Fatherly Stuff: Addressing a Common Fatherhood Fear Part 1; Will I Be a Good Provider?

Feb 29, 2012

Addressing a Common Fatherhood Fear Part 1; Will I Be a Good Provider?

*This if the first of a three part series going over common first time fatherhood fears and how to overcome them*

Part 2Part 3

I remember it like it was yesterday: I was visiting my grandfather in New Jersey. We just finished lunch and had a great time catching up.
Then I got the phone call.
 It was my girlfriend, who for the past few weeks was not feeling quite like herself and decided to rule out any and all causes by taking a pregnancy test. I had no idea that my life was about to change forever.
As soon as she told me the news that she was going to have my child, a wave of excitement, fear, depression, joy and distress hit me over the head like a sack of potatoes. I mean, I just finished college in May of that year and was barely able to make rent, how in the world am I going to raise a child?
Everyone’s experience will be different, but that unique feeling mix of happiness and dread is a common emotion that I believe that all dads share. These feelings are especially strong in guys who go through this at a young age. At this particular stage of life, many of us are still trying to figure ourselves out and may not be at the most established place in life. Fear has a way of sucking the confidence right out of you and causing panic; That is, if you let it.
 As a man, the best way to overcome your fears is to attack them head on so when that baby comes into the world, you’re better prepared.
Over the next few days I will be looking at the common fears that I myself faced as a new father and the things that I did that helped me. First up:
  Financial Security (Will I be a good provider?)

It’s no secret that babies are expensive. Between clothes, formula (if not breastfeeding), childcare, diapers and other assorted equipment; expenses can total over $10,000 in the first year! And that’s not even considering college savings, which is estimated to cost up to $250,000 in the next 18 years. Although this fact is unavoidable, there are a few things you can do to make that pill a little easier to swallow:

1. Speak with a financial advisor

Talking with a professional will help you organize your budget, but they can also provide you options that have tax benefits such as dependent and health care spending accounts. They can also help you become aware of vehicles to help save for college, such as 529 plans.

2. Clothing

A funny thing about babies is that they have a tendency to grow. Quickly… Very quickly. This, on top of the fact that babies are poopy-pukey-drooly machines means you can potentially spend a lot of money keeping up with clothing demands. I remember our first experience buying newborn clothes at a department store. I think I almost fainted trying to figure out how such tiny clothes could be so expensive. There were a few things that we did to take this challenge on. The first option is checking out your local consignment shop. Even though the clothes are used, if you think of it, they have more than likely been worn for a few months tops by the former baby. Also, a good consignment shop owner will ensure the quality of clothing is high and at the same time they keep prices as low as possible. Another helpful option if available is taking advantage of family and friends. Personally, I don’t have family with children even close to my son’s age, but there are two moms at my  job and they each have one boy, 4 and 5 respectively. Whenever they clean out their kid’s closet, they’ll give me tons of toys and clothes to go through. Anything I can’t use I either donate them to Goodwill or help out a fellow parent who I know could use them.

3.    Smart Shopping

Another method of managing cost that works well for my family is smart shopping. One example of our routine is sitting down to create a weekly dinner menu, and then we cross check the food we need with the weekly sales and coupons to make sure we’re getting the best bang for our buck. Another smart shopping method we use is taking advantage of wholesale stores. Wholesale stores (main ones in Connecticut are BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club), sell their products primarily in bulk. You probably wouldn’t invest in a yearly membership just to buy a 12 pack of mayonnaise (unless you really like mayonnaise).But as a parent, the top items we shop wholesale for are diapers and wipes. Not only are you able to purchase larger quantities, the cost per diaper or box of wipes is significantly cheaper than what you would pay at a generic supermarket. This is especially true If you combine the purchase with a coupon.

I’ve only named the top few that worked for me, but there are many, many ways you can ensure you child has what they need.

I’m interested to hear about other techniques you dads out there use to save money. So let’s hear it!

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1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with the smart shopping. Especially when living on one income like we are.