Learning that you’re expecting a new baby can be one of the most exciting times of your life. There are so many fun things to look forward to, but along with the thoughts of strolls through the park, teaching your kid to ride a bike and all of those tiny shoes, it may also be overwhelming. While you’re excited, there is so much to prepare for. Life is about to change physically, emotionally and financially — and that can be a lot to handle.

The good news is that while you’ll probably never be fully prepared for the coming sleepless nights, you can make time to prepare yourself financially for whatever life — and a new baby — throws at you. Taking steps ahead of time to get your finances in order will leave you more time to enjoy all the wonderful moments with your new baby. Just like picking out your baby registry, this financial preparation list may help you be as prepared as possible for all the big changes ahead.

Know Your Credit Score

For many new parents, finding out that you are having a baby can cause you to re-evaluate your lifestyle and make some life-altering decisions. If you realize you might have to make some big, expensive changes, you may want to check your credit score to make sure you’re on the right track. Things like buying a house and getting a car loan will require a credit check, so knowing what your credit score is and making sure it’s accurate can be helpful.

“When I checked my credit score, I discovered that I had let my credit card utilization get a little higher than I’d realized,” new mother Allison Chrzanowski says. “But I was able to get on a payment plan and pay off the full balance of my card before the baby came. If I hadn’t had the opportunity to prepare and raise my score, we might not have been able to get a loan when we went to buy an SUV several months later.”

So, while you consider which color to paint the nursery, it can be a good idea to request a free credit report to look over carefully. And if your score isn’t quite where you want it to be in order to help you purchase the things you’ll need, you can begin taking the steps to improve your score.

“We had always shared one car,” new mom Allison Chrzanowski says. “But when I got pregnant, we realized we’d need a second car for things like doctor’s appointments and baby classes. Plus, with a dog, baby and stroller to cart around, we needed something bigger!”

Set Your Financial and Budgeting Goals

Even if you already have a budget and a strong financial plan, a baby suddenly throws a whole new person into the mix. Expenses like diapers and daycare are now a consideration. This can be stressful. But with a little planning and adjustment, you can come up with a new plan.

Family finance expert Gina Lincicum of MoneywiseMoms helps parents balance family budgets so that they can spend money on what’s most important to them. She says that communication about finances is crucial before having a baby.

“To prep for a new baby, I think partners should sit down and set their financial goals,” she says. “Are they in debt? Are they putting money toward retirement? Will one parent stay home with the new baby? From there, numbers can be set for saving and budgeting, with both partners on the same page.”

Do you want to get a bigger place to live, or maybe you’d like a new cash back credit card that will give you cash back on baby-related expenses, like the Discover it Cash Back card? Or are you considering trading in your sporty little two-seater for a more “family-friendly” car? With communication between partners, you may be able to make a realistic budget that may help you achieve the life you want.

Save Early for Healthcare Expenses

Most parents know that there are extra supplies and costs associated with a new child, but even still, there are often surprisingly big expenses that — if not planned for — can affect financial plans.

For instance, it can be a good idea to check what your hospital copay will be with your insurance. This can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Planning and saving for this big expense can keep you from feeling overwhelmed when a bill comes in the mail. You can also talk to the hospital ahead of time to find out what they offer in terms of payment plans and financial assistance, says NerdWallet. Knowing these options ahead of time will give you the tools to make the best plan for the associated medical bills with your new baby.

Another new medical cost will be the inclusion of your new child or children on your insurance plan. You might have 30 days to add your baby to your health plan, but some insurers may give additional time. Check with your insurer to make sure you know the exact time frame allowable for adding your baby to your health insurance. Knowing how and when you need to add your child to your plan (and the additional costs involved) can help with your budgeting and post-birth stress.

Plan for Income Loss Associated With Parental Leave

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), new parents (including those adopting and in same-sex relationships) are entitled to 12 weeks off work to care for their new child or children. However, this doesn’t mean this time will be paid. It’s important to check the exact policies that will affect you with your employer, as some workplaces will offer some pay, and a few states offer paid leave for family bonding, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Once you know what, if any, loss of income you will have, you can decide the amount of time off one or both parents can take when the baby arrives.

“My husband and I sat down and looked at how much time I wanted to take off,” Chrzanowski says. “Then we calculated whether or not we could do that on just his salary. It looked like it might be a little tight with our expenses. So with that in mind, I was able to take on some extra work in the summer before our son was due to cover the gap we expected. That really helped us prepare, and I was able to stay home an extra month.”

Make a Plan for Child Care

There’s often so much planning and change that go into having a new baby that it can be difficult look far enough ahead to plan child care options after your new baby is born. However, this is a very important decision.

If one parent is going to stay at home, you’ll want to re-budget the family finances to reflect this. Or, if both parents plan on returning to a job out of the home, there are significant new costs to consider. As CNN reports, the average cost of full-time day care for kids up to age 4 is $9,589 per year. The cost of a nanny is even higher with an average cost of $28,353 per year. Figuring out what you can afford (and are comfortable with) can make the transition back to work (or to a single-earner household) much smoother when it’s time.

Baby Registry: Don’t Over Do It

“A common mistake that new parents make is thinking that a new baby needs everything on a registry list — and that all those items be brand-new,” Lincicum says. “Before spending money, consider borrowing from a friend with an older child, buying used from a consignment or yard sale and asking other parents for advice. When I had my twins, right away I was told, ‘You don’t need two of everything!'”

Rather than over-registering for expensive items, consider asking for gift cards for things like diapers and formula that you’ll need later. This may help you save money in the long term while also helping keep your home/apartment from being cluttered with items you didn’t need or could have purchased used.

You might also consider buying some things you might have otherwise registered for with a cash back credit card and earn rewards. Of course, you want to be responsible with your purchases, but it could be a great way to get the items you need, and save at the same time.

Update Your Beneficiaries/Will

With the excitement of having a new baby, few expectant parents want to think about any tragedy befalling them. However, making sure your partner and child(ren) will be financially stable if anything happens to you can be a big source of comfort. If you have life insurance through your job, it’s a good idea to make sure your beneficiary is updated to reflect your partnership and any children you have. If you don’t, you may want to look into getting some form of life insurance.

Another “just in case” preparation is to update or create your will. According to Legal Zoom, $375 is the average cost to draw up a will with an attorney, but — depending on circumstances and individual needs — it could be up to $1,500 or more. Planning for this cost when expecting will leave your family protected if the worst happens.

Work on Living in a More Financially Stable Way

Your life is about to change, and your finances and spending should reflect that. Lincicum stresses that even small changes can have a big impact on your budget. Figuring out these changes before bringing home your baby will allow you to be prepared financially to spend your money in the most responsible way.

“Learn to cook and eat at home rather than eating out, which is also harder to do once the baby arrives,” Lincicum recommends. “Also, rein in monthly subscriptions and charges — are you really using each one? Will you once the baby arrives?”

By keeping a careful budget, you can look over your own expenditures and adjust numbers to allow for the new expenses in your lives. Figuring out how you can make lifestyle changes for your new family will hopefully leave you as prepared as you can be for your growing family, at least financially.

“I was glad our budget was ready for the baby” Chrzanowski says. “But I definitely wasn’t ready for how tired I would be. I would have paid a million dollars just to sleep. I guess I’ll have to try to budget that in for the next time.”

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