Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thrifty Thinking: Tips for New Parents

New parents beware: Your little angel is going to cost you a bundle

A middle-income family with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend about $245,340 for food, shelter and other expenses up to age 18, an increase of 1.8% from 2012, according to the Agriculture Department. Most new parents have the expectation that babies are expensive but likely they didn’t think they would cost a quarter of a million dollars. That is why a financial expert is sharing tips about how new parents can balance and manage their money, all the while saving for their little bundle’s future…cough…cough…college.

Budget: It’s an ugly word but it can be the difference between a strong financial future and barely getting by. There are all kinds of apps available now to make setting a budget easier than ever. Sticking to it is another thing altogether.  
Shopping Smart: Being a smart shopper doesn’t mean that you can’t have the latest fashion or the newest toys. It’s also a “teachable moment” for your kids. Teach them how to shop around and compare prices. It’s a valuable lesson that will save them thousands over a lifetime. 
Fight The Impulse Buys: Here’s a simple math problem … impulse buys + credit card = large debt.   The fastest way to get off budget is to make purchases that you haven’t accounted for. Impulse buys could be toys, eating out, a car, new TV, pair of designer jeans or a vacation. Fight the urge, don’t charge the card and plan ahead to save money. 
Save Money Each Month: Make sure to set aside some money each month, even if it’s a very small percentage of what you make. Over time, it adds up and can be used to help with the cost of school projects, unforeseen medical problems, investing or retirement.
Let Your Child Earn Spending Money: For kids under 16, encourage them to babysit, mow lawns, take care of neighbors’ pets or handle other jobs around the house to earn their spending money. This teaches them work ethic and responsibility, two qualities needed later when they hold full-time positions. For kids 16-18, let them hold a part-time job during school to help cover costs on clothes, a car or college.
Say No: As your child grows up, don’t be afraid to say no when he/she wants to buy something or go someplace. You’re not an ATM and you can’t print money. 

Gregg Murset is a dad of six, CFP and CEO of MyJobChart, all of which have him living in the now. With more than 20 years experience working with successful business leaders on the same important functions - work ethic, responsibility, accountability and money management - that make My Job Chart the leading tool for parents interested in preparing their children for life as an adult.  Named 2014 Financial Education Instructor of the Year by the National Financial Educators Council.

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