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Babies cost a shocking

amount of money.

Along the lines of $250,000 to be precise.


Not only do babies require adorable onesies and squeaky toys,

but they also land like an asteroid on our own financial goals and priorities.

When parenthood hits, suddenly the stakes are much higher. We need to make smart financial decisions

not just for ourselves, but for this new tiny creature who’s depending on us.

In addition to making

me paranoid about the waft of second-hand smoke headed for my

baby on a walk, my new mom hormones also made me more motivated than

ever to make sure I could always provide for my baby. And at some point, I

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wanted to save for college and her future, too.

Getting our finances in order is one of the many things on our to-do lists when we become mothers. Doing so is like taking a prenatal vitamin for our future financial health.

It can help guard against some of the unexpected challenges that might crop up and ease the transition into parenthood.

Here are 6 easy ways to start off making strong financial choices for your family as you become a new mom.

Flex those money muscles.

Sign up for any available flex-spending programs through your workplace

for child care expenses, health care expenses, and commuting costs.

Sure, clipping a coupon for a crib or baby toy can save you money at the checkout register, but signing up for workplace tax benefits can have an even

bigger impact on your long-term savings.

The great thing about flex spending is that it gives you

tax advantages that can pay off year after year.

Find your recipes for success.

Develop a few easy-to-make, family-friendly meals that everyone enjoys.

You can use cookbooks by other moms like Weelicious for inspiration.

As your

child develops, he will grow up enjoying family meals—and may even learn a thing or two about cooking!

Eating simple meals at home will

save you tons in the long run compared to eating out—and it’s usually healthier, too!

One of my family’s favorite dishes, chicken

tortilla soup, not only saves us money, but inspires the whole family to gather around the table for a few minutes of quality time during our hectic days. Bonus: Leftovers make life so much easier. ?

Optimize your insurance.

Review your current

health insurance plan and make sure you’ve selected the optimal type for your

family.

Having a child is generally considered a life event that allows you to re-examine your current insurance choices and make new ones.

You might find that it makes

sense (and cents!) to select a different family plan than the one you’ve been using for

yourself.

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Be a cognizant consumer.

Research, compare prices, and save for any big child-related expenses,

including cars, cribs, and even homes.

Many new parents find that when they bring a new baby into their lives, they also need a bigger house or car, so an expanding family often coincides with these major purchases.

Give

yourself plenty of time (and sleep) to make the right choice.

Neutral colors are your frugal friends.

When you are shopping

for new baby items, try to stick with gender-neutral colors, which makes it easier

to re-use for future children. Plus, gender-neutral colors make baby gear twice as easy to sell (or donate) to others when

you no longer need it.

Considering gender-neutral ideas for baby’s nursery? Check out aqua, mint, or teal, with a pop of orange for a refreshingly fun scheme for a boy or girl!

It never hurts to ask.

Ask friends and family for gently used clothes, furniture, and toys.

Although you may choose to buy certain things new for safety purposes, such as a car seat or crib, you can use many other baby items that have been passed down

from friends and family.

Alternatively, check second hand stores for adorable (and inexpensive!) baby clothes, toys, and gear. Heck, babies grow so fast, half the clothes for sale may still have the tags on!

Pro tip: Find out if you have a neighborhood listserv or local Facebook exchange for baby gear. If so, you can share

that you are open to receiving items that others no longer need and you might

significantly cut down on your shopping list.

Baby

might not notice all of your money-saving efforts right now, but it’s only a matter of time before your child will thank you for all you have done...especially if you teach your little protégé a trick or two about saving for her own future family!

Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:


Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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