A woman approached me at tea break during an investment seminar last week urgently seeking my advice on an important financial matter that had given her sleepless nights.
The woman, in her late 20s, was expecting a baby whom she had decided to keep despite friends advising her to get rid of. Their argument was this lady did not know the father of that child well and there was no need of insisting on “becoming a mother so soon just like that”.
She said she did not want to involve the child’s father in the matter at all. How, as a single-mother-to-be, was she going to prepare for the child’s arrival and upkeep without getting into financial debt?
The good thing with pregnancy is that you have at least seven months to prepare; that is from the time you discover you are pregnant to weeks to delivery. Obviously, the coming of a baby has financial implications and one has to adjust the daily or weekly spending automatically. This is the point to start the planning.
Create a nest egg: Set money aside for the many errands that come with this experience. You will need money to attend clinic, buy the foods you crave and make long telephone calls to friends or family when you just want to talk to someone.
Pick the delivery plan: Hospitals have various financial options for mothers-to-be. If you had not planned for the baby’s delivery and hence not saved money for this purpose, you can go for the ‘package’ option where you pay the amount through monthly installments. This will lessen pressure on your part and assure you of delivery at a hospital of your choice.
Shop wisely: Buy new baby clothes gradually. Write down the list of what a newborn needs and promise yourself to get something at least once a week. For example, you can decide to buy all the vests in the first week and diapers in the second week. Remember diapers are expensive but you will need plenty of them especially the first days when nappy rash is a headache.
Emergency cash: Ensure you have some cash money at home. As you save for the coming baby, keep some cash at home which you can use to easily send someone for urgent purchases such as meat to make soup. You will be grounded the first days after delivery and money in your account will not help you much. Even the Visa Card needs you to be present to swipe and enter your pin number. Ensure you always have airtime on your phone for emergencies.
Plan B-Z: Register with a house help bureau. The fact is, when you have a newborn the turnover of nannies is very high. Most of them do not like taking care of such a delicate being. To avoid the inconvenience of these helpers, just enroll with a bureau which can replace one nanny with another as soon as they leave your door. These days, looking for a house help even from upcountry is a hectic and tedious engagement. The bureau will give you peace of mind though you will pay quite some money for this service.
Accept help: Hold a baby shower. At this point your friends chip in and help meet your expectations as you prepare for the arrival of your baby. Arrange and pay in advance if necessary the taxi that will take you to hospital and get you home.
It takes two: I still insist the man responsible should also play a part, especially financially, in the baby’s life whether the woman likes him or not. That baby deserves support and love from both parents. Above all, the man will give you the crucial financial assistance you need at this time.
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