Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Waiting for your baby

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Here are 10 things you and your partner can do together while getting ready for your baby:

  • Take your partner with you to your prenatal care checkups. Going with your partner to your prenatal checkups will give him the opportunity to meet the professionals who will take care of you during your pregnancy. He can ask questions and also find out how he can help you during your pregnancy. And he’ll love seeing the baby in the ultrasound!
  • Go to childbirth classes together. These classes will teach both of you what to expect during labor and birth. You can ask your health care provider to recommend a class near you.
  • Work together to keep a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy foods. Do something active every day. Don’t smoke, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. Be as healthy as you can be for your baby.
  • Talk about what it will be like to have a baby. What kind of parents do you want to be? How will having a baby affect your relationship?
  • Get your house and car ready for the baby. Where will the baby sleep? Do you have a car seat?
  • Learn about breastfeeding. Breastmilk is the best food for your baby’s growth and health. Breastfeeding also has lots of benefits for you. Your partner can support you by getting you situated and comfortable to feed. He can help by bringing extra pillows, a glass of water, a burping cloth for the baby, etc.
  • Decide who will care for the baby. Will you or your partner stay home with the baby? If you both work, do you need to hire a babysitter or find childcare for your baby? These are important questions that need to be thought of ahead of time.
  • Figure out your budget. Babies cost a lot of money! Do you have health insurance? If yes, does it cover the cost of your prenatal care and the baby’s birth? If no, go to insurekidsnow.gov to find out about health insurance from CHIP and Medicaid. Make a list of all the things you need for your baby, such as clothes, diapers and a crib. Put aside a small amount of money each week to help pay for these baby items.
  • Ask your partner for help when you need it. Tell him when you need to rest. Ask him to help around the house, shop for groceries, or make dinner.
  • Don’t forget about each other. There’s so much to think about and do to get ready for a baby. Make sure you save special time for your partner. Cuddle and be close. As long as your provider says it’s OK, it’s safe to have sex during pregnancy. Sex might feel different during pregnancy. You may need to try different positions to find one that’s comfortable.

Holiday shopping on a budget

Monday, December 7th, 2009

63317605_thbThe holiday shopping season is here, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, can help you get ready. Whether you’re shopping at the mall, online, or by phone or mail, these tips can help you shop smart and stay on budget.

Make a list and set a budget. List the people you plan to buy gifts for, the type of gifts you plan to buy, and how much you plan to spend. Include the cost of cash gifts, holiday travel, extra food, wrappings, decorations, greeting cards, and postage. If it relates to the holiday season and it costs money, add it to your budget.

Shop around. A “sale” price isn’t always the “best” price. Some merchants may offer a sale price on the item you want for a limited time; other merchants may offer items at a discount everyday.

Look for price-matching policies. Some merchants will match, or even beat, a competitor’s prices.

Go online. Check out websites that compare prices. If you decide to buy from an online merchant, keep shipping costs and delivery time in mind.

Carefully consider bargain offers that are based on purchases of additional merchandise. For example, “Buy One, Get One Free” or “Free Gift with Purchase.” If you don’t really want or need the item, it’s not a deal.

Clip coupons. Coupons are useful when they save you money on what you’re already planning to buy. Check coupons for any restrictions. For example, do expiration dates apply, or do you have to spend a certain amount before you can use the coupon? Some retailers will accept expired coupons, and even coupons from their competitors. Check with the retailer before you leave home to learn their policy.

Ask about sale adjustments. If you buy an item at regular price and it goes on sale the next week, can you get a credit or refund for the discounted amount?

Consider layaway. Layaway purchase plans are designed for people who want to buy merchandise without using credit or paying the full price immediately. When you use layaway, you typically make a deposit – usually a percentage of the purchase price – and pay over time until you have paid for the item in full. In exchange, the retailer holds the merchandise for you. To avoid problems, get the store’s layaway policy in writing.

Keep an eye on your wallet. Don’t flash cash. Keep an eye on your credit or debit card during transactions, and get them back as quickly as possible. If your cards are lost or stolen, report the loss or theft immediately to the card issuers.

Use credit and debit cards with care. Save your receipts. You need them for returns and exchanges. Check credit and debit card sales and return receipts against your monthly bills and statements, and report any problems to the credit card issuer promptly.

Ask about refund and return policies. Many merchants may have different refund and return policies for sale items. For example, clearance merchandise may be on final sale, meaning no refunds or exchanges.

Keep good records. Whether you’re ordering by mail, phone, or online, it’s important to keep detailed information about the transaction, including your order number, shipping costs and dates, warranties, and refund and return policies.

Ship early. If you’re sending gifts to out-of-towners, factor in extra time for shipping. If you wait until the last minute, you may pay a hefty price for express or overnight shipping.

To learn more about money management and shopping wisely, click here .

Are you financially ready for a baby? Set a budget

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

baby-moneyThere’s no getting around it. Having a baby is expensive. For many couples, having a baby is an economic as well as an emotional decision. Now is the time to assess what you have and what you’ll need so you’ll be ready when the time comes. Since there is a lot to think about, we’ve broken it all down into seven easy steps.  I’ll cover one each week.

This week we’re focusing on setting a budget for yourself.  Take a look at your budget in black and white. Whether you’re using a computer or a pad and pencil, you need to see the numbers. Make a list of all of your monthly expenses, including mortgage/rent, food, student loans, clothing, entertainment, transportation, insurance, incidentals and other things you regularly spend money on. Then, put down how much you have coming in each month and compare them. Note how much is left over. You may find that you need to cut down on your expenses and start putting money aside for your baby. If you’re going to stop working after your baby arrives, now ‘s the time to start “practicing” living on less. The same goes if you’re going to take an unpaid maternity leave, even though it’s only temporary.  Serious “practicing” will help give you a better perspective on what the future holds.

Eating on a budget

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

grocery-bagTimes are tough for a lot of us. And if you’re like me, you’re looking through the household budget to see where you can trim expenses. One area I’m able to cut costs is grocery shopping.

The New York Times published an article earlier this month about eating well on a downsized budget. The story had some great tips on how to eat healthy while reducing your food budget. You can also check out our previous posts on food shopping on a budget (Part 1 and Part 2) for other helpful ideas.

Financial planning for baby

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

If you’re planning to have a baby now is the best time to examine your household earnings and expenditures. I’m learning first hand that having a baby can really put a dent in your wallet. Our little one isn’t due for another two months and I can’t believe what we’ve spent so far.

Getting the nursery ready included new paint, carpeting, decorations and furniture. Maternity clothes — from sweaters and jeans to PJs and office wear (holy cow…have you ever seen maternity underwear!?! Not good.) I treated myself to a full body pillow and a couple of extra cleanings at the dentist. Books for both me and my husband on baby names, breastfeeding and baby care. We registered for a childbirth education course and hired a doula to help us during labor and delivery. We’re ordering close to seventy birth announcements not including postage.  Little newborn under shirts and onesies, diapers, wipes and just a ton of unexpected accessories. And how much is college tuition going to cost in 18 years?

According to Rosetta Jones, a vice president at VISA USA, “the smartest thing you can do is sit down before you have your baby and map out a financial plan.” Click here to check out their baby budgeting calculator. If you plan ahead, these new costs will be easier to manage.