In my family I am the accountant. I am in charge of making sure all the bills get paid and the savings accounts stay in the black. I am the steward of our finances and I want to be 100% sure I am doing a good job at it. I’m not sure how it is for other first time dads out there but one of my biggest concern when it comes to our baby is how we are going to afford it all.

To throw a wrench in all of this, when you go out on family leave because you are having a child you do not get paid your normal amount, unless of course you work for Yahoo. After doing some research I figured out that I will receive 55% of my normal wage once the family leave kicks in.

So I need a plan. One that will ensure we can meet all of our financial obligations and allow us to take time off to spend with our little boy. After some brainstorming this is what I came up with.

1.  Save as much vacation time as possible.

This is one of the most effective things I can do to extend my time off with my newborn. I will be able to add any vacation time to my leave and be paid at 100% my wage for that it. The only down side to this is that we just took our honeymoon last July and I used all the time I had on the books for that. So I essentially started at 0 when we found out we were expecting.

2.  Making cuts to the budget

I decided to look through what we are currently spending and place things into two categories, must pay and want to pay. The “must pay” group will be things like electrical, the mortgage, and so on. Anything in the “want to pay” group is fair game for when it comes time to cut the budget. This will not only help us to prepare our budget for after the baby comes but it leads into the next two steps very nicely.

3.  Paying off outstanding debt

We currently have a few debts we ran up, mostly associated with the wedding, and my goal is to get them paid off before the dob (date of birth). This will mean that we have more room in our budget for things like diapers and onesies because we are not tied to monthly payments on these debts. And if we can pay them down quick enough it will also help contribute to the next point.

4.  Save as large a cushion as possible

The goal here is to have as much money saved up in the bank as possible for a couple reasons. It will help to cover unexpected expenditures should they arise. And it will help to extend the length of family leave by allowing our budget to handle a longer period of time with reduced pay.

5.  Garage sale!

This last step is not one that can be relied to heavily on because there is no way to be sure it will yield the desired results. The plan is to go through the stuff we have on hand and find the things we don’t use. We then will either have a garage sale, or put them up on craigslist. That old table I have in the garage, the file cabinet we have to move out of the baby’s room anyway, they can all add up to real money and mean the difference between a three week and four week leave with the new baby.
This is what I have come up with so far. I know that in the end God will provide for us, but I definitely don’t want to be the guy sitting on his hands expecting a miracle check to come in the mail. If you have any other suggestions for ways to survive paternity leave let me know in the comments, or send me an email.

photo credit: kenteegardin via photopin cc