A baby truly changes a lot of what people find normal. Waking up in the middle of the night to answer a child’s cry might be something that you don’t think you’ll do, but trust us — when you realize that that new life is counting on you and you alone, you’re going to want to make sure that you actually prepare as best as you can.

Yes, under the best circumstances every child would be planned out to the letter. However, we know that that really doesn’t happen. You will instead need to make absolutely sure that you’re doing what you can, but you have to acknowledge up front that there are going to be things that you just won’t be able to do. There are times where you’re going to have to pick your battles rather than just fight for the sake of fighting. It’s something that you have to be sure that you’re ready to actually handle.

Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do ahead of time to get ready for the baby.

First and foremost, you’re going to have to get humble. Yes, you probably want a room filled with new baby stuff, but the reality of the matter is that a new child is expensive. They need a lot of stuff, and the way babies grow means that they’ll be out of that phase quickly — onto more expensive stuff, right? Well, these days people have gotten pretty smart and realized that if they buy used rather than new, they can save a lot of money. If you are good friends with a family that has children that are only slightly older than your newborn would be, you might be able to get a few things for free too. If you are extremely low income, there are centers in place to help new mothers get clothing for their children when their money is very tight.

There’s nothing in the world that says that you have to wait for people to ask you. Be bold and up front when people try to ask you if there’s anything they can do. When it comes to being a new parent, you really do need all of the help that you can get. It’s one thing to feel like you can’t do it on your own, but what about if you actually had a team of people helping you every step of the way? That’s going to make you feel pretty good, right? Right!

When it comes to actual money, if you don’t have an emergency fund, now is the best time to start thinking about it. It’s very tempting to assume that you can float without an emergency fund, but this really isn’t a good idea at all. You’re going to need money to cover the things in life that just come out of nowhere. Car repairs and home repairs spring to mind. When you have a newborn child, you cannot let repairs fall to the bottom of the to-do list pile. This will only cause problems further down the road that you really don’t want, and what would be the point in that?

If you really have the money to spare, you’ll want to set up a savings account for your child. Teaching your child the value of money will be important later on, but when they’re just entering the world you want to make sure that the principle of time value of money is really on their side. That’s something that a lot of new parents skip over and then later regret. The earning power of money just sitting around collecting interest has to be seen to be believed. Indeed, go online and use a calculator to figure out the difference between investing a small amount every month at age 5 to 18 versus if you had started right from birth. If people really want to help, they can put birthday money and gifts into that account rather than buy material goods that aren’t going to be functional for very long.

Don’t forget about taking out a life insurance policy. A lot of people don’t really think about the long term, but life insurance is a good hedge against the unknown. If something happened to one or both of you, your life insurance policy would kick in to at least give the guardian of your child enough money to see that the child is properly raised. No one wants to go without the peace of mind of knowing that their children are really looked after. Unfortunately, the assumption is made that life insurance is just too expensive to really be considered. This isn’t the case at all — you can look online for life insurance and compare multiple quotes at the same time.

Speaking of budgeting, you have to make sure that you pay even closer attention to your budget than ever before. You want to make sure that you not only have the emergency fund going, but that you’ve cut out those cash sucking expenses that you don’t even care about but you’ve been too busy to cancel. The idea of going out to get those fancy magazine subscriptions sounds nice when they’re giving you free gifts, but how many times are you actually going to be able to sit down and read them? If you have six months wroth of magazines piled up waiting to be read, then chances are good that you really don’t have the time to subscribe to the magazine. These subscriptions can add up to a lot of money. It’s the same with eating out — you’re probably spending a lot more to eat out than if you were to invest in quality food at home and just cook. Yes, it takes extra time but you can also prepare meals in advance and use tools like a slow cooker to do most of the work for you.

In the long run, you’re going to have to think about a lot more than just the romantic ideal of having a little one around the house. It’s no secret that children definitely take work, and you’re going to have to work hard. However, if you’re ready to grow your family, you’ll know. It can be tough on any budget because children are so uncertain, but the more that you can do, the easier things will be for you in the long run.