7 Things to do for Your Money Before Having Kids
Katilyn | June 18, 2019
As I’ve been getting more and more into the personal finance and financial independence world, I constantly hear about all these young couples making smart financial decisions before they start a family. Meanwhile, my husband and I have two kids three and under. While I am determined to not allow that to be an excuse during my debt elimination and wealth building journey to financial independence, I just can’t help but reflect on all the things I wish I would have done with my money BEFORE I had kids.
1. LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS
First step, you need to spend less than you make. My 22-year-old self would say, “duh!” Yet, I allowed the debt to creep up because I was not paying attention to my lifestyle creep. Don’t fall into the trap of “keeping up with the Jones’s.” Chances are, the Jones’s are probably slaves to debt. This seems to be the American way. Crippling debt means fewer choices for you and your family down the road. Read, “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko or Chris Hogan’s “Everyday Millionaires”. Both books share that most millionaires in America live well below their means.
2. PAY OFF ALL DEBTS
Seriously.... as SOON as possible! I know this seems daunting, but follow step one and this second point won’t be as much of a problem. If you don’t have kids yet, I’m sure you know that life changes dramatically once you do have them. Kids will also change you. It can be very difficult to predict what you will want out of life once your baby is born, so make sure you position yourself financially to have options, no matter what happens.
3. TRAVEL WITH YOUR SPOUSE OR PARTNER, BUT ON THE CHEAP!
Of course, once you have kids, traveling can still be a part of your plan. However, traveling WITH kids is VERY different from traveling without kids. Take a roadtrip across America. Without kids, you can travel SUPER light, take a small and fuel-efficient vehicle, pack a tent to camp. You could spend weeks seeing the entire country with less than $1K. Pack your lunches or beverages to save on money big time. Backpack in the wilderness (barely costs a thing). Many of these tactics become much more complicated with kiddos, so take advantage of the time before kids, to bond and have adventures together.
4. HAVE A SIDE HUSTLE
When you don’t have to worry about arranging and paying for childcare, your time is your own. Side hustles are small gigs or part-time work to make additional income outside of your full-time job. Without kids, you don’t have to feel like you are taking time away from your kids to better your financial situation.
5. START YOUR RETIREMENT INVESTMENT ACCOUNTS
When you are young, compound interest and time are on your side for building financial wealth and independence. Create the habit of stuffing away money to your 401K’s, 403B’s (especially if there is an employer match), ROTH IRA’s, and IRA’s. If you establish the habit before you have kids, you will be more likely to continue this habit once you have kids.
6. ESTABLISH A MONTHLY BUDGET HABIT
Countless articles have written about how expensive it is to have kids. Get in the habit of knowing where your money is going each month before you have kids. This way, you can make financial adjustments ahead of time to make the transition seamless. Don’t forget to think through things beyond the medical expenses of delivering a baby. Budget for childcare (often one of the largest initial expenses), diapers, food/formula, and even have a plan for expenses like college or life insurance. If you don’t know where to start for budgeting try the Ploutos Budget App.
7. READ PERSONAL FINANCE BOOKS, ATTEND SEMINARS, LISTEN TO PODCASTS
With kids, especially babies, it can be difficult to find time to sleep, much less, time to read and educate yourself about personal finance. Luckily, there is no shortage of material out there today to get you started.