HOUSTON When you first start a family it can be tough to predict just how much money you ll need, but we have some ideas on getting ahead.
The average child will cost parents $221,000 by the time they are seventeen.
Childcare was more than I thought it would be, said Emily Rozwadowski.
On childcare alone, the mother of two spends $1,300 a month.
She can expect to spend $221,000 on each child until they re 17.
That doesn t include college, said Kelley Long a CPA.
Emily went to the accountant for help. Long has a simple, low-tech way to keep parents on track: use cash, instead of plastic.
It s a lot harder to hand over six, $20 bills for a pair of boots than to swipe your card. I like to go old-fashioned and use the envelope method, Long said.
She said determine what you can spend on things like groceries, baby clothes and dining out and then put that cash in separate envelopes every month.
When the money s gone, it s gone, she said.
If you blow your grocery budget, take it out of another envelope, don t go back to the bank. Discipline is key she said.
Well, that s just like a diet. You got to do it, she said.
If you re tempted to break your budget use a few sticky notes.
Would this money be better spent for baby s college? Stick it right on your debit card, and before you can swipe it, you have to take that sticker off, she said.
Rozwadowski is giving the envelopes a shot.
We try to follow them pretty closely, she said.
Long said before your baby is born, if you have a two-income family, try living off one income. Put the other parent s earnings in savings for everyday baby items or that expensive college bill.