Baby on the way? Get your finances in order
A newcomer in the family means additional expenses and paperwork
The home pregnancy kit shows two red lines. The little baby you've been praying for is on its way. Soon, you'll be sporting a cute bump that can balance a teacup and you couldn't be happier.
While you figure out how to break the good news to family, friends and possibly your employer - it's also a great idea to start working on managing your finances. A newcomer in the family means additional expenses and paperwork. Finish the tough part while you're pregnant to enjoy a stress-free time with your baby once it arrives. Here are nine things you can start with:
Understand your insurance
You may have a primary health insurance, but are you specifically insured for maternity? It's better to plan for this before you plan the baby - because once pregnant, premiums get higher.
If your maternity expenses are insured, read the policy document thoroughly. What is the limit? Are all tests covered? Is a C-section (elective and otherwise) covered? Can you get a private room? Accordingly, choose the hospital you'll go to for pre-delivery tests, birthing and post-delivery care. Also, find out which paediatricians you can visit within your insurance network.
Check your maternity leave
How much time you get off work and whether you're paid during that period can significantly impact your finances in the coming year. In the UAE, the typical maternity leave for private companies is 45 days and for federal companies 90 days. Ask HR about your company's policies. Try a test run of managing the household on a single income a couple of months before the baby arrives.
Prepare a shopping list for the baby
To decide budgets, think about a few questions - will you nurse or formula feed? Will you use cloth or disposable diapers?
Next, set a limit on both necessary and optional buys (like that designer diaper bag or high-end stroller). It's natural to want the latest and cutest for your newborn, but remember babies outgrow their stuff pretty fast. Consider getting pre-loved clothes, toys and baby gear to keep spending under control.
Set aside money for mom
The bump is coming. Your appetite will get bigger and your clothes, smaller. Adjust the budget for higher grocery bills and maternity clothing. You can save by shopping during discounts and borrowing from friends.
Plan for child care
If you wish to return to work, your second trimester is a great time to evaluate child care options - before your energy wanes and mobility becomes complicated. The right day care can take weeks to settle on. Compare costs and facilities and budget it in.
Research about baby's documents
You'll have 30 days from the baby's birth to apply for the birth certificate. After this, the baby's passport, residence visa and Emirates ID will have to be acquired. Check with your company which of these expenses will be covered and which you need to budget for yourself.
Get health insurance for baby
With most policies, the newborn is covered in the mom's insurance for 30 days from birth. Post that, you'll need to get a card for the baby as well. Again, be sure to check with your employer for coverage. Whichever way it be, get on it sooner rather than later - trust me, you'll be running to the pediatrician for the smallest rash on your newborn's skin, especially if you're a first-time mum.
Keep funding your retirement
When a child arrives, it's easy to forget personal goals in light of this enormous responsibility. Stay on top of your retirement plans. Also, add the baby's education to your long-term goals. Because university is costly - the sooner you start, the more manageable it gets.
Make a "rainy baby day fund"
You can't predict everything before the baby is born. Moreover, kids are accident-prone. Keep aside at least three to six months' worth of living expenses to be on the safe side.
Once you've sorted out all of the above, go ahead and relax. Ask your spouse to treat you to a nice foot rub while you mentally pat your back for keeping your finances in order.
The writer is the founder and CEO of souqalmal.com. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.
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