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Strategies to Save Money:
4 Practical Tips for New Parents

In today's economy, it seems like everyone is searching for strategies to save money.

New parents are probably at the top of this list. Your new baby, although an absolute joy, is a new expense!

Unless there's a modeling contract tucked in that diaper somewhere, your infant isn't going to be contributing any cash to your bottom line.

There's hope! It really is possible to finanically adjust to care for this new person. You are not as close to the cliff's edge as you may feel.

In fact, since our husbands seem particularly prone to "freaking out" about finances, (or is it just mine?) perhaps you should read this article together.smiley

These simple 4 steps will help you absorb your infant's needs into your current income.

That is why this section is included in The Essential Infant Resource (EiR). In order for this site to truly be essential, it must go beyond standard "take-care-of-baby" articles and discuss those larger issues that affect your infant's long-term well being.

And so I bring you to Strategies to Save Money. After all, every penny saved is an education earned, right?

Strategies to Save Money: Practical Tip #1
Budget Like You Mean It

If you decide to ignore all the other strategies to save money listed here, don't ignore this one. One of the strongest ways to secure your infant's wellbeing in the future is to create a budget, and then live within it. What mother really wants her baby to grown up experiencing eviction after eviction?

What mom thinks that being super stressed-out and angry all the time is a great way to interact with a baby who's into everything? It's a breakdown and a scream-fest waiting to happen. Save yourself, your family, and your newborn and create a workable budget.

When Cameron and I were first married, we took Dave Ramsey's course, Financial Peace University. It was SOOO valuable in learning how to manage our money. If you need help with budgeting, I'd encourage you to visit his site for help.

Once your budget is set up, put your bills on auto-pay. With a newborn ruling the roost for a while, paying bills is going to be the last thing on your mind. Put them on auto-pay and avoid those late fees!

Strategies to Save Money: Practical Tip #2
Bye Bye Debt...Hello Bahamas!

strategies to save money
Once you've set up (and are following) your monthly budget, take a look at how much you spend every month on debt.

Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine a world where all those monthly debt payments were floating into a savings account instead.

What would you do with all that extra income? A family vacation to Bahamas? A safer mini van? A larger home? Let those dreams motivate you to work harder towards debt reduction.

To avoid being overwhelmed, I recommend splitting your debt into three categories.

  • Your mortgage (and any home equity lines)
  • Other loans for your car, boat, rich-Uncle Harry's loan, etc.
  • Your credit card debt
Choose the category with the smallest debt and attack that first. Within that category, start with the lender or card with the lowest balance. Once that is paid off, close it, and apply the amount you were paying on that debt to the next lowest payment.

Strategies to Save Money: Practical Tip #3
Pick Your Own Pocket

Look through your budget - are there ways to trim the fat? Are there expenses that can be eliminated? During a particularly lean time in our marriage, Cameron and I took drastic measures to lower our monthly bills.

We removed cable. Yes, we survived. smiley We switched to a pre-paid cell phone. We elminated a vehicle, and Cameron car-pooled to work.

Cutting budget costs is one of the time-proven strategies to save money most overlooked by new parents. Many times the question isn't what, but really Am I willing to.... Here are a few articles I've written that can help you start thinking of areas you can cut back.

Strategies to Save Money: Practical Tip #4
Need More? Make More!


Adding Another Income

Perhaps the most logical of the strategies to save money is to simply get more of it. If you just can't seem to make the numbers work, you and your spouse will simply have to make more. Easier said than done, I know. There was a period of time where my husband Cameron took a second job delivering pizza to help cover the bills. It was hard at first, but humility pays off in the long-run.

That was before I started working from home. Now I'm a stay at home and a work at home mom. It's hard to live today on a single income. This site is the answer we needed. I'm able to stay home and care for our precious offspring, but also contribute to our monthly income.

If you want to see how I got started, and went from doing email-only to this site, check out Site Build It. I was an Internet-imbecile. They gave me everything (and I mean everything) I needed to learn how to do this - at a yearly price we could afford to "risk".

Their free ebook, The Affiliate Master's Course, changed my life (and I didn't even know what an "affiliate" was!).

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{Photo by TW Collins}

Are You Over-Insured?

Getting a second job isn't the only way to make more money. If you're young (below 40), you and your spouse are in the "productivity" stage of life. Despite what you may want, you don't need a million dollars worth of coverage!

Figure out who's income will be missed the most, and then over-insure that person. For example, I work part time at home (on this site), while my husband works full-time.

My insurance coverage is about half of his, because I bring in about half the income. This little trick "found" us an additional $40 bucks a month. That's $480 a year.


Don't Make Interest-Free Loans to Uncle Sam

The new TurboTax Free edition is a great starting resource to determine your best course of action on deductions. If you're not taking any exemptions, you are loaning your money to the government, interest free. The best way to determine if you're taking enough exemptions is to look at last year's return. Did you get a HUGE refund? Then you are not taking enough exemptions.

You can let the government take extra money from you every paycheck, and then get a larger return, OR you can add some exemptions, get more monthly income, but get a smaller return. This little trick provided Cameron and I with an additonal $100 a month in spending money and is one of the best little-known strategies to save money out there. (And we still received a nice little return from Uncle Sam!)

A talk with your accountant or company's HR representative can help you decide how many exemptions you should take.

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Implementing these simple strategies to save money can provide you extra cash as soon as the next pay-check. Did you know that the #1 reason couples divorce is over money troubles?

Protect a happy home for your newborn by developing your financial IQ. When you live on a budget, and are working to reduce debt, it's amazing how much brighter and happier the world appears!

Strategies to Save Money: Getting Started

  • Into the Minds of Frugal Moms: Their Secret Secrets
      What does it take to be inducted into the wooden-spoon club of frugal moms? Is it thrift-shopping? Is it make-your-own-baby-wipes? Nope! (thank goodness!) Their deepest-darkest, mother-of-all-secrets...the "Secret of Frugality" is...drum-roll please...
  • Make Your Own Baby Food: Books that Make It Easy
      Making baby food at home is actually incredibly easy. All you need is a food processor (or blender), a freezer tray, and about 15 minutes. Save yourself tons of money and invest in one of these helpful baby food guides...
  • Ideas that Spark
      This online magazine provides polls, tips, articles, and other resources to provide creative ideas for difficult situations.
  • Become a Family Meal Planning Professional: Simple Tips for Busy Moms
      Does the idea of "family meal planning" overwhelm you? This important part of managing your home isn't reserved for Super Moms and Organizing Queens. You can organize your meals in just a few minutes a month. Find serenity in your kitchen through budget meal planning.

Strategies to Save Money: Shopping Smart

Strategies to Save Money: Reviews of Online Grocery Services

  • Inspecting Peapod Delivery: Wonderful? or Worthless?
      It's really tempting to sign up for Peapod delivery. With a new infant and little-sleep, I was desperate to see if the grocery-cloud actually had a silver lining. Here are the results of my plunge into the world of online grocery shopping...
  • A Fresh Look at Genuardi's Grocery Service
      Being able to order your groceries online and have them delivered to you (like you're some kind of A-lister) is pampering of the 9th degree. The BEST part about this kind of pampering, though, is that you won't have to anticipate a spousal argument afterwards. See how Genuardi's grocery delivery service measures up...
  • Using Safeway Delivery: A Comprehensive Review
      The mega-grocery-giant Safeway has launched a delivery service that will literally drop your groceries off straight into your kitchen. So is this every mother's dream? or a disastrous disappointment?

Strategies to Save Money: Reviews of Meal Planning Software

  • Get Your Weekly Meal Planning Done in 5 Minutes (Yes, It's Possible)
      The benefits of weekly meal planning are obvious: healthier meals, less money spent on dining out, and stress-free family dinners. Today's moms are busier than ever. We need to be able to do our planning in minutes, not hours. There is one tool that makes quick planning a reality week after week...
  • The Best Meal Planning Guide for Losing Extra Pregnancy Pounds
      The simplest way for a new mom to work off those extra pregnancy pounds is by using a meal planning guide to help monitor nutrition and track exercise. It's virtually brain-free. (Which is good, because lack of sleep tends to destroy brain cells during this phase of life.)

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