Even after the costs of family planning, you’ll still have to think about what comes after: financially providing for your new family, saving for emergencies, and building a healthy relationship with money. All of this starts with the B-word: budgeting.
Let’s break it down. Here’s how to handle your money without going totally crazy as you build a budget.
There's a lot of talk about budgeting literally everywhere you look – how to start, how to set one up, and how you should be storing your savings – but what about how to approach it mentally? After all, you won't be able to stick to a budget if you're not in the right mindset.
So let's talk about some mental ways to approach budgeting and money management so that you can get on the right path and stay there.
• Set goals. Living your best life isn’t just about living in the now – it’s also about thinking about the “what next.” Think about what you want next in your life. Kids? A house? To move closer to your family? When you think about saving for those big steps, focus your energy on getting closer to those goals, not on the stress of setting aside money to get there.
• Think about your spending. There’s a lot of shame around spending, and for what? You know what you want and need to live your life, and as long as you know where all your money is going (whether to necessities like food, bills and utilities, or other necessities like drag night tickets), you’re good to go.
• Look at what you have. You have to start somewhere, right? Look at how much money you make monthly after taxes and other deductions have been taken out by your employer (including any 401K contributions). Then compare this number with how much you spend each month on bills, rent/mortgage payments, groceries, and other necessities. This is a simple way to tell if you’re living within your means.
Budgeting can be as simple as keeping track of what you spend and save in a spreadsheet or using an app to manage your finances in real time. Here are some of our favorite suggestions to help you get started.
Spreadsheets are an essential tool for tracking your money. A spreadsheet may be all you need if you're just starting on your own or have never kept track of your finances. You can use an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheets, whichever works best.
If you want to use your budget to both save and spend, envelope budgeting is a great approach. The idea is that you – either physically with cash or digitally through an app or spreadsheet – apportion your money to different categories.
For example, if you get paid twice a month and pay rent at the start of every month, you can fill your “rent” envelope out of both paychecks, empty that envelope at the start of the next month, and start again. But if you make a “car repair” envelope that doesn’t get touched except when you have an emergency, the money in that envelope can just continue to build up.
If you’re glued to your phone at all times or prefer the advantage the digital age can offer you, budgeting apps can be a great resource to help you manage your finances. The best budgeting apps are designed to be easy and flexible for any situation.
They also offer features that make it easier for you to track your spending, create and stick to a budget, and ensure you're always aware of what's going on with your money.
App-powered budgeting is becoming increasingly popular because it offers convenience and flexibility that traditional methods simply can't match. People are more likely to use an app than they are to keep track of their finances manually, which means it's easier than ever before to stay on top of your money management.
Despite how scary ti seems, you don't have to be a certified accountant or work in a large corporation to grasp the basic principles of budgeting. By getting your finances into order and planning for the future, you'll set yourself up for success on many levels. You'll become more organized, have greater peace of mind, and even save a little money.
At Daylight Grow, we believe the world needs more queer parents – and we help make that happen. Whether you know you want to start or add to your family through surrogacy or you’re still exploring your options, Daylight Grow is here to help through our family planning concierge, resource center, and community dedicated to supporting queer parents as they navigate the family-building process. Learn more and join today!