Do you wake up in the middle of the night panicking about the cost of burp cloths and booties? One of the things about being a new parent that no one prepares you for is all the added expenses.
This is an extremely common problem that all parents face, but I’m here to tell you that money problems don’t have to be overwhelming.
Follow these tips to address your worries over money, so you can focus on bonding with your little one.
1. Face Your Fears Head On
It’s definitely tempting to try to bury all your concerns, pretending everything is fine. However, this just makes it harder for you to keep everything together. You can end up dealing with a lot of unpleasant debt when you try to ignore money problems.
Therefore, it is a good idea to pick a time when you feel relaxed and comfortable, and go over your finances.
Carefully consider all your debts and financial assets, so you can get an idea of how your finances are truly going. Then try to write out potential worries such as not being able to afford daycare or find a safe house for your child.
I know that raising children can be super stressful and costly, but facing your fears can be extremely helpful.
Putting your worries into words and examining your actual financial situation can help calm some of your less realistic worries. You can end up identifying reasonable financial goals and reassuring yourself that things aren’t as bad as they seem.
2. Set Aside Emergency Savings
A big way of soothing financial worries can be preparing for the worst. Having some emergency savings can help keep those big anxiety spirals from happening, because you can reassure yourself that you have some money put away for dealing with emergencies.
There is no specific number that can keep you feeling confident. However, a good rule of thumb is to aim for enough savings to cover rent, mortgages, food, car loans, and other expenses for three months.
This can give you a cushion in case you lose a job, and it can also help pay for any unexpected expenses.
Where do you get all these helpful savings? Try taking a close look at how much you spend each month. There are all sorts of little things you can do to cut back that may lead to surprisingly high savings.
Here are some of the things that helped my family when we were trying to increase our savings:
• Cancel subscriptions for services you no longer use.
• Shop for secondhand clothes on Poshmark and other used clothing sites.
• Plan meals based around your grocery store’s weekly sales.
• Refinance your mortgage to get a better interest rate.
• Learn DIY skills instead of paying for simple repairs.
• Cook at home instead of eating out.
3. Make Time For Self Care
As anyone with an anxiety disorder knows, anxiety gets a lot worse when you are tired, hungry, and constantly overwhelmed. Therefore, you need to take time to care for yourself.
The idea of getting enough sleep is easier said than done, but try to aim for at least six to eight hours a day. Personally, I found that the best way to catch up on sleep was to nap when my baby was asleep.
In addition to the basics of getting enough food and sleep, try to find little things that boost your mood. For me, this was giving myself a manicure every now and then, but for you it might be something like going for a hike, reading a good book, or cooking a luxurious meal.
When you are physically and mentally healthy, you can more easily deal with money stress.
So how do you find the time for all this relaxing? If you’re anything like other parents, you probably spend a lot of time on unnecessary things like weekly dusting schedules or planning color-coordinated holiday outfits.
Try to remind yourself that your mental health is more important than seeming like a picture-perfect family. There’s no reason to feel awkward about making time for yourself.
4. Plan A Budget
Planning for the future is one of the most effective methods for handling financial stress. Try starting with the basic expense categories you deal with now, like diapers, car loans, and grocery bills.
Consider how much you make each month, and plan out how to pay for everything. You might be surprised to realize just how much easier it is to stick to responsible spending when you have a sound budget!
Now is also a great time to start budgeting for the future. Think about little things like your kiddo joining a soccer team and the big things like paying for college.
Consider how much you need to save and earn to make these dreams possible. It’s possible to do all this yourself, but you may also want to consider meeting with a financial adviser.
They can go over your current budget and recommend more cost efficient ways of handling things.
5. Don’t Be Ashamed To Seek Counselling
One of the most important things to remember is that anxiety over money is perfectly natural for new parents. If your stress is so bad that it is affecting your mental health, you may want to consider therapy.
There is no shame in talking to a mental health professional or taking medication. Anxiety can be a health condition just like anything else, and trying to manage it yourself is often inefficient and unnecessarily difficult.
A good therapist can help you unpack past trauma or maladjusted thinking that is unconsciously making your anxiety worse. They can also provide you with coping skills for handling financial worries and all the related stress of being a new parent.
By prioritizing your mental health, you can work on being the best parent possible.
6. Ask For Help
Being a new parent is tough, but you don’t have to handle all your money anxieties alone! One of my favorite surprises about being a mom was realizing that there was a supportive community happy to lend a listening ear to my worries and even offer solutions.
All I had to do was be honest about what I needed.
Check for things like local Facebook groups where you can get secondhand baby equipment or discounts for baby clothes. You may also find friends and family members have all sorts of great money saving tips if you let them know that you are struggling.
Being open about your money worries can help you realize that there are plenty of wonderful people just waiting to help you.
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