but also lots and lots and lots of expenses.
It’s tough to think about saving and parenthood when you’re facing a whole new category of costs from health care to clothes. It’s overwhelming—but here are 10 tricks that can help.
Some will have an immediate, if small, benefit on the weekly budget. Others will have a lasting impact on your long-term financial life. (And if you don’t already have a rainy day fund, consider these taking the Thrifty 50 challenge to muster one fast.) All of these efforts will aid with the most important change: Your mindset. Shifting your thinking overnight to align with a whole new way of life isn’t easy for anyone. Here’s how to get started.
1. Buy in bulk. Chances are you may already be taking advantage of stocking up on all the food and supplies that cost far less when you buy in quantity.
2. Love your library. Get all of the fun of “shopping” for new books, music and movies—without any of the costs. Plus, there are usually plenty of free activities, entertainment and even classes you can pack your calendar with. Look
for memberships to museums and nearby cultural attractions, too. Many libraries often have them on hand to “lend” to patrons for the day. 3. Trade babysitting. Save a small fortune—and your sanity. Seek friends or family who will trade days or nights out. 4. Swap clothes and toys. Pass along (and seek out) hand-me-down outgrown duds, toys and books from friends and relatives. No kids the same age? Swap your stuff for new at a thrift shop or online service. 5. Plant a garden. Reap a double benefit of saving on fresh produce while also establishing a great family tradition with your kids. 6. Ask for helpful gifts. Instead of another disposable plastic toy, ask family keen to give presents for things that will really help: A new coat. Music lessons. Gear. Make a list of things that will really benefit not just your kids, but also your budget.
7. Form a playgroup. Assemble a group of friends willing to look after each others’ kids.
8. 529s. It is never too early to start saving for college in a tax-savvy way such as through a 529 plan. As I found recently, far too few people take advantage of the huge tax benefits that benefit you most the earlier you start.
9. UPromise. Programs such as through UPromise will earmark a small percentage of your purchases at online merchants and even restaurants toward college savings. Organize your family and friends to contribute to the cause without any extra cost. 10. Automate savings. This is incred- ibly powerful thanks to the magic of compounding. The month your child is born (if not before) open a savings account for them and automate tiny deposits from your other accounts—$10 a month to start—and add a service like Acorns, which deposits the spare change from all your transactions by rounding them up to the nearest dollar. Over the years, this will turn into a significant reserve fund that can fuel your 529 or help in emergencies.
The most important thing: Don’t touch it. Just forget it is there.
As your child grows up, they can start adding as well, helping them to be mindful about money, a lesson that will last a lifetime.