Smart money tips for parents

Monday, June 10, 2019

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YOUR offspring can cost you big! From hospital fees to money to get what's necessary for your baby's safety and comfort, finances can be a source of worry for parents, especially first-time moms and dads who are uncertain about money management decisions.

However, investment banker at Goldman Sachs, McWayne Flowers, says it does not have to be overwhelming once parents follow these practical money-saving advice:


Revise your monthly budget

With a new member of the family to consider, you will need to change your monthly budget to reflect the needs of your child. Diapers, formula, wipes, day care or babysitter fees, are some of the things you will need to consider when next you write your budget.


Take advantage of a baby registry

Once there is a baby involved, people magically become generous. They want to gift you things for your little one and you should let them. Most baby stores in Jamaica offer registry services; this way you can provide a list of all the things your baby needs, and people can choose to purchase items from that list. Having a baby registry can save parents thousands of dollars.


Opt to breastfeed, if you can

If you can, breastfeed. Breastfeeding is not only more economical, but breast is best. If you have to work, then invest in a breast pump (manual ones are cheaper) and freeze your milk to supply your baby when you are away.


Save on baby expenses

Babies tend to grow very fast, so minimise these expenses. Do not buy tonnes of newborn clothes because they won't need it, children will likely have a growth spurt and might use these for a few weeks. Shoes are also unnecessary; socks will suffice because they are not walking.

You should consider other options, such as using cloth instead of disposable diapers as much as possible, choosing homemade baby foods instead of buying them in a store, and resisting the temptation to splurge on toys.


It is okay to accept second-hand gear and equipment

Gear and equipment such as cribs, strollers, playpens, walkers, high chairs, and baby rockers can be pricey. Most of them are also very durable and as such, can be used by more than one baby. All you need to do is have the gear and equipment checked to make sure that they are not damaged, that they are cleaned, and that they meet safety requirements.


Buy some things after baby's birth

When baby shopping, parents often buy a month's supply of lotion, body soaps and shampoos, nipple bottles, formula, and diapers. However, after the baby is born, some parents might realise that their child has an allergic reaction to soaps, lotions and the particular brand of diaper previously bought. Also, your child might not like the particular formula or nipple bottles that you had purchased in a bulk.


Start a college fund as soon as your child is born

Providing your child with a sound education is one of the most important gifts parents' can give to their children. College is expensive and we see how children, when they are ready for college, can get hunkered down with student's loan in the absence of other forms of financial support.

By starting as soon as your child is born, you start the important process of getting your child ready for some of the most crucial years of his or her life.


Child-care facilities should be a last resort

If you get maternity leave, chances are paid leave will only last a few weeks. That means you will need to leave your child in capable hands in order to return to work. Many people opt for professional child-care facilities, but as best as possible, try to find a family member or friend who might be able to provide these services. Your child will not only get individual attention, but chances are a friend or relative wouldn't want much, if any, compensation.


Update your life and health insurance as well as will

Life is unpredictable. There is always the possibility of sickness and death, and both can be devastating and expensive. Updating your health insurance means that your child will be able to access your health care benefits, and so you will be able to save on medical expenses when the need arises.

Additionally, a will and life insurance are important because you want to make sure that your dependents will have access to resources. Technically you would be seeing to their welfare from the grave.


Babies cannot appreciate first birthday parties

A one-year-old does not need a birthday party; he or she will not remember it. In fact, much of the hype is about and for the parents. If you would like, you can buy your child a gift or cake and have pictures taken.

— Penda Honeyghan

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