There’s no doubt that welcoming a baby into your home will affect your finances. There’s buying all the needed supplies, clothing, and bedding for a nursery, and then there’s the diapers, formula, toys, and child care. Add to that some costs that aren’t directly linked to the baby, but come into play such as increased life and disability insurance coverage.
Getting a hold of your finances right now, while you’re in the adoption wait, can help you enjoy your newborn without stressing out about money issues. Here are 6 smart moves to take before your baby arrives:
1. Check With Your Employer About Benefits
Ask your employer now which benefits are available to you, so you have an idea of how to budget. Parental leave is a necessary benefit, no matter if it’s paid or unpaid. There may be additional benefits you can take advantage of, like a health flexible spending account (FSA). Your employer may offer adoption-related benefits, so make sure to ask! Finally, you’ll want to research the life and disability insurance coverage your employer offers. Ask about the deadlines for buying increased coverage so you can plan ahead.
2. Pay Off Your Debt
Get out of any high-interest debt you’ve incurred, such as unpaid credit card balances. Once you start your family, finding money to dig yourselves out of debt might not be as easy as it was before.
3. Take a Look at Your Health Insurance
The costs for pregnancy and delivery vary a lot nationwide, depending on which doctor and hospital your birth mother will be seen at. Your insurance coverage will determine what your out-of-pocket medical costs for the birth mother’s pregnancy-related expenses will be. It’s smart to review the pregnancy and childbirth coverage included in your insurance now.
4. Start a “Rainy Day” Fund
Try to prepare now for the unexpected by routing 5% of your take-home pay into an emergency, “rainy day” fund. A good goal is to try and save the amount equal to three months’ of expenses into this fund. If you reach that target, continue to save 5% of your pay to cover unexpected costs like a car repair.
5. Consider Bonding Time
Per the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you’re able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the adoption. Both you and your spouse can take time off of work to bond with your baby. But you want to start thinking now about how you’ll afford living three months (or more) without a second paycheck.
6. Learn Child Care Costs
Child care costs may take up a large portion of your monthly budget. If both you and your spouse work outside the home, talk about how that may change. Maybe one parent will stay home. If you do need child care, your employer and the IRS may offer some assistance. Ask your employer if they offer a flexible spending account for child care. On your taxes, you might be able to claim your child and child care in a tax credit. And let’s not forget about the Adoption Tax Credit! Use these tax savings on big expenses such as formula and diapers.