I’d like to tell you that I’ve always been good at dealing with finances. I’d like to tell you that I always made great choices when it came to money. But, I made a promise to myself to not lie to you. So instead, I’m going to tell you the truth. I used to be terrible with money. Absolutely awful! And it wasn’t until I took a pregnancy test and saw two little pink lines that my eyes were opened. I was suddenly made aware of how horrible my spending habits were. It took getting pregnant to force me to grow up.
That’s when my husband and I decided that we needed to change our financial future. And here’s the thing. We didn’t want to wait to be debt free to grow our family. I knew that I wanted children close together, and I wasn’t going to let debt keep me from having more children. I knew that even though it would be hard, it was possible to have more children and work towards becoming debt free. My husband and I didn’t want to press pause on our life.
Life doesn’t go as planned.
When my oldest son was a little over one, we tried for a second baby. I timed it out perfectly. My due date was May 10th and as a teacher, that was gold! I wouldn’t have to take a lot of time off work and I’d have the summer with my baby! Unfortunately, I learned that just because you have a plan doesn’t mean that it’s God’s plan. I had a miscarriage at 8 weeks and was devastated. I mourned the baby that I lost, and I was so angry because this didn’t fit my perfect plan. During this time, I was mad at God and everyone else. Didn’t God know that I knew best?! I hated seeing pregnant women walking alongside me in Target or at work. At the moment where I needed faith the most, I had lost it.
Just two months later I was pregnant again (which I know is such a blessing). My third pregnancy was smooth, despite my constant anxiety. We were blessed with another little boy. Two children in daycare was not a small expense. There were months when we were paying over $1,500 in just daycare costs alone. And with $1,400 in minimum debt payments (not including our mortgage) we were moving at a snail’s pace. But thankfully, we knew what to do to help us pay off debt, even while growing our family!
I know that you might also want to grow your family AND work on becoming debt free. That’s why I’ve listed out 5 things you can do when you become pregnant and you’re still on your debt free journey.
1. Get short term disability at work.
If you know in advance that you are going to be getting pregnant, then it’s in your best interest to look into short-term disability at work. Most of the time you have to sign up for short-term disability before you become pregnant. We were able to file for short-term disability during both pregnancies and the extra money was a lifesaver. In fact, we used it to pay both of our hospital bills in full! Don’t overlook this option! Head to your employer and sit down with someone. Read all the fine print so that you are fully educated on what you are signing up for.
2. Pause your debt snowball.
When you’re pregnant, you’ll want to pause your debt snowball and save up as much money as possible. This means that you’ll only make your minimum debt payments. Instead of sending extra money to debt each month, set it aside in a savings account. This way if something goes wrong with the pregnancy or birth, you have extra money saved up to cover the cost!
3. Save, save, and then save some more!
When you become pregnant it is time to start saving money like crazy. That means that every extra penny you can find needs to go to a separate savings account. You never know what can happen during a pregnancy, so it’s best to be prepared financially. Set a goal for how much you’d like to save before that bundle of joy comes into the picture. Eventually, the baby will come and you can send any leftover money towards debt.
4. Borrow, thrift, or register for everything!
I don’t know if you know this, but babies don’t have to be expensive! I have an entire post about what you actually need to buy for a baby HERE. When I was pregnant with my first child, I set aside $50 each month to buy baby supplies. I’d hit up garage sales and thrift stores to buy anything that could be washed and sanitized. We registered for large items such as the crib and car seat. People bought us diapers for baby shower gifts and even cooked us meals when we first got back from the hospital! If possible borrow maternity clothes from a friend so you can save money on clothing costs! With a little creativity, you can be prepared for baby’s arrival and not spend a fortune.
5. Remember why you’re getting out of debt.
When things get hard, or you’re tempted to go on a spending spree, just remember why you are working to get out of debt. It’s for this sweet baby of yours. It’s so you can provide a better life for this child that you are bringing into this world.
Our family didn’t necessarily follow the correct “plan” to getting out of debt. Did we do some steps out of order? Absolutely! But guess what! We were still able to reach our goals (although much later than we could have if we didn’t have children)! We still paid off our student loans and car loans, all while growing our family. I’d definitely consider that a success!
Need help getting started?
I get it. It can be so hard to know how to get started with budgeting. Especially when you’re also trying to pay off debt! But here’s the truth: You work hard day in and day out. You deserve to have money left over to show for it! You deserve to no longer live paycheck to paycheck. And that’s where I can help! Grab my free Debt Free Roadmap and learn how to pay off debt fast!