Plan well ahead to make sure money is the last thing on your mind when your little bundle of joy finally arrives.

Any parent will tell you that the arrival of a new bub heralds plenty of chaotic and exciting changes.

While many of these you just can’t plan for and will have to accommodate as you go along, there are things you can do ahead of time to make a real difference when the big day arrives.

Planning a budget and preparing financially is one of those things. Important steps to implement as early as possible include knowing what your post-baby income levels are likely to be and drawing up a list of all the essential items you will need.

Some of the major expenses to consider include medical costs associated with birth, furniture and other essentials, and childcare.

More than likely, your income levels may also be impacted if you and or your partner plan to leave work for any length of time after the birth. The change in income, in addition to a host of new expenses that come with having a baby, could be significant.

The cost of setting up your home nursery and ensuring you have all the important items including clothing, nappies, monitors, cots, change tables and car capsules can be significant.

Babies grow quickly and are not easy on their furnishings and clothes, so think about whether there are items like bassinets or cots that you can borrow from friends or family. You can also buy great quality second-hand or pre-loved items to save money.

You might also suggest to family members that they could pitch in to buy one of the more significant items you will need. After all, there are only so many stuffed animals a baby needs.

Start stockpiling nappies and baby wipes as soon as you can and keep an eye out for sales. This will be a great cost saving and a handy convenience. One less costly and bulky item in the shopping trolley.

When it comes to childcare, there are a number of options available, including childcare centres, family day care or a private nanny. Depending what choice you make and your income levels, there are a number of payments and services available to support parents with the costs of a newborn bub.

Find out from your employer what their maternity or parental leave conditions are and familiarise yourself with the Federal Government payments, concessions and rebates, including health and child care rebates and family tax benefits.

Drawing up a financial plan to help prepare for your new family member is a similar process to budgeting and saving for any other significant financial cost, whether it’s a new house, car or holiday.

Consider your income, establish the essentials, look at where you can make savings and be realistic in your expectations.

And remember, this is a happy time and if you find the budgeting process confusing or stressful, there are plenty of people who can help, from your local bank manager or financial planner to tax agent.