There are so many vital ways parents need to prepare for the arrival of a new child, yet money often rises to near the top of their concerns. Grad students have the additional wrinkle of not being considered full employees by their universities, and likely have never met with or even have access to a Human Resources department.
Take stock of your benefits
Some graduate students may have well-defined parental leave options, while others may have to negotiate their time away with their advisors or departments. You also need to match your insurance benefits with your desired care provider to anticipate your out-of-pocket expenses for the pregnancy, delivery, and initial medical care.
Between your medical costs and buying supplies for your child, you are likely going to have significant out-of-pocket expenses. You can cash flow some expenses before the baby’s arrival, but you will also likely need to save up a fund to have flexibility close to the birth. Your new baby is certainly going to shift your priorities, which should be reflected in a new budget/spending plan to help you pile up money.
Further reading: What Do Newborn Babies Really Need?
Plan for childcare
If both parents are planning to resume working after the baby’s arrival, you will likely need to plan for childcare and the expense of childcare. There are many options for childcare, such as in-home care and daycare. You should investigate any local options that may be available to you for a subsidized rate, such as at or through your university.
One option for adjusting to the cost of daycare is to start living as if you were paying that expense as soon as you decide what price you will pay. This exercise will serve the dual function of helping your budget adjust to the new daycare expense and building up your savings.
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