I grew up knowing that my sister and my pregnancies were not planned out. We grew up living paycheck-to-paycheck but we never needed anything we didn’t have. I also remember the first time I learned other people planned children. Planning a family is something that always interested me but can you really plan a family? If so, how do you do it?
Can You Plan a Family?
The answer to this question isn’t an easy yes or no. Personally, I don’t think I could ever be prepared enough for a family (children, at least), which is why I’m not planning to have one. However, other people have seemingly been able to plan out their family and do it fairly successfully.
There are things you won’t be able to plan for though. You’ll never be able to fully prepare and plan for emergencies or the unexpected. For example, if your child has health problems you may wind up in debt paying for hospital bills, etc. There is no way you could have known that they’d be sickly though, so you had no way to prepare for it.
You can plan a family in other ways though. You can save money and create a solid foundation for your spouse and kids but how do you go about planning a family?
How to ‘Plan’ a Family
As stated above, there will always be costs that you cannot plan for but there are ways to plan a family. Here are a few things you’ll want to ask yourself.
- Will you need fertility treatment? If you need fertility treatment you are likely already planning a family, however, you will need to budget additional funds to pay for any fertility treatment you receive. This is not usually covered by insurance.
- How much time will you need off work? Most mothers (and fathers) need some time off work around the birth of their child. It is an emotional and tiring time for everyone. You’ll want to plan for how much time you’ll need off and establish with your place of work whether or not it will be paid.
- Do you plan on using daycare? Once you return to work (if you choose to do so) you may have to pay for daycare for your child. Many establishments will care for newborns at a higher cost. You’ll want to recreate your monthly budget and add daycare to the list of bills.
- Do you have insurance? What is covered? Some insurance companies cover most of your child’s birth but not many companies cover everything involved in the delivery (including pain meds). You’ll want to see what is and isn’t covered so that you can save the difference.
- Do you have enough space in your current living situation for a baby? Will you have to move? If so, that is a huge expense that you’ll need to plan for.
- Will you have any help from family? If you’ve got family in the area you may not spend as much on some things. For example, if your mother watches your child you may save the cost of daycare.
- Do you plan on having a baby shower? If you plan on having a baby shower you can also save quite a bit and get some items you need for you child.
Each of these questions (except the first) are things people with unplanned pregnancies usually have to figure out over the span of nine months. People who plan a family are able to control how much time they have to save the money necessary for the cost of having a child. The first few years of a child’s life can be some of the most expensive so saving money is crucial for planning a family.
Once you and your partner have established savings goals and reach them, you are ready to start your family! Or, like many others, you could plan it out in nine months. What do you think? Can you plan a family?
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Amanda Blankenship is the Director of Social Media for District Media. In addition to her duties handling everything social media, she frequently writes for a handful of blogs and loves to share her own personal finance story with others. When she isn’t typing away at her desk, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog. During her free time, you’re likely to find her with her nose in a book, hiking, or playing RPG video games.
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