Pregnancy and Birth in US

If you’re pointing your fingers to the Filipino women who are living in slum areas to be responsible of the population increase in the Philippines, think twice! They’re not only the ones who are carelessly procreating children in the whole wide world. US alone produces 1 baby every 7.4 seconds! About 468,988 babies are born from teenage mothers. This scenario is the same in Philippines. I’m sure our teenagers don’t plan to get pregnant, but unfortunately, many do. Take a look at the following graph, Philippines isn’t alone in baby business after all.

As Christian parents, we can do something about this crisis. We already understand that training our child to have a healthy respect for the marriage relationship is our job, and, of course, we are well aware that teaching our child to run from sexual immorality must come from us as well. WE know we cannot rely on the media, the school, the church, or our child’s friends to help her/him gain conviction in this area. As a matter of fact, a study found that “Permissive parental values regarding adolescent sexual behavior emerged as a strong risk factor for both males and females. Not surprisingly, adolescents who perceived their parents as accepting of premarital adolescent sexual activity were more likely to be sexually experienced.” (1)

So how do we prepare our child(ren) to weather the barrage of sexual innuendo and temptation that hail from everywhere? While we can preach and teach in the home, they are on their own in the classroom, with their friends, etc. We cannot hold their hands 24-7, yet we must instill values that help them build convictions that will hold their hands and spirits, and encourage their souls even while we are physically absent. If your child understands that sex is not an ugly, dirty activity that is best not talked about or a seemingly disgusting duty forced upon us by our Creator, then s/he will be able to accept it as the gift that God has truly intended it to be to His creation; a gift that will bring fulfillment if used properly, but pain, heartache, and perhaps even destruction if used outside of the relationship that God intended it to enhance. If this works for me personally, I’m confident and by God’s grace, this will work too for our children. In doing so, unplanned pregnancies will decrease.

This is the reason why I need God!

The most dangerous time in your life is when you think you don’t need God! Complacency will set in. Smugness will grow. You’ll say, ‘I need you, Lord,’ then act like it all depends on you. As a result your faith will be unused, and when you’re not using your faith you can’t please God . If your vision doesn’t require God, it’s not of God! When He gets involved in your vision, He becomes the only means of achieving it. Without His help, what can any of us say or do that truly makes a difference? We can’t even begin to make progress until we humbly acknowledge that we are powerless over most things in life. We are, but God’s not! Whatever you’re facing today, read these words and rest in them: ‘He will never let me stumble, slip or fall. For He is always watching, never sleeping. Jehovah Himself is caring for you! He is your defender. He protects you day and night. He keeps you from all evil, and preserves your life. He keeps His eye upon you as you come and go, and always guards you’ (Psalm 121:3-8 TLB).

The Importance of Family Budget

Since I was trusted with school allowance, I learned to budget it for a week . I had a small notebook before to keep track on how much I spend for the day on fare and snacks. I kept my savings for emergency like projects so that I don’t have to ask from my parents. Now that I have my own family, I deemed it important to prepare a family budget every month to prioritize expenses. You see, if you do not know which expenditure needs to be given priority, you may land up in serious trouble and may face financial hardship to make your two ends meet. This is when a budget will help you and guide you properly to distribute your earnings to various financial obligations. With a proper budget in place, you would already have anticipated the money needed for such expenses and would therefore be prepared. This can relieve you from enormous pressures and can help you feel more in control of things.

If your financial situation is particularly tight it will show up in the budget more clearly. From the budget you may be able to re-organize how your family usually spends its money into a more efficient model or perhaps make the changes necessary within the household that can result in long-term financial benefits.

To date, we keep a tight rein on our budget as we have a college student (my sister) and my son will be in preschool in November. My hubby’s interest on buying the best motorcycle gps for his CBR is temporarily laid on the table. It can wait.

As for our monthly budget, I use a simple envelope system. After receiving our monthly salary, I divide it up into envelopes marked for specific expenses. If I had budgeted $400 a month for groceries, I put $100 into the grocery envelope every week. Then I know I’ll have the money when it’s time to go to the store. I got envelopes for other fixed costs, as well as for luxuries like for “eating out” or “entertainment”,  occasionally.

It’s time-consuming to develop and maintain a budget, find the lowest prices, collect coupons, and shop for the best deals. It takes still more time to shop and cook in bulk, and to make presents instead of buying them. If you need to devote seven hours a week to keep your household costs low- meal planning, shopping, making meals from scratch, and keeping track of spending, then do it. When you consider the rewards, it really isn’t that much!

Preparing for a Baby: Getting Your Finances in Order

Friends are asking us when are we planning for baby number 2. They see it that now is the right time because Hyzyd will soon be 3. Hubby and I are not yet ready for another baby. We’re both working so we need to consider who will babysit the baby. Another thing is we need time to save because there will be financial changes once there’s another baby.

Here’s my advice for partners who are gearing up to become parents. Now is the time to add financial preparation to your to-do list. The best way: Start small. You don’t want to stress yourselves out by tackling every line item at once. But you do want to start socking away cash so you’ll be able to pony up the money for medical bills that your insurance won’t cover during pregnancy — not to mention cover any unpaid maternity leave. Plus, now is the time to think of creative ways to cut corners and generate extra bucks for baby expenses.

Next, make a list of your current expenses and then add in the baby costs you’ll be calculating soon: diapers, formula (if you don’t plan on breastfeeding), bottles, baby clothes, baby gear, baby food, baby toys, etc., . You need this in order to have a clearer view of what would be your expenses once baby comes in. For a lighter mood, think of it as an investment for your baby’s life rather than expenses. Don’t forget the budget you need for maternity clothes. To save, you could borrow from friends and family!

Finally, think of ways (big and small) to cut corners and generate extra cash for baby expenses. Some almost painless ways to save big when you’re preparing for your baby include:

1. Cutting back on luxuries such as expensive restaurant meals and high-priced lattes (you don’t need all that caffeine now, anyway). Now is the right time to use the old “loose-change-in-a-jar” trick. Then, you could move the money periodically into a savings account (preferably an interest-bearing one that you’ve both sworn not to dip into).

2. Be critical on your monthly expenditures for home and cell phone services, cable, gym memberships, and the like. Not that you need to live without these conveniences, but you may be able to switch to cheaper ones.

3. Reducing credit card debt by avoiding late fees, paying more than the minimum each month, and rolling balances onto low-interest cards.

4. Diverting some of your current savings/investment dollars into a “baby fund” for your various baby expenses.

For my partner and me, before we’ll have baby number 2 , we’re gearing on purchasing life insurance . This is what we’ve decided after stumbling on the Wholesale Insurance site. We’ll get this kind of insurance not for our babies but for myself and for my partner. This kind of insurance is designed to replace earned income. Term life insurance is best, because it provides a benefit upon your death without any cash accumulation. Disability insurance is also a smart buy.