Budgeting for baby: Money advice for new parents

Source: Laura Rowley, msnbc.com

My oldest daughter starts high school next week, a development I clearly saw coming for 14 years but which is shocking nevertheless. I can't believe she'll leave home for college in four years, this beautiful blond bundle who slept through the night at six weeks of age — and made me think for a brief, shining moment that I had this parenting thing licked. (I was quickly enlightened to the contrary.) In any case, I received an email from an expectant couple that inspired my nostalgia for those sweet newborn days: "My husband and I are pretty good when it comes to money situations but we would definitely like to learn new and better ways. We are 29 and 27 expecting our first born so I was wondering what is a good technique for budgeting with a newborn or just budgeting period. I have officially started my maternity leave and I will be receiving 60 percent of my pay which is better than receiving nothing. I know with a newborn just right around the corner that we will come across different situations that we haven't experienced yet. So that being said I just mainly wanted to know some tips or ways to not have stressful times with becoming new parents. I would greatly appreciate some advice on this." Congratulations! Welcome to the most meaningful and expensive journey of your lives! Government statistics estimate the cost of raising a child to age 17 in excess of $250,000, which doesn't include the toughest nut — college tuition. So you're smart to think ahead.

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