Guest blog by Alison Therese, a New York-based gynecologist.
As if trying to conceive wasn’t difficult enough for many of us, 2020 decided to throw in another curve-ball with the pandemic. For hopeful parents, it adds another layer of uncertainty given the precarious economic conditions we’re all currently under.
In fact, Business Insider reached out to women who were trying-to-conceive (TTC), and many of them have reported to postponing fertility treatments due to unexpected financial stress. Many people have taken salary cuts or were furloughed, while millions more have filed for unemployment in the last few months. The current crisis may have also affected insurance coverage and costs for couples.
It goes without saying that starting a family requires financial stability. The process of getting pregnant alone can be pricey, especially for women who have to undergo fertility treatments. So whether you decide to pursue conception or postpone it, it’s always a good idea to start (or continue) building your finances now. That said, we’ve come up with a list of tips on how to keep your savings accounts healthy:
1. Earn extra income
It’s always nice to have extra cash for spending or saving. If you’re one of those people with added free time on their hands, consider thinking of ways to earn a side income. You can try looking for remote work and freelancing gigs through platforms like Upwork or Fiverr. Taking on one-off jobs is a great way to bump up the savings fund without making huge commitments.
For entrepreneurs, you can also take advantage of social media to sell your services or products. There are plenty of small businesses and professionals that have risen to the occasion, like dessert-makers or graphic designers.
2. Reassess your budget
Even if you’re not dealing with loss of income, now is as good a time as any to reassess your budget. This will help couples in allocating for expenses, specifically in deciding who pays for what. Marcus highlights that a joint savings account might come in handy for couples who normally keep their finances separate. This way, you can equally deposit into the account, which will be used to pay for shared expenses, such as rent and food.
Reviewing your budget frequently also allows you to adjust as needed. For example, you might reduce your budget for gas given that most people are forced to stay at home. Then, you can reallocate it towards something related to pregnancy or childbearing, like our Guided Meditation Programs designed to empower women who are TTC.
3. Consume wisely
After re-evaluating your budget, you may be surprised by how much unnecessary spending you make. For example, the average American household spends around $3,000 per year eating out. The solution, of course, is to cook more instead of getting take-out for every meal. Look for other ways that you can reduce spending or eliminate unnecessary expenses entirely. Some examples are to buy products in bulk or cancel unused subscriptions.
And instead of purchasing ready-made items, you can learn to take up DIY projects. You can grow your own food, repurpose old dresses to turn into maternity clothes, or build a crib from scratch.
4. Make smart investments
The savings you’ll make from small adjustments in your budget or earning a few extra bucks are all well and good, but they can, sometimes, seem like small steps. That is if you compare them to the earnings you can get from a good long-term investment strategy. Finance reporter Jeanie Ahn explains that investing as soon as possible gives you the benefit of earning more compound interest. It’s essentially interest on interest, and the longer you hold an investment instrument, the more your earnings will compound.
Whether you choose to invest in the stock market, government bonds, real estate, or startups is up to you. It’s best to consult with a financial advisor on what makes sense for your current financial situation. But the goal stays the same — building your savings now can help you prepare a financially secure future for your family.
Alison Therese is a New York-based gynecologist who devotes her time to research in the field. She is an active mother of three and tries her best to balance work with playing and reading to her kids on a daily basis.