How do I finance parenthood? This is a question that gives countless parents sleepless nights. It is not only a thing of concern for parents as aspiring parents also have their share of the apprehension, from time to time. Financing parenthood can be worrisome, regardless of your financial status as parenthood is not an on/off thing. It is a continual process that requires years of commitment and responsibilities.
What are the problems of financing parenthood?
- The condition of the country:
Despite having one of the leading economies in Africa, Nigeria has been suffering from an astronomical economic crisis for years. The condition of things presently does not, in any way, favour the average man. Things that ought to be free are not free and this puts a whole lot of burden on citizens. As a taxpayer in any country, one should be a recipient of basic amenities. This helps to reduce any sort of burden one might be going through financially. Finding the right school shouldn’t keep parents up at night. Quality education and not just education should be provided for by the government but it isn’t. There are numerous things to think about such as accommodation and housing, food, transportation, education, technology, school fees, clothing and many more. None of which are being subsidized by the government.
- Little or no planning:
We do not like to hear this but, many parents go into parenthood without being prepared. The truth is, being a parent and preparing for whatever it takes requires you to be visionary. While one’s finances are very important, preparation shouldn’t just be about financial matters. Preparation should entail having realistic expectations, acknowledging the commitment that it involves, nurturing your mind, and taking advantage of opportunities.
- Bad habits:
Bad habits have put many in debt. Many are being controlled by impulse buying and they keep accruing debt just because they can. Quite a number of us even pay for unused services and at times we buy things we do not even need based on our emotions. Some practices must be let go of before we can be financially free.
Six (6) Solutions to Financing Parenthood.
- Financial Management:
What is Financial management?
Financial management simply means understanding your financial situation and getting the right knowledge that would equip you with the skills to plan your finances through rigorous personal budget preparation and implementation. Financial planning is very important in achieving financial goals and objectives. Your financial plan should also contain realistic steps that would help you make the most of your finances.
- Discipline Yourself:
When some people hear financial management, the first thing that comes to mind is they don’t have enough money to start practising financial management. You hear them say “when plenty of money comes, I will learn how to manage my finances.” Financial management is important for everyone.
Whether you are a salary earner, business owner or a single parent, you need to learn how to manage money effectively. Do not buy a thing that you do not need. If you are going to do that, maybe because you have promised your child, then you do that from spare funds (that is, if you have any).
- Create a financial plan and a personal budget.
Ask yourself questions such as, how much do I earn? How much do I spend on feeding, transport and other basic needs? How can I ensure that this money sustains my family to the end of the week or month? It is very effective when you outline a list of expenses to see things you can do without. A financial plan and budget gives you an overview of your spending pattern and in turn, helps “keep check” of your spending to avoid overspending
Financial disciplining is a way of training one’s spending and buying. It entails self-control and prioritizing. It is the ability to say no to things even when you so desperately want them. Discipline in terms of financial management means saying no to things whether you have the money to spend or not. It is the financial discipline that helps you stick to your budget and financial goal. Don’t borrow money to look expensive on social media or to look good. People will only like your appearance or like your pictures. No one will pay up the debts for you. For lovers of food, do not use all your money to buy food. The importance of stocking up on food cannot be overemphasized. However, it is important to have at the back of the mind that it is not advisable to use all of one’s hands to eat.
- Identify ways to reduce basic money expenditure.
Think about how to cut down costs If you are a person that loves a particular brand of an item. If you don’t have the money, consider getting a similar and cheaper brand. This does not necessarily mean cutting down on quality as you can always still go for quality while considering the expense at the same time. What is that thing that bores a big hole in your finances? Is it clothes? Is it take-outs? Or monetary gifts to people? A friend of mine decided to cut the way she drank soft drinks. Anytime she had the urge to drink a chilled bottle of mineral, she decided to save the money. After some time, she gathered the money and discovered that she had saved quite an impressive amount of money. Not only did she save up, but she was also able to improve her health by opting for healthier choices.
- Improve your income revenue.
It is no news that having multiple sources of income is the best new thing in town. Having to not only depend on one source of income not only emancipates you from running into debt but also gives you more room to save. It doesn’t matter if you live from paycheck to paycheck, all that should matter is having multiple sources of income and making sure you are not spending more than you earn.
- Health insurance:
Insurance? I know what you are thinking. We all know that anything relating to insurance is a trial-and-error kind of situation in this country. Most insurance companies in Nigeria pay out only when it is too late and sometimes, they insist on not paying at all. However, there are still a few of them that are very helpful. They provide comprehensive and affordable plans for families. For those who cannot ply this option, I would suggest you put out funds for hospital expenses. We all know that health is wealth and we can only continue being there for our children when we are alive. The health fund should be kept aside for an emergency time and shouldn’t be dipped into for trivial issues.
In conclusion, the challenges of financing parenthood in this part of the world is rapidly increasing. We owe it to ourselves and our children to provide at least the basic things. In the quest of making and having money, we should be reminded that financial management is the solution to the sustainability of our financial freedom. It is also imperious to understand that money can so easily be lost faster than it was to make. This is why we must be prepared to set and review our financial goals, effectively manage our resources, be disciplined in our financial spending, focus on achieving financial freedom for the assurance of a better future for our children.