Everyone always talks about how much money it costs to raise a family. There are more mouths to feed and more bodies to clothe. You know the drill. There are also a tremendous amount of unforeseen expenses that arise when you are raising children, so there isn’t really a good way to budget for things like that.
Do you know what you can prepare for? Will you know what items you will need the minute the baby arrives in the hospital room? You are preparing for the baby for around nine months, so you have plenty of time to start brainstorming all the necessities and the little extra things that will make your family special and unique.
These are the best purchases to make if you are preparing for parenthood.
#1 – A Family Vehicle
This will be more necessary for those who know they are going to have more than one child. Having a family requires a large vehicle to drive around not only your kids but your kids’ friends. People make fun of “soccer mom” vans, but how else are you going to commute with a bunch of little tykes in your car?
A sedan certainly isn’t going to provide the space for the adventures that will ensure a large family unit. Think about buying something dependable, but also attractive enough that you and your family will want to be seen driving it.
A Toyota 4Runner has good insurance rates and has been one of the most popular choices for families looking for an SUV for a while now. If you don’t like utility vehicles, you could look to buy the aforementioned van, but they don’t always look very modern.
Choosing between style and substance becomes more of a chore when you have kids. You may need to buy items you would never think of purchasing when you were single or just living with your partner. Children require more versatile vehicles to drive them around in. Make sure you buy something that has room for a car seat, too.
#2 – The Baby’s Crib
This is a little more straightforward than the previous item. While not everyone will need a large vehicle depending on the size of their family, you will definitely need a crib to let your baby sleep soundly. The trouble comes when you are deciding what type of crib to buy. There are so many categories now that it can get overwhelming.
You need to make sure the crib you buy is very modern. Don’t buy an outdated structure or setup because you may be putting your child at risk. Kids are harsh on their crib, so prioritize a sound build over a nice-looking crib. It can also be stressful to figure out whether your child is going to outgrow the crib quickly, and this is where you can think about convertible cribs.
These cribs can be converted into small beds for older toddlers, but they do require some work to break down and restructure. If you are concerned about the price of switching from a crib to a bed after such a short time period, you can buy a convertible crib so you have both the crib and the eventual bed they will use.
If that doesn’t sound like something you are interested in, there are many other creative ways to repurpose cribs after they are no longer needed.
#3 – A College or Post-High School Fund
So many people don’t know how to help their kids go to college or post-secondary school because they didn’t save money ahead of time. Not everyone will go to college, and you certainly shouldn’t decide on your kid’s future nearly two decades before it happens.
It’s still smart to create a fund you frequently put spare money into just in case your child wants to go to college. You could do the same thing if you’re not a fan of the public schools in your area. Setting money aside for private schools is an option more parents are contemplating if they don’t like public schools.
If the money is never used in these accounts for any type of schooling, it won’t go to waste. There are always times when you need a little extra money for something in your life, and you will be thankful you have the cash available.
Another way to make sure your children are provided for is to get a simple 250K life insurance policy. Life insurance can cover your child’s education fund if you were to die before they reached college, and you weren’t able to provide for their daily needs and education fund anymore.
#4 – A Special Toy or Memento
Babies need stimulation for their brains right from the time they enter the world. Not only will buying a special toy entertain them and make them think, but it will also be something they will yearn for and love coming back to. Everyone wants to see what they played with when they were too little to remember it.
Pick out something you think will mean something to them in the future. A rattle, noisemaker, or stuffed animal with your child’s name on it will brighten their day in the present and the future. Don’t buy anything too loud, as you’ll drive yourself and your partner crazy listening to it all day.
Little block puzzles are fun too, or you can buy apps on your phone that they will enjoy when they get old enough to use the device instead of just putting it in their mouth. That’s the most important thing: make sure your choice of a toy is not a health and safety hazard. Talk to your doctor about this before buying.
Don’t Overthink Things
Becoming a parent is scary and exciting. Don’t overthink what you need to buy before birth. If you forget something small, it’s very simple to go to the store and buy it after the fact. This list gives you a head start on what life with a baby might require.
Enjoy the shopping process and personalize it to your liking. Remember, if you aren’t planning on having more than one child, this is an experience you only get once. Ask for help from other parents and see what they purchased to ease the burden of having a child for the first time. You don’t need to do these things alone. Being a parent is a team effort.
Shawn Laib writes and researches for the car insurance site, CarInsuranceComparison.com. He wants to help parents understand the positives and negatives of their first childbirth experience and how they can handle them with ease.