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When you have a baby, it’s easy for expenses to add up. There are necessary expenses, such as medical costs, food and clothes, diapers, and home childproofing. As children grow up, many parents choose to take on extra costs, like birthday parties, designer clothes, high-end furniture, games, and toys, and extracurricular activities. Not all of these expenses are absolutely necessary though. If you’re looking for ways to tighten your budget, consider these three expenses that many people might categorize as nonessential.
Expensive Birthday PartiesMany parents are tempted to go to extremes when it comes to birthday parties. It’s not uncommon for parents to host parties for children as young as ages one or two with elaborate themes, gifts, and extras. There will always be time to have wonderful birthday celebrations as your children grow up and request certain things for their special days. But when they’re very young and won’t remember the parties, it might be prudent to invest that money in their future instead. Many children won’t have the funds necessary to go to college without taking on student loans, so instead of renting an expensive venue for a birthday party, consider putting it into a 529 college savings plan* instead.
Designer DudsIf there’s one thing that’s true about babies and toddlers, it’s that they know how to make a mess. You’ll often change their outfits several times a day, so spending a lot of money on clothes might not be the best investment. Many parents want to buy nice clothes for their children when it comes to family pictures and special events. Consider purchasing these clothes at a consignment store to save money. Essentially, you’ll be buying nice clothes secondhand from parents who paid full price. Many times, these clothes are only worn once or twice because small children grow so quickly. This approach is a great way to save money.
High-End NurseriesIt’s fun to plan and design a nursery for a new baby. Creating a theme, choosing a crib, and painting the walls are all enjoyable parts of preparing for your new bundle of joy. However, it can be done affordably.
Remember that your child will outgrow his or her nursery relatively quickly. Soon, they’ll want a more updated, mature space. They’ll eventually need a bigger bed and before you know it, the rocking chair and changing table will be replaced with toys and other furniture. Given the short lifespan of a nursery in general, try not to go overboard when it comes to buying nursery furniture. There are many wonderful places to purchase affordable or secondhand furniture and lots of ways to decorate on a budget.
Focus on the EssentialsUltimately, when it comes to your new baby, spend money on what matters most: keeping them clothed, fed, and comfortable. What babies need is love, time, and attention each and every day.
* Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. ("CFS"), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. UFCU has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.