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If there’s one thing I’ve learned while preparing to have my first child, it’s this: Babies aren’t cheap! Clothes, diapers, furniture, food—and there’s all kinds of other little baby stuff that I never even thought about.
Since having a baby can be very expensive, I want you to start saving immediately after finding out you are expecting. Which means, if you’re paying off debt, I want you to stop paying extra toward debt.
Yes, in this one instance, Rachel Cruze (that’s me)—you know, the woman who hates debt and wants you out of it as soon as possible—is telling you to stop paying off debt. That wasn’t a typo.
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Now, don’t misunderstand. I’m not telling you to ignore your debts. Keep paying the minimum payments. But use all the extra money you’ve been putting toward debt and save it for potential emergencies and unexpected expenses that come up throughout your pregnancy or after the baby is born.
You might call this your pregnancy emergency fund. It’s there just in case you need it.
And if you don’t, then guess what? You can take that large chunk of money you saved and put it toward your debt! Then, continue chipping away at your debts like you were before.
The key here is to be prepared, and that’s going to look a little different for everyone. Sit down with your spouse and make sure you understand how much your insurance will cover and what out-of-pocket expenses you’ll be facing. You can plan for that ahead of time. And, if not, your pregnancy emergency fund will be there to pick up the slack.
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I’m so excited about having a baby, and I hope you feel the same way when your little one enters the world. Don’t let your money situation add stress to one of the most miraculous moments in your life!
Rachel Cruze is a seasoned communicator and presenter, helping Americans learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. Her new book Smart Money Smart Kids, co-authored by her dad Dave Ramsey, released April 2014 and debuted at #1 on the New York Times best-sellers list. You can follow Rachel on Twitter at @RachelCruze, online at rachelcruze.com, or at facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.