1. Use Mobile Banking
With Mobile BankingFootnote1, you're one click away from knowing your balances. You can also pay bills in one place, and deposit checksFootnote2 using your smartphone or tablet's camera rather than making a trip to a financial center. These features can help new parents save valuable time, stay in the know about balances, and pay bills conveniently—even during middle-of-the-night feedings.
2. Set up alerts
Email or text alertsFootnote3 can remind you when bills are due or notify you of suspicious activityFootnote4. Enable these notifications so you can stay on top of your finances and have peace of mind when life gets hectic.
3. Create a budget
Many people talk about creating a monthly budget, but few actually do it. If you haven't done this in the past, expanding your family is a good time to start budgeting: You'll have new expenses, and you’ll probably need to manage your money more carefully for your growing family. For example, one item that may change immediately is your grocery bill—it will probably become much bigger than before. You can manage some of that increase by clipping coupons, using bonus cards, buying certain items in bulk, and using a rewards card that may give you cash back when you spend. You can also sign up for discounted online delivery subscriptions for regular purchases such as diapers.
Set clear spending goals and look for areas where you can cut back. You’ll find that with a new addition at home, there’ll be less time for some of your previous leisure activities such as checking out the hottest new restaurants or a leisurely round of golf.
4. Consider consolidating accounts
Moving your accounts, to where you can access them on one site, can help simplify your financial life. Seeing all of your accounts in one place may help you to get a better understanding of your full financial picture and manage money more easily.
5. Manage all your money from one place
With new responsibilities come new expenses, so managing your finances is key—but it may feel harder when life is busy and spending patterns are changing. Bank of America’s My PortfolioFootnote5 tool can make money management easier by providing you with an online financial dashboard, allowing you to track all of your money from one place. You can create a customized budget, track your spending habits as they evolve, and see where you stand with your savings goals. My Portfolio can also import data from linked accounts at other financial institutions such as credit card companies, investment institutions and even other banks, giving you a clear view of your overall financial picture.
6. Start planning for college now
College may seem far away, but it’s never too early to start preparing. The earlier you start investing for college, the better off you’ll be financially. Plus, trying to catch up on college savings later on may be more difficult. Bank of America and Merrill Edge specialists can meet with you in person or by phone to advise you on the college savings options that fit your needs.
The Merrill Edge website has information on savings options such as a Section 529 college savings plan. You can also request an appointment online or use the Mobile Banking app to schedule an appointment. Once you do so, you may be able to set a certain amount that you want to contribute to a 529 plan automatically. Friends and relatives can also contribute to your child’s college savings through birthday and holiday gifts, for example.
Having a new baby is a life-changing experience—congratulations! Along with the diaper changes and 3 a.m. feedings, though, come some changes to your financial picture. Careful planning and a few fixes will help you feel more in control of your money. You may not be able to avoid sleepless nights right now, but, hopefully, worrying about your finances won’t be one of the things keeping you up at night.
Stay on top of your finances without leaving the house: Sign up for Mobile Banking.