[tps_header]If you are planning to start a family, you might need help planning for the future. While children are fun, they aren’t always cheap and being a parent means a shift in personal and professional priorities. These are some of the money moves you should make before having children.[/tps_header]
Get Out of Debt
During your single and child-free days is the best time to live on Ramen Noodles and work long hours to become debt-free and escape the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. Why? Babies require time & money that you currently use for other things at the moment. For example, if both of you work, you soon might be paying $1,000 a month in daycare expenses .
If you have a mortgage, student loans, or a car loan, that extra money can be put towards paying off these loans early and having one less monthly payment. That way, once the baby arrives you can afford daycare or any other parenting costs without having to cut spending elsewhere because you can now use that $1,000 previously reserved for extra loan payments to pay the daycare center instead.
Go Back To School
If you need to earn a Master’s Degree or another professional certification to earn your next promotion, it’s a good idea to earn it now if possible. Becoming a parent is a life-changing event and finding the time and energy to work full-time, go to school, and be a parent simultaneously is very difficult. Many people juggle all three tasks at once, but, making personal sacrifices when you are younger will allow you to have a better quality of life when you have more reasons to go home at a regular hour.
Build an Emergency Fund
You have probably heard others talk about “saving money for a rainy day.” Eventually, you will have an unexpected expense such as a car breaking down, a trip to the emergency room, or losing your job. By saving at least three to six months in an emergency fund that you only use for unplanned expenses will keep you from going into debt and stressing being able to pay your other monthly bills.
If you haven’t started an emergency fund yet, you can follow these 5 steps  to increase your savings. Unless you have a pile of cash sitting somewhere, you will need a few weeks or months to build a sufficient reserve. Start small by saving $500, then $1000, and ultimately up to 6 months of living expenses.
#4: Automate Your Finances
As you will want to spend as much time as possible with your children, it’s easy to forget there are certain things you do each month like paying the bills and saving for the future. That’s why you need to automate your finances as much as possible. This money move is easier than you think.
Start by having your rent, utility bills, and insurance automatically withdrawn from your checking account each month. When it comes to saving for retirement and investing, you can tell your employer 401k to automatically withhold a designated amount from each paycheck and you can also schedule your bank to automatically transfer money to your emergency fund or investment accounts monthly as well.
Managing your money is just as important in your single days as it is when you are a parent, but, you have more flexibility to spend it as you want before you become a parent. By following these money moves now, you can still enjoy that flexibility in a few years after starting a family of your own.