You might not have realized how difficult bringing a new life into the world was going to be, from the actual process of childbirth, the sleepless nights and adjusting to life as a new parent. The early surprises you will have to deal with, however, are just the first in a series of surprises and challenges that you will face throughout parenthood.
Juggling the many responsibilities you have as a parent can mean that the immediate and most pressing needs get your attention first, which leaves little time for future or longer-term considerations. While this is understandable, it is very important to look to the future and not get caught unaware when life, as it undoubtedly will, catches you by surprise.
Some things you simply can’t prepare for, however, most of the time there are ways to look ahead and plan for the future. Being organized is the most important way to keep on top of all the duties you will have as a parent, and there are several ways to organize your life and keep on top of all the short-term and even long-term events and activities you will spend your days doing. The key things that most caregivers will have to plan for, go under the umbrella of financial responsibilities. This includes education, extracurricular activities, sickness, and childcare. The following points will show you how you can prepare for some of the surprises or unexpected events that you will no doubt have to face at some point during parenthood.
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One undeniable fact that shouldn’t be a surprise to new parents is how expensive raising children is. The more children you have, the greater the expenses that you will have. Ensuring you are on top of your finances is crucial in ensuring the long-term financial health of your family. What you might not have planned for, however, is the hidden costs of parenthood. You might not have thought about how expensive food will be for example. However, it can amount to one of the biggest costs of raising a child. Looking after the health of your children includes providing them with nourishing food, which unfortunately can be a lot more expensive than junk food. The daily costs of living will require most of your immediate financial attention; however, you will also have to prepare for the hidden extras that may affect you in the long-term. Having an emergency savings account, which, even if you contribute a little each month, can help you out when you need to cover an unexpected cost. As well as a financial safety net, many parents have saving accounts for their children as a way of providing for them in the future. This may cover education or be a way of helping them should they want to purchase a property when they have reached adulthood. Saving as much as you can now, even if it is a small amount, will give you peace of mind and take the financial pressure off you in the long-run.
Education is an expensive business these days, while you can’t judge how much you will end up spending with absolute certainty, you can probably expect to pay for college fees at the very least. Deciding on going public or private with your children’s education is an important decision to make. If you choose to go for private rather than public education during your child's formal education process, you will also have to prepare for this. However, even if you aren’t paying tuition fees, there are many hidden costs of education that you may not have considered but can amount to a considerable sum of money. You may not have considered the cost of school supplies or example, which does not simply include pens and pencils, but often school uniforms, sports clothes, and even electronic devices such as laptops. If you need to invest in a laptop, then consider buying a refurbished model which can bring the cost down quite significantly. Getting handy with a sewing machine is a useful skill to have and gives you a way to repurpose and reuse your children's hand me downs without the being too big or too small. A great tip is to buy plenty of school supplies when they are on offer, such as binders, stationery, and backpacks, and store them for when your children need them.
The many clubs and societies that your children will likely have access to. Between music classes, sports clubs, theater club, and the list could go on eternally! Extracurricular activities can provide your child with a well-rounded education outside of the formal setting of school and can allow them to develop their interests. Before they narrow down what they are passionate about or what they truly enjoy doing, it is important to know what they like. Rather than forcing your child to attend several extracurricular activities, it is much more cost-effective, and most importantly better for their development to focus on their interests and passions. By allowing them to try different types of activities and classes, you give them an opportunity to explore and decide what they are passionate about for themselves. Music classes, in particular, can be very expensive, so it is worth asking for taster sessions and seeing what instrument your child finds a connection with and allowing them to choose what they enjoy, rather than forcing them to attend a class that they do not enjoy and have no interest in. This is the same for many other activities that your children may attend, and if you push them into an activity they do not enjoy, they will unlikely carry it through and will drop it as soon as they can.
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Medical bills can take you by surprise at any point in your life. If you have health insurance then the many extras you may need to cover will still add up considerably.
Suffering an unexpected accident is something that no-one can prepare for, and can leave you out of pocket when you have to pay your way back to health. If you are involved in an accident, then hiring a personal injury attorney is a good idea, and can help put your case in the hands of professionals rather than having to deal with it yourself.Being ill means that you are not able to go to work, and when your children are at home, you will have to stay home to look after them as well. Not everyone is lucky enough to have an understanding employer, so taking care of your family’s health by having healthy meals, and leading the example by exercising regularly is a big part of investing in your family’s future and looking after your finances. The best investment you can make for your family is to provide them with a healthy diet as they will go on to form habits based on the way they are raised. Educate yourself on how to best nourish your family, within the budget you have, and learn how to feed your family without breaking the bank.
Childcare can be extremely costly, particularly when you have multiple children. You might have thought about pre-school costs, but have you thought about the summer months when your children will not be in school? Summer camps are an option for those who need to work although these too can be expensive. Many schools offer low-cost summer programs which will give you the benefit of knowing that your children are with people they know and in an environment that you trust. The most important thing with childcare is balancing your needs alongside what you feel comfortable with. For example, staying home with your children full-time isn’t an option for many parents, but deciding to work part-time is a compromise that works for some. If you are fortunate enough to have family members living nearby, perhaps your parents, who can help out with childcare, then this will give you the peace of mind that your children are well cared for, as well as allowing you to continue working.