10 Money Saving Tips for Birth Mothers
Pregnancy is expensive: between visits to the doctor’s office and having to buy a new wardrobe, it’s easy for money to get tight along with your pants. For women who have chosen adoption, money is often an even bigger headache. Luckily, there’s lots of things birth mothers do to take control of their lives during and after pregnancy.
Make a Realistic Budget – The first step to getting control of your finances is to figure out what your income and expenses are each month. Write down what regular sources of income you have, their amount, and what day of the month you get them. Likewise, list the bills that you have, how much they typically are, and when they are due. Then write down your other expenses that don’t come at a specific time, such as food and gas. It’s important to be honest with yourself here and try to be as accurate as possible. Don’t forget money spent on entertainment. You can get more help making your first budget at http://www.consumer.gov/articles/1002-making-budget.
Set goals and stick with it! – The hardest part of budgeting is actually following through with it. Lots of people make up budgets but then never keep them. Set specific goals to work towards, like getting out of debt, moving into your own apartment, or going to college. It’s much easier to resist the temptation to spend money on things not in your budget if you can think of the goal toward which you are working.
Portion out your money into envelopes – For expenses that vary from month-to-month or week-to-week, write the name of the expense on an envelope and put the money allotted inside. Then, pay for those expenses using money out of those envelopes. For example, if you budget $300 for groceries in a month you put that money in a envelope marked “Groceries” and then pay for groceries out of that envelope. This way you have a visual reminder of how much money you have left for the month.
Open a checking account – Having a checking account makes it easier to keep track of your monthly bills and keeps your money safe. They are especially good for paying bills that don’t change in amount from month to month, like rent or car payments. Plus, you can cash or deposit checks written to you at your bank for free. Many banks offer free accounts with low or no minimum account balance. Finally, having a relationship with a bank can make it easier to get a loan or mortgage down the road.
Make use of Your Local Library – Libraries are amazing resources. In addition to books, most libraries have DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, ebooks, magazines, and computers with internet access that you can use or borrow for free. This is a great way of having fun while on a budget. Many libraries also offer free adult education classes on all kinds of subjects, from using technology to writing a résumé.
Eat fresh produce – When you’re pregnant you need to be eating healthy. Luckily, fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the cheapest food you can buy, costing even less on average than frozen or canned. Farmer’s markets are an especially great place to get fresh, delicious produce, and they usually cost much less than grocery stores.
Get Second-Hand Maternity Clothes – Borrowing clothes from friends who have been pregnant is the cheapest way to get maternity clothes. If you have to buy, check out thrift stores and consignment shops before going to department stores. If you have to buy new clothes, try to wait for sales and use coupons (which you can find online).
Avoid fees, interest, and penalties – When you are living from paycheck to paycheck, it can be hard to cover a bill that comes in at a bad time. Even if you can’t pay by the due date, try giving the company a call and explaining the situation. They may give you some extra time to pay if you ask nicely. Many utilities also have assistance programs for people suffering financial hardship. You definitely want to avoid having a pattern of missing payments or paying late, since they are much less likely to lenient and may end your service entirely.
Cut other unnecessary expenses – It’s hard to sit down and list every unnecessary expense you might have. Develop a habit of asking yourself if you really need to spend this money every time you are about to make a purchase. Even small purchases add up, so try to pack a lunch rather than buying one while you are out. Don’t buy lottery tickets. Ever.
Accept help – There’s nothing wrong with accepting help when you need it. Adopt Connect can provide immediate assistance with living expenses, relocation, housing, phone, medical, transportation, legal, and counseling before and after birth. Speak with an adoption coordinator to start getting customized assistance for your circumstances.