Want to efficiently manage expenses for your children’s future? Here’s what you must know.

Planning for a child’s budgeted and non-budgeted expenses early on can not only help you save more money, but would also help ensure how it is used to better your child’s future.

The day I realised I was going to be a mother, amidst all the joy and the anxiety there was a small fear in my mind. It is a fear every parent has – the fear of not being able to raise the child properly. Money forms an integral part of this concern, along with time. Do I have the financial strength to give the best of everything to my child? 

As I read more and more about raising a child, I got to know how much money will be required – and also how to manage money intelligently as a parent. By the way, it takes Rs 67.4 lakh to raise a child from conception to college, according to a Times of India report!

However, intelligent use of your money is something that needs to be worked upon. As a new mother, I could have grown wiser as my baby grew older, but I had done a bit of homework beforehand. I was always open to advice from experienced mothers and grandmothers. I looked for tips, tricks, and articles on the subject. Based on all this, I did the following:

I visualised the budgeted and non-budgeted expenses I would incur. Among budgeted expenses, healthcare is the most crucial expense early on. Health insurance is a must as hospitalisation is more likely in case of illness in babies, infants, and toddlers. I was lucky to have a friend who is a medical distributor, so I managed to get all the regular and emergency medicines at a discounted price. You can also browse for online stores and compare their rates with retail sellers.

Educational expenses come later in life, after the child starts going to school. I invested in insurance endowment and money back schemes that will mature in the crucial years of the child’s education so that the matured amount can go towards school admission and related expenses. Health and education are expenses in which there’s no room for compromise in quality, but with advance planning, the burden of the expense can be spread over a period.

By addressing these two expenses, I was able to make insurance plans for my child as well. I didn’t go for a bigger house when my little one arrived. My opinion is that with a little adjustment the child can fit into the existing home, and I don’t need an extra room for someone who is small enough to fit into my lap. Besides, it would cost a lot of money for packing and moving, and the additional rent.

While budgeted expenses are well documented, it is often the non-budgeted expenses that can throw a few surprises at a new parent.

Food – Traditional childcare is economical and time-tested, so I tried to follow this as much as I could. If my grandmother said that rice pudding or herbal concoction is good for the child, I chose them over packaged cereals and medicines as much as I could. 

Toilet habits – I tried to teach toilet habits to my child early on. This meant I could stop buying diapers and wipes much sooner than is usual these days. I don’t even remember buying diaper rash cream because I used diapers so sparingly. 

Clothes and accessories – While buying clothes I didn’t buy a lot in one go. Gifts and hand-me-downs met the bulk of my child’s clothing requirements. If it’s your child’s birthday next month, don’t pamper her with lots of clothes. Chances are she will be gifted a lot of clothes anyway on her birthday.

Baby gear – Strollers, walkers, cribs, high chairs… the list can be endless. However, if the high chair can be folded into a regular baby chair, or if the crib can be transformed into a toddler bed, they serve more than one purpose and you end up buying one less item. It’s better still if these things are bought second-hand or from within the circle of one’s family and friends.

Yes, there’s joy in buying something new and beautiful for your child. And the joy in your child’s face when she sees it is priceless. As a new mother, I too craved these simple pleasures. But along the way, I adopted the sensible habit of thrift, and also made a little extra effort to manage expenses in a better manner!