By Bryan Trugman, CFP

It starts as soon as new parents find out they’re expecting. Their attitude toward sensible spending completely vanishes. From paying out of pocket for prenatal doctors’ visits to buying a brand-new crib, financial mistakes new parents make are unfortunately quite common.

Understandably, new parents typically focus on caring for their little one and putting their own financial needs on the back burner. But, ironically, family expansion makes it even more important to focus on sustainable financial planning and avoid the financial pitfalls of parenthood.

Here are some of the frequent financial mistakes new parents make.

Overspending on Baby Gear

At the top of the list of financial mistakes new parents make is paying extravagant prices for baby stuff.

Cribs, playpens, changing tables, strollers, books, toys, clothes, food, new nursery room furnishings…and the list goes on. As a new parent, it’s so tempting to make sure your new family member has everything they need. And then some.

Here’s a sobering statistic. Typical expenses for a baby’s first year of life average $15,000.

I see many of my clients going completely overboard with purchases for their babies, spending money they don’t have. Honestly, you don’t have to go into debt to give your baby the essentials. Here are some tactics to avoid buying baby items at full price:

  • Second-hand stores
  • Online marketplace
  • Friends, family, and neighbors with older children
  • Sales or clearance events
  • Coupons

Saving for College Instead of Retirement

Another one of the financial mistakes new parents make is prematurely saving for their child’s college education and not putting money away for their own retirement. This mistake could potentially put you in a tight spot financially in your golden years.

Remember, by the time your child is ready to head to college, they could apply for loans, grants, scholarships, or other types of financial aid. But there’s no financial aid for retirement. People approaching retirement without 20-30 years (or longer) of proper savings are in a difficult situation.

Having a “Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen” Attitude

Rainy days happen. They just do. And having an emergency savings fund (3-6 months of expenses is recommended) to cover life’s little emergencies is not only smart, it’s vital.

But lots of new parents, giddy with the joy of welcoming new life, choose to ignore this crucial financial safety net.

This avoidance of a rainy-day attitude can potentially result in taking on high-interest debt. Even smaller unexpected expenses can put a major dent in your financial outlook. It just doesn’t make financial sense to go without an emergency savings fund.

It can be scary to think about the nasty unexpected surprises life could throw at you, such as an illness, injury, or premature death. A trusted financial advisor can show you how to properly protect against the financial impact of these events by helping you put adequate life insurance, disability insurance, and legal documents in place. 

Not Enrolling in a Flexible Savings Account

Another item on the list of financial mistakes I see new parents make is not taking advantage of FSAs. Flexible savings accounts (FSAs) let you save pre-tax dollars to pay for medical and childcare costs. For example, you can use FSAs to pay for things like eyeglasses or routine doctor visits. FSAs, not to be confused with HSAs, are a smart way to offset new-parent expenses.

But lots of new parents ignore this financial benefit and end up absorbing the full cost of expenses that might have been FSA-eligible.

Take the Next Step

My team at Attitude Financial Advisors can help (either virtually or in person). We understand that each client has unique goals and concerns, and we work closely with them to develop a personalized plan that fits their needs—while avoiding the financial mistakes many new parents make. (Check out what our clients have to say about their experience working with us here.) 

To set up a free consultation, you can reach out via email at or give me a call at (516) 762-7603. I look forward to hearing from you!

About Bryan

Bryan Trugman is managing partner, co-founder, and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner at Attitude Financial Advisors. With more than 15 years of experience, Bryan specializes in addressing the financial needs of new parents as they seek to realign their finances, assisting divorced individuals as they navigate an unforeseen fork in the road, and strategizing with those seeking to accrue a dependable retirement nest egg. Bryan is known for being a good listener and building strong relationships with his clients so he can help them develop a customized financial plan based on what’s important to them. He is passionate about helping his clients experience financial confidence so they can worry less and play more. Bryan has a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering with a minor in mathematics from State University of New York at Binghamton. He has served on the board of the Financial Planning Association and continues to be actively involved in the national organization. He is also a member of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Chamber of Commerce and has served as its vice president and as a board member. When he’s not working, you can find Bryan on the ballroom dance floor or engaged in a fast-paced game of doubles on the tennis court. To learn more about Bryan, connect with him on LinkedIn. Or, watch his latest webinar on: How Much Is Enough? A Surprisingly Simple Way to Calculate Your Retirement Savings Needs.

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