Congratulations, you’re a new parent, and life has turned wonderfully, crazily, upside down. You’re tired and emotional, but so in love with your new family. We’ve got some tips to help make those first foggy few months a little easier on you all. Just remember, you’ve got this (yes, really, you have!).
Say yes to help!
From offers of meals and food to help with the housework, just say yes. Having a village around you is so important in the early stages of parenthood. People will appreciate being able to support you and, in doing so, welcome your precious babe to the world. Trust us, it’s a win-win! When people visit you, let them make the coffee and accept their offer to fold the washing while you sit on the couch and chat. Do remember though, it’s also okay to say no to visitors if you and baby need to rest. This season is about you and your new family so enjoy it your way.
Budget and plan
Well before baby arrives, possibly even before baby is begun, plan a budget with your partner, or tune up the one you already have. Think hard about where you can trim the fat from your spending, and examine where your dollars are really going. Who is going to look after baby? What will your income be? BNZ have teamed up with Plunket to do a lot of the hard work for you with their baby budget calculator and their BeGoodWithMoney hub. It’s an easy-to-use tool that gives you a feel for approximate child-related costs, based on the spending of New Zealand parents. It helps you factor in the different costs that come with a baby over the first year, such as baby gear, nappies, nursery outfitting and food, and how these might change as your baby grows into a toddler.
Consolidate wherever possible
To make the most of your money, consolidate expenses with your partner whenever possible. Easy things to consolidate include mobile phone bills, digital subscriptions, AA memberships. Creating a joint account can help you make a budget for the things you buy pay for together, and save money in the process.
Pay bills online and on time
Give yourself a couple of things less to have to remember to do and set up your bills to be paid automatically online and on time to avoid overdue fees. When you have a new baby, trying to remember whether you’ve paid the power bill may well be too taxing for your tired brain, in the early months at least. Consider having separate accounts for your different utilities. BNZ’s internet banking allows you to have up to 25 accounts so you can have the required money sitting ready in them for your water, power, rates etc. Set up a direct debit on your bills so you’re never late in paying and so avoid late fees. If you’d still like a paper copy, make sure you set up a diary alert a day or two before the bill is due.
Sure there’s a delivery cost, but avid online shoppers swear they’re more likely to stick to their list, and less likely to impulse buy. With a new baby in the house, online shopping can save you an incredible amount of time and stress. There’s simply nothing like opening the front door to find it all pre-packed and paid for on your doorstep. Especially when you’re about to run out of nappies or wipes!
Underestimate your free time
If your baby is clean, fed, and happy, you’re doing a great job! When you start maternity leave, you may have made a long list of plans, but keep in mind that preparing for baby is one thing (think happy hours spent selecting baby clothes and decorating the nursery), but having baby is another. In this new stage of parenthood, life takes a completely different focus, and schedules now revolve around baby. That means after baby is washed, dressed, fed, and entertained, he may go down for a nap. This is your one hour or so of ‘free time’, and you can bet you won’t be reorganising the kitchen cupboards in this time, you’ll be napping, showering, eating or at least just sitting down! If you just set yourself one realistic task every day, it will be satisfying enough to cross it off your list.