Personal

The Day My Personal and Financial Life Changed

December 27, 2012 was the day that my whole world changed.  I had to starting thinking less about myself and more about someone else.  This day was when my son was born.  While I was trying to mentally and monetarily prepare for that day for at least nine months, nothing would have prepared me for how I actually felt that day.  Many people can tell you that there is nothing more special than the birth of your baby.  I never could comprehend what they were talking about because I didn’t have children.  Now, I know what they are talking about.  Not only did my personal life change, but so did my financial life.  Now, how am I going to manage both of those changes simultaneously?

Yes, that is a picture of my son.  We took it when he was 5 days old and just cuddled up in his favorite blanket.

My Personal Life

We all know that our personal lives will change when a baby is brought into the world.  It is pretty much common sense.  Though I knew this was going to change, I never imagined by how much.  My wife and I never really had plans about how we would spend our nights and weekends, but now I know that is out the door.  We used to be able to just get up and go to a friends house, a bar, or out to eat.  Now, we can barely figure out who is going to hold him first while the other eats dinner alone (our son is a crier and loves being moved).

We no longer can just get up and go somewhere. Now that task encompasses working out very detailed plans and making sure we have enough diapers, wipes, clothing, and any necessary emergency precautions.  I am a planner, but this has become exhausting already.

Even though our personal lives have changed, I couldn’t imagine our life without him.  I could stay at home all day and enjoy his smiles and crazy sounds.  Now that I have gone back to work, I find myself staring at my computer with his picture on it.  I miss my son when I am in the office.  I wish I got to spend more time with him during the day.

My Financial Life

This is a big one.  Since I just finished paying off all of my $50,000 worth of credit card debt back in July 2012, I knew that a baby was going to be a big hit financially.  We all know this to be true as well, but the numbers are staggering.  I found a great infographic and posted it not too long ago asking “Where Does The Money Go When Raising A Child?“.  It is eye opening and a little scary.

My biggest concern financially is whether we are ready for the financial pressure of a child.  My wife and I are in good places with our jobs, but we could have waited a little longer in order to push up our savings.  This would have been my plan, but my wife had a different one.  She always told me that she wanted to have a child before 30.  Our son was born 9 days before my wife turned 29, so I made it!  I don’t think anyone is really financially “ready” to be a parent, but as long as you in a good place and can manage your money, then go for it.

My biggest shock was when we signed him up for daycare.  He doesn’t go in until he is 4 months old, but dang.  I think I am in the wrong business.  There are not too many ways that you can save on childcare if you choose the daycare route.  Luckily, my wife’s employer gives us a discount at the daycare that we chose.  With daycare, you actually do “get what you pay for”.  I wouldn’t skimp here.   There are some things not worth being too frugal about.

Save for College the Smart Way!Now, with a baby, I also had to be aware of all things going on in our finances.  I needed to make sure that I was doing well at my job, bringing home the bacon, and using it effectively.  I also wanted to make sure that I was setting up my son with a quality college education fund.  After doing research, I decided to set  him up with a 529 savings account from North Carolina, since it has good funds to invest in along with tax deduction implications.  I also setup a Upromise account that will put any money that we save with our Upromise Mastercard directly into his 529 account.  It might not be a lot of money, but it is better than nothing.

I have a lot of things going on in my head right now on how I can teach my son to be financially responsible, but that will come as he grows.  Right now, I have to focus on making sure that my wife and I are comfortable with the financial changes and work on ways to make more income.  We have not talked about having another baby, but who knows if/when that chat might come.  I am just trying to figure out how to get through this initial financial and personal hurricane.

If you have kids, how did your life change?  Was the change for the better?  Did your son/daughter motivate you to get your finances in order?

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Grayson Bell

Grayson Bell

I'm an average guy who used credit cards too much and found myself in over $50,000 in debt. I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I know talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a Wordpress management company, along with three other blogs. They are Sprout Wealth, Eyes on the Dollar, and Empowered Shopper.

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52 Comments

  1. January 14, 2013 at 10:18 am — Reply

    I’d imagine that having a kid would be somewhat of a minor change. lol. We’re each 28 and I’m not sure when we’ll have kids. I can’t see it happening anytime soon but I’d like to have them by the time we’re 32 or so.

    • January 14, 2013 at 10:22 am — Reply

      Yeah, I would go with “minor”! I don’t think I could have ever imagined how it all would be like.

  2. January 14, 2013 at 12:10 pm — Reply

    Good post Grayson. It’ amazing how your life changes, isn’t it? You think it’s possible to not to love someone so instantly, but it does happen. Our lives did change and that’s putting it lightly. Try adding more on top of it and it changes even more. :) Thankfully we had already gotten our financial house in order prior, so it just encouraged us to do it even more so.

    • January 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm — Reply

      Thanks John. I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend how many changes would take place even with an experienced parent telling me. You can’t even fathom what changes until you actually become a parent.

  3. January 14, 2013 at 12:32 pm — Reply

    I imagine it’s quite a shock, but it’s one I’m looking forward to someday! He’s such a cutie! :)

    • January 14, 2013 at 12:36 pm — Reply

      A shock is putting it lightly.

  4. January 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm — Reply

    Great article Grayson. When my wife and I had our first child we had to move back in with my parents because we were having some renovations done on our house. Everything worked out OK but it added a lot of extra stress to our lives and our son was a pretty good crier as well. Once we moved back in a month later everything seemed to go back to normal at least for the most part.

    • January 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm — Reply

      Thanks Chris. I have found that when you start getting him used to something and then that changes, he doesn’t do very well.

  5. January 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm — Reply

    Awwww, he is so cute :)

    Yes, children change your life in more ways than one can fathom! My daughter is 2 and sometimes I am amazed that this little girl is my kid :) All I can say is it goes by fast so cherish that first smile, that first roll-over, and all the little “firsts” that happen!

    • January 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm — Reply

      Thank you Mackenzie. I am waiting for the firsts to start, some have come, but they are not anything to write home about.

  6. January 14, 2013 at 3:38 pm — Reply

    Our daughter is not two months and it is a huge change. Every decision I make now is based on her and what will be best for her life. It’s awesome.

    • January 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm — Reply

      I hope everything is going back to normal after those vaccinations. It is a little strange to now have to make decisions based on someone else entirely. I like it, but it can be scary.

  7. January 14, 2013 at 4:10 pm — Reply

    Congrats again! In terms of waiting, honestly there is never a perfect time for kids, there will always be that one thing you wanted to get done, that extra money you want to save you can never be 100% prepared. If hubby and I waited for all our ducks to be in a row we’d never have kids and that’s a fact. Me going on mat leave and losing so much income ended up being the kick in the ass we needed. In a way we needed to have a kid to get our life in order.

    It gets easier :) I still haven’t yet learned how to slow down when I eat, a baby will turn a steak dinner into a fast food meal haha. We spent the first 3 months holding her just as you said and at 7months shes starting to sleep longer at night (the only downside of breastfeeding is that it digests very quickly). I hate hearing about moms having to go back to work so soon in the US…we’re entitled to the full year in Canada, every mom should have the option :(

    • January 14, 2013 at 4:12 pm — Reply

      Thanks Catherine. We are learning to eat very fast or one eats while the other one holds. I wish my wife would be able to stay at home, but our finances don’t allow it at this time. I have been trying to figure out the math, but it just doesn’t work. I hate that she only gets 3 months and I know it is going to kill her when she has to go back. The US is so far behind when it comes to maternity leave.

  8. Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy
    January 14, 2013 at 4:15 pm — Reply

    Aww, what a precious little peanut! Little Grayson looks so cozy wrapped in his blanket. Yep, life will never be the same, financially or otherwise. And I’ve been severely bitten by the love bug. :) You’d have to be since right now I am trying to type this while singing “Winnie the Pooh” to my little one to keep her occupied. Life sure has changed. And, congratulations, Daddy!!!

    • January 14, 2013 at 4:17 pm — Reply

      Thank you Jennifer. There is such thing as love at first sight. If you don’t believe in it, then wait to you have a child. Boom! Instant! I spent last night humming and swaying side to side because the little man was not going to sleep. I stayed up all night just so my wife could get some sleep.

  9. January 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm — Reply

    I love this! Kids change everything, they say – after all, it’s the biggest responsibility in the world, being responsible for another human being.

    • January 14, 2013 at 4:27 pm — Reply

      Yes they do. You learn really quickly how to do things.

  10. Tackling Our Debt
    January 14, 2013 at 6:59 pm — Reply

    Your son is absolutely ADORABLE!! Congratulations again. I know it is a big adjustment in so many ways but as you already feel, it is so worth it. We do not have kids, so can’t really answer your question :-)

    • January 14, 2013 at 7:33 pm — Reply

      Thank you Sicorra, I appreciate the kind words.

  11. January 14, 2013 at 7:42 pm — Reply

    Congrats! And cute kid :)

    It’s amazing, isn’t it? Everything changes, permanently.

    Nice work on starting the 529, I’m just getting started this year (a year late!).

    For us financially, we haven’t seen a big hit besides my wife quitting work and staying at home. We are also blessed with a HUGE family that absolutely spoils the kid, so we’ve had not a need in the past year as far as clothing, etc.

    I’m super excited for you man! Hope to hear about more of your ventures in the coming months!

    • January 14, 2013 at 10:19 pm — Reply

      Thanks Jacob. I had the 529 on my whiteboard and I like when I can erase something. I wish my wife could quit, but until we get out of this house, she has to work, unfortunately.

  12. January 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm — Reply

    Really solid post. Congrats on your son! Honestly I think you waited about as long as you can, and I totally agree with this -> “I don’t think anyone is really financially “ready” to be a parent, but as long as you in a good place and can manage your money, then go for it.” People have kids in very bad financial situations (which you are NOT in it sounds like), but they usually persevere through it, so as much as I worry about people having kids who are not financially stable I agree that you can never be fully “ready” for children financially (or personally!). I’m only 24 and my wife is 23, and we probably will have kids about the same time (if all goes as planned) haha. Despite not having kids anytime soon, I do look forward to your posts on it.

    Congrats again!

    • January 14, 2013 at 10:20 pm — Reply

      Thanks DC. The wife and I are in a good place and can handle the expenses.

  13. January 14, 2013 at 8:29 pm — Reply

    Congrats, Grayson! Being a father (and husband) is the most rewarding thing in my life. I’m happy for you, and for the amazing journey you have just begun. Every age is precious – enjoy every step of the way. I stare at my kids in awe (son -14, daughter – 10) at the wonderful human beings they are becoming – in spite of the parents they have that had no idea what they were doing. LOL.

    • January 14, 2013 at 10:21 pm — Reply

      Thank you Travis. Though tiring, it has been rewarding so far. You get to watch him sleep and just wonder how he will turn out when he is older. Such great memories to come.

  14. January 14, 2013 at 8:50 pm — Reply

    As an older person with adult children, I would say it never stops when they move out. I am not complaining though, my children are responsible successful adults. I enjoy our conversations and getting together with them.

    Although our lives changed, we were well prepared for their arrival and had our financial live swell organized. It was during their very young days that I started multiple businesses.

    • January 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm — Reply

      I think my parents would say the same thing. I am their youngest and the last one to have a child, so I think they feel that they are now free! I am hoping to grow this blog as he grows.

  15. January 14, 2013 at 9:48 pm — Reply

    Adorable! Trust me when I say that your baby will be worth every penny and more! Enjoy every moment.

    • January 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm — Reply

      Thanks Holly. I think he is well worth it.

  16. January 14, 2013 at 10:05 pm — Reply

    Such a cute cute cute picture! I have observed the change in many friends who became parents, they started to push harder to get promotions and make extra income, which I think is terrific. Glad you were able to get your finances in order before your little angel arrived. Tackling both at once may have been a challenge.

    • January 14, 2013 at 10:24 pm — Reply

      Thanks Pauline. I started pushing harder when my wife got pregnant and have some things in the works.

  17. January 14, 2013 at 10:05 pm — Reply

    He’s is absolutely precious. We don’t have kids yet, and I can’t even begin to imagine how they would change our lives. I always thought I’d have kids by 30, but now at 30, it all seems so scary. I agree with you on childcare, esp. of a little one who can’t talk yet. You never want to skimp because you totally get what you pay for. Congrats again!

    • January 14, 2013 at 10:25 pm — Reply

      Thank you KK for the comment. I appreciate it.

  18. January 14, 2013 at 11:58 pm — Reply

    Awww! I bet you can’t remember what it was like without him. That first year is really tough mentally and financially, but it goes soooo fast and you look back and wonder what happened. We did not get our finances in order right away, but having our daughter did start us down the right path for most things. If you don’t want your child to do it, don’t do it yourself.

    We were having the conversation today at work about how short maternity leave is in the US. I only took 6 weeks and was a basket case for the next two or three months because of the Mommy guilt. Luckily, I am working part time now, and can be around for all the activities five year olds do and she won’t remember that I wasn’t there when she was a baby. I want to make it count from now on. One thing working does is make you take the time you have and make it meaningful. Congratulations! He’s a cutie.

    • January 15, 2013 at 10:16 am — Reply

      That is very true Kim. I can’t remember much of what it was like without him. I know my wife is going to struggle not being around him when he goes to daycare, but it works out well for us because by the time I take him in and the time she pulls him out, he will only be there for 3-4 hours. Thanks again Kim!

  19. January 15, 2013 at 12:51 am — Reply

    We don’t have children yet, and one of the reasons is we don’t know if we’re financially prepared. I think you said it well though, no one really is ever COMPLETELY prepared, we just prepare as well as we can and hope it all works out!

    • January 15, 2013 at 10:16 am — Reply

      It is so true. We would never had even thought about getting pregnant if we waited for the “right” moment.

  20. January 15, 2013 at 7:47 am — Reply

    I was actually going to do a very similar post in the coming weeks regarding my changing finances due to our tardy little one. It will have to be really good now that people have something to compare it to :\

    I think that you have the right mindset when it comes to tackling your finances and supporting your family.

    • January 15, 2013 at 10:18 am — Reply

      I look forward to hearing what your post will say Glen. Good luck to you when you little one decides to come.

  21. January 16, 2013 at 9:11 pm — Reply

    My daughter is the reason I’m out of debt. My daughter is the reason I quit my job and started working for myself. My daughter is the reason I do most things. She changed me so much but I’m such a better person now that I have her. Having a kid changes everything because it really isn’t just about you anymore. My husband and I would sacrifice anything so she wouldn’t have to go without (and believe me, we did). It seems like you recognize that and I think you and your wife are going to do just fine.

    And congratulations! He’s absolutely adorable.

    • January 16, 2013 at 9:12 pm — Reply

      Thanks Jana. I appreciate you coming by and providing some feedback!

  22. jim
    January 18, 2013 at 8:31 am — Reply

    You young guys are restoring my faith in the human race! Good for you – and all your babes – what a little doll-baby angel!

    I know it’s exhausting – but there’s never been a better “exhaustion” put on the face of the earth. Too sweet for words that baby is. So step up and keep that baby safe – yes for at least 2 more decades. (ha – that’s an insider joke – it never ends). Then write your parents and say “Thanks – Wow – I never knew”.

    signed,
    the old guy

    • January 18, 2013 at 11:04 pm — Reply

      Haha, thanks Jim. I am trying to make my mark on the human race. We are not all lost to technology and losing our common sense. I have already thanked my parents.

  23. January 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm — Reply

    Congratulations to you and your wife! As a father of two, I can tell you that it only gets better (and a little easier, in terms of sleep as least :)) Speaking of financial obligations though, it seems to only get more expensive. Dance lessons, playdates, educational activities, not to mention if you decide to go the private school route. But it is all so worth it. And with efficient planning, it is totally doable! And remember to enjoy every second, because it flies by. Insanely fast!!

    • January 18, 2013 at 10:48 pm — Reply

      Thank you for your comment. I have heard that it gets easier, but definitely not less expensive. I am trying to enjoy every moment because I know that one day, I will wake up and he will be grown up.

  24. Peter Sorrells
    January 18, 2013 at 4:15 pm — Reply

    Congratulations! On your beautiful new baby, and also congrats on paying off all that debt! Having and raising a baby to adulthood is a major life change in finances, schedule, priorities – everything. Maybe this will help on the financial side: http://amzn.to/VfGgZj send me your email address and I’ll gift a free Kindle version to you.

    blessings to you and your family –

    Pete

    • January 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm — Reply

      Hello Peter, thank you for stopping by to comment. I would love to get a copy of your book. It look likes a good read. Look for my email!

  25. January 20, 2013 at 12:35 am — Reply

    Congratulations! your son is gorgeous. I can only imagine how much your life changes once a child enters your life. You are in a good place and things will only get better!

    • January 20, 2013 at 1:03 am — Reply

      Thank you very much Michelle. I appreciate you stopping by to comment.

  26. February 6, 2013 at 9:56 am — Reply

    Grayson, I can’t believe I missed this post. Congratulations! I can only imagine how my life perspective will change once I have a child. College may be $1 million by the time he is old enough but don’t worry, you still have 20 years of saving to go :P

    • February 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm — Reply

      Haha, no worries. I hope that college is not $1 million, but who knows these days. Hopefully he will get a scholarship or something.

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