Does your household have a baby on the way? You’ll want to start planning your upcoming budget early, since caring for a new addition to the family will entail a major financial investment.

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Of course, parents want to give their children the absolute best when it comes to food, clothing, education, and entertainment. But you’ll also need to make sound financial decisions so you can provide for the family over the long term.

Here are five substantial items you’d be smart to start budgeting for in advance.

1. A college fund

It’s never too early to start saving for your child’s future in higher education. It’s difficult to tell what college tuition and fees will be like nearly two decades from now, but you’ll want to be prepared for significant contributions in any case.

Talk with your local bank to learn about college savings packages, such as 529 plans, which are not taxed by the federal government. There are a number of ways to invest funds incrementally for your child’s future education.

Just commit what you can afford on a monthly basis: You’ll have 18 years to save up!

2. Nutrition

Your child’s overall health and well-being hinges on a well-rounded diet. It is important that you consult a doctor throughout your child’s various stages of development and learn about their nutritional needs.

Unlike adults, children experience an enormous amount of formative changes. Unhealthy eating habits can have permanent effects on your child’s health and physique.

Nutrition is such a vital priority that the federal government encourages women to start taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, even before pregnancy.

3. Medical bills

Regular physician checkups are crucial to the health of your children. During these appointments, doctors check to see if your child is developing normally, conduct physical examinations, and administer essential immunizations.

Parents must budget for copays and prescriptions. You should also set up an additional fund for medical emergencies.

4. Furnishings

After the mother gives birth at the hospital, the baby will need a place to stay in your home. This means you should have a dedicated nursery area or baby room set up in advance.

Some of the items you’ll need to budget for include a crib, baby monitor, stroller, diaper disposal, and a car seat. These essentials can be quite costly, especially if you wait until the last minute and have to buy something urgently.

Parents should work together to furnish their home with baby supplies early. That way, you can track down the best possible deals.

5. Diapers

There’s no question about it: Your baby will be going through multiple diapers each day. It’s an essential factor in the child-rearing process.

You can reduce the yuckiness of this responsibility by being prepared with a well-equipped diaper bag. Search for coupons to save on diapers, since you’ll need a long-term supply!

As a new parent, you don’t want to be caught off guard by surprise childrearing expenditures. Get your budget together early, so you can provide the best for your family while saving for your children’s future adventures.

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