Your New Baby Money Plan

There are so many variables that come with preparing for and having a family. And it starts at the thought of conception. These predictable and unpredictable variables can carry over into your entire pregnancy journey, fourth trimester, and beyond. Everyone’s experiences are different and unique to them, but one universal truth parents share it is this: Babies (and people) are unpredictable.

Before my first was conceived, I attempted to mock up a budget to ensure we could afford a kid. When I look back on it, the list was wildly incomplete. I underestimated childcare and diapers, way overestimated the crib, bassinet, and clothing, and totally neglected longer-term big items like the highchair, booster seat, toddler bed, etc.

As a finance nerd and mom of two, I’m going to share the framework I used for kid number two in hopes that it will help your parenthood journey feel a little more predictable. I’ve worked in nearly every corner of fintech with companies like Credit Karma, American Express, Robinhood, Gatsby, State Street, and many more. The approach I take to cash management and investing is very human. I am not a type A person. I follow my gut and set myself up for adaptability.

I founded my current company, Firma, to enable people to invest with confidence and carve their own unique wealth journey. There is no one right way to invest, spend, parent, or live your life. You do you, and hopefully, this framework helps support that.  

Anna, Founder of Firma | Photo Credit: Ashley Batz @ ashleybatz

The Spending Plan: Consistent Costs

The first step is to divide costs into two categories, consistent and sporadic.

  • Consistent Costs: Things you’ll need to purchase regularly over a period of time - diapers, wipes, formula, clothing, etc.
  • Sporadic Costs: Items you only need once or things that you want to be ready but unsure if you’ll need - stroller, highchair, a range of postpartum care, for example.

Some costs might be sporadic for your household and consistent for others. You might earmark some funds for massages but not get massages on a regular schedule, and others might decide to make massages a regular thing. Maybe you opt to buy a Snoo bassinet vs. rent, which would make it a sporadic cost unless you choose a buy-now-pay-later option. For more information about investing in the Snoo, take a look at this comparison article: SNOO vs. Cradlewise, in order to make an informed decision for you and your family.

It’s worth mentioning that you could have some consistent costs that you aren’t able to foresee yet. For example, you need to start seeing a therapist. This could become a bi-weekly or monthly expense. You can plan for these expenses in the sporadic cost (just in case) and then move them over to consistent if needed. =

Have you added up your costs yet? If so, you’ll now take the total of your consistent costs and come up with your monthly base. You can add this to your household’s regular spending.

Note: It’s ok to get freaked out by your expenses. Seeing them all written down can feel like a lot, but know that for the first few months, you’ll likely decrease your other categories (i.e., entertainment, travel, dining out, gas, etc.).

The Spending Plan: Big Hurdles

Next, map out your sporadic costs over time to determine how much money you want and when. Work backward from the big financial hurdles like the crib, breast pump, high chair, toddler bed, changing table, play gym, etc., and create a plan to set aside funds to get you through those expenses. Part of this plan can be your registry, and part of it could be investing the funds for variable items.

Fortunately, a baby registry like Poppylist is one small way to ease the burden and expense of both consistent and sporadic costs. Poppylist allows you to upload any product or service to your baby registry, gift cards, and diaper funds. One of my favorite benefits of registering with Poppylist was the option to select a gift card instead of the product, giving me the flexibility I needed at the time. And one of my favorite registry items for a sporadic cost was the REBELSTORK gift card.

What’s REBELSTORK? REBELSTORK is the first North American Baby Gear Marketplace created for a new generation of socially and fiscally responsible parents. REBELSTORK drops top deals on open box, overstock, and used baby gear daily. New parents can use this gift card to purchase any remaining item on their baby registry. In addition, parents will identify something new they didn't know they needed once their baby arrives, and this gift card will help ensure mom and dad can purchase exactly what they need at a fraction of the cost.

In addition to these costs, I addressed big ticket items and planned for "oh sh*t" moments. There will inevitably be times in pregnancy (and beyond) when everything feels like it's going wrong. You'll just need takeout, childcare, a new sweater, a box of extra moisture tissues, a pint of Ben and Jerry's, or to fly your sister into town to help— whatever gives you the recharge you need. You don't want to add financial stress on top of baby stress, so do your future self a favor and earmark money for those moments.

Here’s a template for spending with a sample list of items. Feel free to copy it and customize it to your own needs.

Making it Meaningful and Fun

When you have some time to play with your budget, you can use it to your advantage by investing funds you don’t immediately need, allowing them to grow and enabling you to provide more for your family.

From the moment we decided to start trying for our first, I began regularly buying shares of ETFs I cared about—exchange-traded funds that were committed to supporting companies building a great future for my baby.

As mentioned above, I founded Firma, an investment platform where you can access a wide range of opportunities because I wanted to give everyone an empowered, intentional investing experience that made sense for their life. We make investing as easy and straightforward as shopping so that growing families like yours can have the opportunity to build their wealth in a way that makes sense for them.

DISCLOSURES

All investments involve risks, including the loss of principal. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Please consider your objectives and risk tolerance before investing. Securities trading offered through Firma Advisors, LLC, SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Read more about Firma at www.firma.finance.

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