Becoming a parent is a joyful and life-altering experience like no other. It will also change your financial priorities immediately. Your daily spending habits will adjust overnight. Gone are the days of eating out two or three times per week, excessive traveling or other carefree, new adventures.
It is imperative to be financially prepared when becoming a new parent. Credit card planning can be a big milestone in the new mom journey.
Why a Credit Card?
When you have a new baby, you face a myriad of expenses. From the cost of delivering the baby to the variety of child care products and services you'll need, a new mom has to learn to balance the costs of caring while being financially responsible. Moreover, the new parent must be ready for unexpected expenses too, such as a visit to the emergency room. Credit cards may help manage and even offset some of these expenses while providing flexibility and peace of mind.
What Type of Cards to Look For
While the needs from one parent to another parent may vary slightly, here are some of the basic things to look for in a new credit card to meet your individual needs:
Always look for cards with no annual fee. That's one less expense to shell out of your wallet when you're juggling with your new familial responsibilities.
If you think you will need to use credit extensively to meet the burden of extra costs, look for a card that offers 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR). This can provide flexibility in terms of paying back the card balance. Be sure to understand the terms and conditions and the time frame of the 0% APR so that you can create a plan around paying back the balance without incurring interest and finance charges.
- Introductory Balance Transfer APR0% for the first 18 months
- Introductory FeeIntroductory fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater, for 120 days from account opening
- Up to $600 of protection for your cell phone which covers damage and theft when you pay your cell phone bill with this card.
- Gain free access to your FICO credit score.
Look for a card that offers easy to use rewards points for your spending on let's say groceries or baby products, etc. This way, the card earns rewards without you having to think about rewards categories or time frames. In such cases, it is further advantageous to opt for cash back rewards card. What better way to use rewards than to turn them into cash? While you're at it, skip over the cards that offer double or triple rewards points on traveling and entertainment. It is likely you will be cutting back on those type of expenses in your early days of being a parent.
- Everyday Cash BackUnlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and it's automatic, without any minimum or expiration (as long as your account remains open)
- Annual FeeNo Annual Fee
- Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and it's automatic.
- No minimum needed to redeem cashback rewards.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months for purchases and balance transfers.
- No annual fee.
In addition, in some cases, it may be beneficial to open a store-branded card from the retailer. If you know which stores you will be likely shopping most for baby products, obtaining the store credit card and related benefits can payoff in big rewards in the long run.
After obtaining appropriate credit cards, it is just as important to keep track of them and pay off due balances timely. The last thing a parent needs to worry about is late payment fees and defaults.
Overall, a credit card planning for a new parent can translate into financial burden ease, credit rewards and savings, and with plenty of options out there, you're sure to be able to find the right card for you.