We all know there are plenty of non-money missteps you could, and will, make with your children. But here is a short, and at times lighthearted, list of ways you could totally bomb financially with your first little one.
Some of these are personal experience, some are the experience of friends and family, and others are just good common sense.
- Buy first, consider later. Who can expect you to have the time to do research or think about a purchase on 4 hours of sleep? Just buy it now and worry about how you’ll use that new stroller or mobile later.
- Buy for the moment. The first hard lesson in financial parenting is that no stage lasts very long. 6-month clothes only work for so long. That brand new toy is only interesting today, and maybe tomorrow.
- Leave college savings for “later.” We’re so focused on retirement that we forget college is only 18 years away, much shorter than most people’s retirement timeline.
- Get suckered into “cute.” Cute has a premium, and it’s rarely something that the little one actually appreciates. Cute is for parents who like cute. Don’t we all, though?
- Be impatient with gifts. Never mind that you’ll probably get hundreds of clothes and toys at next week’s baby shower. You just have to have this outfit today!
- Get predictable needs in a panic. Babies aren’t really rocket science—with a little research you can figure out what you’ll need and when. But that’s okay, because procrastinating and paying more for urgency is so much fun.
- Don’t plan out paying for maternity or birth costs. It’s okay, hospitals will deliver my baby for free, right? When the time comes to face the bills, I’ll deal with it then.
- Buy an SUV to “prepare” for a baby. And then realize that you may not have needed it after all.
- Think that your plan is foolproof. Unexpected expenses are only for people who haven’t prepared hard enough. There’s no need to worry about something popping up.
- Focus on new things. Instead of looking for good-quality hand-me-downs and community resources, buy up everything you can at your local Target or baby store. It’s got that “new-stuff” smell.
What’s your favorite way to completely fail with your children financially? What lessons can we learn from our missteps?
Photo by *clairity*