Having a baby can mean adding a $10,158 bundle of joy to the family

It is important to know the financial commitments of having a baby so that you can prepare, make good financial choices and save money.

A new addition to the family can cost a pretty penny. The parenting website babycenter.com estimates that just the first year of your child’s life can cost around $10,158. While having a baby is a much bigger decision than just the impact on your pocket book, it is important to know the financial commitments and what you can do to make good financial choices and save money.

If you are a new parent or planning on becoming a new parent the best way to save the most cash in the least amount of time is to focus on the big budget items. Here are some simple money-saving suggestions from www.ConsumerReports.org to help you begin:

  • Know your benefits: Many parents don’t understand how their employer’s benefits package works. Find out if your employer offers dependent care accounts that cover childcare, preschool and even summer day camp, or opt in to a flexible spending account, which will help cover the costs your insurer doesn’t reimburse you for.
  • Check your W-4: Check with your employer about your tax withholding status. If you haven’t filled out a new W-4 form since your child was born now could be a good time to do it. Each exemption you claim will boost your take-home pay.
  • Skip extended warranties: Very few of the products that you purchase for your new baby will ever need a repair during the time the extended warranty covers, and if they do the cost of the repair will probably be less than the warranty payments you have made over time.
  • Halt the “upsell”: Be on guard against salespeople and even websites that urge you to buy more expensive products than you intended or suggest additional items you might like to purchase.
  • Review the revolvers: Having money taken automatically form your bank account or charged to your credit card each month for services like a fitness club membership or other services can adds up. Review the list and ask yourself if you still have time to use those services now that you are a parent.

To contact an expert in your area, visit people.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). 

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