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The Get-Real Money Guide

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You've probably read other articles about what you should be doing financially to prepare for your child. The experts have told you that you need to write a will, choose guardians, pay off your debt, establish a college-savings plan, squirrel away for retirement, and buy life insurance. In a perfect world, yes, you should do all of those things. But the truth is, no one's perfect. You'll have so much to deal with during pregnancy and your baby's first year that you'll be lucky if you get around to even clipping a few diaper coupons. In fact, in a Babytalk.com poll, only 2 percent of moms said they wrote a will when they were pregnant. More than a third owned up to doing absolutely nothing during their pregnancy to prepare financially.

So give yourself a break. If you have the time, energy, and money to do a few of those things, then great. Otherwise, focus on making sure you have enough savings to get you through the coming months. Kevin McKinley, a certified financial planner, author of the book Make Your Kid a Millionaire, and father of three, helped us make a list of all the basics you may have to spend money on from now until your baby turns 1. Not everything will apply to you, so check what you think you'll need and add up the totals. Then, work on reserving enough cash to cover it all. If you know the expenses that might come up, you won't be caught unprepared.

What you might spend:

Maternity wear It's about karma. A woman passes along a box of clothes to her sister, who gives it to you after her pregnancy. You, in turn, will give it to a friend once you deliver. Take advantage of this pay-it-forward chain to save big bucks. If you like your fashions new (or need sharp clothes for work), your tops-and-bottoms line can add up. total: $100 to $1,000

Health/medical You'll have co-payments (usually $10 to $15) for both your ob-gyn and, once the baby is here, the pediatrician. Non-covered hospital delivery charges are usually nominal but, depending on your insurance, can be up to $500. Add on another $50 to $100 for infant medical supplies. total: $450 to $1,400

Nursery You could, of course, go crazy decorating the nursery, but there are really only a few basics that you need: a crib and bedding, a dresser with a built-in changing area, a baby monitor, toys (though you'll get plenty as gifts), and a comfy rocking chair or glider. total: $750 to $1,450

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