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Planning Ahead For the New Addition

When parents are struggling just to deal with the growing cost of everyday life just for two people the idea of providing for a growing family could seem overwhelming. As most of us know the hard part isn't making the budget - it is keeping it. When parents factor in their families specific needs such as food, shelter, clothing, plus the additional cost of child care, medical needs, children's furniture, toys and the list goes on, you can imagine how savings can be depleted, emergency funds sacked, the long and short-term entertainment stash can become a thing of the past. Review some common sense concepts to help you create an effective budget for your growing family.

1st Realize your life style has changed therefore, your budget must change. Make a list of the major changes you have experience and the cost that may be attached to each. (e.g., "I had to stop working to stay home with my toddler." = $------ ea. Month.)

2nd Help all family members and even your preschooler understand the importance of sticking to the family budget. (e.g. "When we save money at the grocery store by not buying candy it's more likely we can go to the movies.")

3rd Think about your families immediate needs. Have everyone share in generating the list. ("We can rent a car seat." "We'll need a play-pin. Let's use my sister's.")

4th Plan ways to save for emergencies and short-term needs. (Car repair, education, medical) ("I can get my long-term prescription sent through the mail. It's cheaper.")

5th Start a savings account for the long haul. Make a list of future needs and wants (e.g. bigger home, college fund and retirement).

6th Do the numbers. Add up your family's financial standing. What debts, assets and other expenses do you have as a family? (Use an inexpensive accounting ledger to help you calculate and keep track of your monthly expense.)

7th Now you're ready to budget! Stick to your budget. Make sure to write down what you earn, save and spend each month. At family meetings give special awards to members who help cut the budget by avoiding impulsive buying. (Food is a major area. "Good job of getting a bakery cookie at the store this week instead of buying candy!")

8th Don't make budgeting a drag. Reward the family when they meet a goal with simple and fun ceremonies or inexpensive outings.

9th Pay your bills when they are due. Don't deplete your saving with late charges or other penalty fees.

10th Get help when the problem is small. When you wait until your family's financial life is at its danger point, this may cause you to have more than just financial problems.