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Any life change can be difficult on a family budget, even if it is a happy event like the birth of a child. Fortunately, Mother Nature gives you nine months to prepare for parenthood and the sooner you get started, the better. In planning your personal finances for the baby’s arrival, there are several things you can do to ease the transition.

Re-visit the family household budget
Your family is changing and so should your spending plan. When creating your new family budget, don’t forget to factor in often-overlooked items such as increased healthcare, clothing, and insurance costs, as well as the cost of diapers and other baby products.  Find out the prevailing rate for childcare, and work out how you can factor the cost into your budget.  Keep in mind that some of your expenses, such as entertainment and dining out, may decrease.

Be realistic when shopping for baby products for your new baby
While you want to give baby the best, it may be wise to look for gently used items at thrift stores and consignment shops, since most baby necessities are costly and only used for a short period of time. When it comes time for the baby shower, ask your hostess to let people know of the things that you need, so you don’t end up with 30 adorable outfits and no thermometer.  You may also check with friends, relatives, and neighbors with children to see if they have any hand-me-down baby products and baby clothing. 

Plan to make parenthood work at work
Investigate your company’s maternity or paternity policy as soon as possible. Most people have to prepare for an income reduction for at least part of the leave, and more if you end up on bed rest. Because of taxes and childcare costs, determine whether or not it is worth it for both parents to go back to work.  Make sure you calculate the total cost of working outside the home, including dry cleaning expenses, commuting costs, new clothing, childcare and taxes.

Conduct a benefits check-up
Call your insurance company and find out how much they will pay for the delivery, as well as postpartum care for mom and baby.  Don’t be caught by surprise when the medical bills start showing up. 

Having a baby is a wonderful event, and taking these steps prior to your baby’s arrival will help eliminate some stress once your baby arrives.