Starting a family is a huge step for any couple. You’re guaranteed to have plenty of challenges, from keeping the romance alive to raising your children to be happy, well-adjusted human beings.
However, it’s the issue of money that causes a lot of problems for families. With the arrival of children comes the onset of many new, major expenses which can throw a curve ball to the bank balance if you’re not prepared.
From extra medical expenses to school fees, it’s wise to have a budget in place and pay attention to where your money is going if you want to avoid any nasty financial surprises.
While at a glance, these 4 considerations might look basic and cliché, that’s because these are fundamental principles that everyone knows but needs to be reminded of! Keeping these front of mind will help pave the way for peace of mind and happiness.
If you’re thinking of starting a family, here are 4 money-smart things to keep in mind
#1 – Budget for romance
It may sound too good to be true, but having a little bit of disposable income put aside for holidays and date nights is a good idea. These occasions let you reconnect with your other half and remember why you fell in love!
Although having kids can strengthen a couple’s bond, it can also create an extra burden on the relationship because you’re putting so much time and energy into parenting that you don’t have anything left to put into your marriage. Making time for one and other and having the funds to splurge every now and again is a wise decision for the long run.
#2 – Prepare for the unexpected
It’s not as confusing as it sounds – in some ways it IS possible to “prepare for the unexpected” when you have the mechanisms in place to take care of yourself and your family if things don’t go to plan.
While things such as insurance are a commonly overlooked topic (because let’s face it, policies and excesses are not the most interesting topic of conservation), one day there could come a time when your family needs various forms of cover to lead healthy and happy lives.
TIP: Instead of paying for separate policies for everyone, consider looking into family health insurance plans to centralise the expense and gain access to discounted rates.
#3 – Re-consider your costs
Once you start to think about having a family, it generally means it’s time to reign in the carefree spending patterns of your younger days. Achieving and maintaining financial stability is important when you have other humans relying on you for absolutely everything.
Go through your outgoings and sit down as a couple for an honest conversation about who spends what. Hiding debt issues and spending joint income on personal frivolities no matter how much you want them is never a good idea. Unfortunately, it’s these kinds of issues that can break a relationship down and cause mistrust and resentments to fester.
In addition, have career plan or some goals mapped out so your finances remain stable. But, remember to balance work and free time to ensure that your career doesn’t overshadow your job as a parent.
#4 – To rent or buy?
Housing will almost certainly be the biggest outgoing in any family’s budget. If you can’t afford to buy immediately, but would like to in the future, then it’s never too early to have a plan in place to save up for a deposit. If you’re renting because the cost of a family-sized home is out of your reach, consider buying a smaller property such as an apartment to rent out in the meantime, which will help you onto the property ladder.