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Thinking about starting a family? Then it’s time to look closely at your finances because the costs will add up quickly.

Think about diapers, car seats, strollers, cribs, day care, insurance and much more.

And now is a good time to plan a budget, save money and pay down debt. The less you owe, the easier it will be to take on new expenses.

Experts suggest looking at your regular monthly spending and seeing if there is any way you can cut back. If possible, you should be putting money into an emergency savings account so you’ll have extra money when you need it. And they recommend paying off any debt, such as credit card bills or loans.

That’s because babies can be expensive. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that a new baby could cost you in the range of $12,000 their first year, and costs likely will rise as they age.

Here are some initial expenses to consider:
• Insurance. You’ll want to ensure your new child is covered by health insurance and you may want to adjust your life insurance. Health insurance alone could be an extra $400 a month.
• You’re going to need diapers, bottles, clothes, toys, a car seat, stroller and probably a crib.
• Factor in any unpaid time you or your spouse will be taking off from your job.
• Childcare can be expensive. Unless you have a family member willing to do it for free, you’ll need to look for either in-home care or a regular childcare center.

While costs will vary based on where you live and other choices you make, it’s important to be aware of what you’re going to need and how much you’ll likely be spending.

Talk with a financial advisor or tax professional about your various options to save money before and after your new child joins the family.

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