Gig Workers: How to Prepare Financially for Parenthood

Prepare Financially for Parenthood

As a gig worker, becoming a parent can seem financially daunting. You likely do not have access to traditional benefits like paid family leave or employer-subsidized healthcare. However, with some strategic planning and resourcefulness, you can pave the way for this exciting new chapter. This article provides tips to help you establish your financial identity, find affordable healthcare, and budget for time off when your family expands. 

While freelancing does not always provide a clear path, you can take proactive steps to prepare your finances. Evaluate your income streams, reduce discretionary spending, and maximize your savings in anticipation of this life change. You got this! Now is the time to ground yourself financially and logistically to embrace parenthood on your own terms.

Calculate Your Current Monthly Expenses

To prepare financially for parenthood as a gig worker, first determine your current monthly expenses. List all of your recurring bills like rent, utilities, loan payments, and subscription services. Also include variable costs for groceries, dining out, entertainment, and transportation.

Housing and Utilities

Your rent or mortgage payment typically makes up a large portion of your monthly expenses. Be sure to also account for property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and any association fees. Track what you spend on electricity, heating, internet service, streaming services, and your phone plan.

Debt Payments

If you have any outstanding loans like personal loans, student loans, or credit cards, include the minimum monthly payments for each. Interest charges on high-balance credit cards can be particularly costly. Make paying off debt a priority before your family expands.

Variable Spending

Food, dining out, and entertainment are budget lines that often increase with children. Look at your current grocery bills, restaurant charges, and any subscriptions to estimate what you currently spend in an average month. Transportation costs for a single person may also go up with a baby depending on your vehicle and commute.

Totaling your current monthly expenses will help determine how much your costs may increase with a child and allow you to start budgeting for those additional expenses now before your baby arrives. Evaluating your spending and looking for any expenses you can reduce will put you in a better financial position to become a parent. Establishing a realistic budget that accounts for both your current and future costs is key to gaining financial stability.

Prepare Financially for Parenthood

Make a Budget for Baby Essentials

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of having a baby and go overboard buying everything in sight. However, as a freelancer, it’s critical to create a budget for essential baby items to avoid financial hardship. Focus on necessities like a crib, car seat, stroller, clothing, diapers, and formula. You can find many of these items secondhand to save money.

Create a Baby Registry

A baby registry allows friends and family to purchase gifts you actually need. Only include necessities on your registry, not lavish items. Be sure to include a range of prices. Once gifts start arriving, keep track of what you still need to buy yourself. Don’t feel obligated to purchase everything before the baby arrives. You can always get more diapers and wipes as needed.

Look for Deals and Coupons

Check sites like RetailMeNot and for promo codes you can use when shopping online or in stores. Buy in bulk when possible and look for generic or store brand items which often cost less. Stock up on diapers, wipes, and other essentials when they go on sale.

Buy Secondhand Gear

Shop consignment stores, Facebook Marketplace, and yard sales for gently used baby gear, clothing, and toys. You can save 50-90% off retail prices. Just be sure any secondhand furniture or equipment meets current safety standards.

Make a Post-Birth Budget

The expenses don’t end once the baby arrives. You’ll have additional costs for things like diapers, wipes, newborn checkups, and potentially formula. Make sure to budget at least $100-$200 per month for baby essentials in the first year. Review and revise your budget every few months based on your baby’s needs and your income or expenses. With planning, you can financially support a new baby even when working as a freelancer or gig worker.

Start an Emergency Fund

Save as Much as You Can

As a gig worker, having an emergency fund is crucial to your financial stability. Aim to save enough to cover 3 to 6 months of essential expenses like food, rent, and transportation in case you lose your income source. Analyze your spending to find expenses you can reduce or eliminate, then automate transfers to a high-yield savings account each month.

Make a Budget

Crafting a budget provides transparency on your monthly contributions to the emergency fund. Monitor both income and expenses, identify discretionary spending, and channel the surplus towards the emergency fund. Regularly assess and adapt your budget to stay aligned with your financial goals.

Find Ways to Earn Additional Income

Bringing in extra money through a side gig is a great way to speed up building your emergency fund. Some options for gig workers include driving for a ridesharing service, doing freelance work like writing or graphic design, participating in paid online surveys, or selling unwanted items. Put 100% of your extra earnings towards your emergency fund.

Reduce Debt

Pay off high-interest debts like credit cards to avoid paying costly interest charges each month. The money you save can then be redirected to your emergency fund. If eliminating the debt quickly isn’t realistic, pay off at least the minimum due each month while also allocating as much as possible to saving.

Building up an emergency fund will give you confidence in your financial identity and stability. It may require discipline and sacrifices but will provide peace of mind in case your income source disappears. With time and consistency, you’ll establish healthy savings habits and gain control of your financial life.

Look Into Health Insurance Options

As a gig worker, securing health insurance poses a significant financial hurdle. Unlike regular employees, freelancers lack employer-provided health benefits. You have a few options to consider:

Private Health Insurance Plans

You can purchase private health insurance plans on the individual market, either through your state health insurance exchange or directly from insurers. Plans offered through the exchange may qualify for subsidies to make premiums more affordable. Compare plans based on factors like premiums, deductibles, copays, and provider networks to find one that meets your needs at a reasonable cost.

Group Plans

You may be able to join a group plan sponsored by a professional association you belong to or a freelance marketplace where you solicit clients. Group plans typically have lower premiums than individual plans since there are more people to share the risk. Check with any organizations you are a member of to see if they offer health insurance options.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

If you enroll in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you can open a tax-advantaged HSA to help pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) enable you to allocate a portion of your income on a pre-tax basis to cover eligible healthcare expenses. Any funds you don’t use in the current year roll over to the next year. An HSA can be an important way for freelancers to save for future medical needs in a tax-efficient manner.


If your income qualifies, you may be able to enroll in Medicaid, the federal health program for low-income individuals including children, pregnant women, the disabled, elderly, and parents of dependent children. Eligibility and benefits vary by state. Check with your state’s Medicaid program to determine if you qualify and what health services are covered.

As a gig worker, getting ready for parenthood, it’s crucial to thoroughly examine health insurance options and select a plan that offers sufficient coverage at a reasonable cost, prioritizing financial well-being. With the right health plan in place, you can gain peace of mind and financial security.

Explore Government Programs for Parents

As a freelancer or gig worker, your income can fluctuate, making it difficult to plan financially for parenthood. However, there are government programs available to help. 

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) offers temporary financial support to pregnant women and families with children, with eligibility determined by income, family size, and state of residence. TANF assistance covers essential needs such as food, housing, childcare, and more.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly referred to as food stamps, assists individuals and families with low income in purchasing groceries. SNAP benefits are provided through an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, accepted at most grocery stores. Qualification is based on specific household income limits. SNAP serves to support access to nutritious food for you and your family.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) offers nutritious foods, nutrition education, and healthcare referrals to pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age five. WIC is accessible to households with incomes below specific limits and has demonstrated benefits in improving birth outcomes and child development.

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide health insurance for pregnant women, children, and parents of dependent children. Eligibility depends on your household income and family size. These programs offer coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, vaccinations, and other medically necessary care. Medicaid and CHIP provide an essential safety net for the health of families.

Childcare assistance programs offer financial assistance for childcare costs to families with incomes below certain limits. The assistance can help pay for daycare, preschool, summer programs, and more. The specific programs and eligibility criteria vary between states, but this type of aid allows parents to work while ensuring children receive quality care.

Exploring these government programs can provide financial security for your growing family. Do research on the options available in your state to determine if you qualify and how these resources can support you in your new role as a parent. With planning and assistance, you can thrive as both a freelancer and a parent.

Boost Your Income Smartly to Prepare Financially for Parenthood

There are a few ways gig workers can increase their income to prepare for parenthood.

Reduce Unbillable Hours

Maximize the time you spend on revenue-generating activities. Analyze how you currently spend your work hours and look for opportunities to reduce or eliminate tasks that don’t directly generate income, such as administrative work. You may need to outsource some non-essential tasks to virtual assistants to free up more of your time. 

Refine Your Rates

If you have not increased your rates recently, evaluate whether you can charge more for your services. Research the going rates of other freelancers in your industry to determine a rate that is competitive but still realistic for your experience level. If possible, try raising your rates incrementally over time rather than implementing a large increase all at once.

Develop Additional Skill Sets

Adding complementary skills can open you up to more job opportunities and increase your earning potential. Take online courses or pursue certifications to strengthen your existing skill sets or gain expertise in new, in-demand areas. The more versatile your skills, the less likely you are to experience downtime between clients or contracts.

Diversify Your Income Streams

Do not rely on a single source of income, especially when preparing to financially support a child. Find other ways to diversify your income streams, such as taking on additional freelance work, starting a side business, selling digital products like online courses, or investing in assets that generate passive income. Multiple income streams lead to greater financial security and stability.

With discipline and hard work, gig workers and freelancers can strengthen their financial identity in preparation for parenthood. Increasing your income and establishing additional revenue sources are two of the most impactful steps you can take to ensure your family’s financial well-being. While building a career as an independent worker has its challenges, the rewards of flexibility and being your own boss can make the additional effort worthwhile.

Automate Your Savings

Set up automatic transfers to a savings fund

As a gig worker, your income can vary from month to month. The best way to save consistently is by automating transfers to a savings fund each month. Arrange for an automatic transfer from your checking to your savings account every month, earmarking at least 10% of your income for savings. If your income increases some months, increase the transfer amount. This helps ensure you save first before spending and builds up an emergency fund over time.

Open a separate account for your business

It is important to maintain separate business and personal bank accounts. Open a dedicated business checking and savings account to keep your finances organized. Deposit all business income into your business account and pay all business expenses from this account. Transfer your salary and any business profits to your personal account. This makes it easier to track your business income and expenses for tax purposes. It also ensures your personal funds are not at risk if there are any issues with your business account.

Pay estimated quarterly taxes

As a gig worker, it is your responsibility to handle quarterly payments for income and self-employment taxes. Allocate a minimum of 30% of your earnings each quarter to cover estimated tax obligations, with the precise amount contingent on your income and eligible deductions. You can calculate your estimated quarterly taxes on the IRS website and pay them using IRS Direct Pay or through your tax professional. Paying quarterly helps avoid interest charges for underpayment of taxes.

Review insurance needs

Evaluate your insurance needs regularly as a freelancer. Make sure you have adequate health insurance, disability insurance, and life insurance for yourself and any dependents. You may need additional liability or professional insurance depending on your industry. Shop plans on your state health insurance marketplace or through professional organizations. Build insurance premiums into your business expenses and budget. Having proper insurance coverage gives you financial security and stability.

In summary, taking steps to automate your savings, maintain separate business and personal accounts, pay estimated quarterly taxes, and review your insurance needs regularly will help establish a solid financial identity as a freelancer. With consistent diligence, you can achieve financial well-being and prepare for future life events.

Cut Unnecessary Expenses

To prepare financially for parenthood as a gig worker, analyzing your budget and expenses to determine where you can cut costs is essential. Reducing or eliminating discretionary spending will allow you to put more money towards important goals like saving for your child’s future.

Examine your recent bank and credit card statements to pinpoint regular expenses for subscriptions, streaming services, dining, and entertainment that may be unnecessary or underutilized. Cancel underused subscriptions and streaming services. Reduce how often you dine out or order takeout by cooking more meals at home using groceries from your pantry and freezer. Find free or low-cost entertainment options in your area like parks, libraries, or free museums to replace more expensive hobbies.

If you have high-interest debt like credit cards, make paying it off a top priority before your child arrives. Interest charges can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year, siphoning money away from other financial goals. Create a realistic payoff plan, cut discretionary spending, and put as much money as possible each month towards eliminating this debt.

Additional expenses to consider reducing or eliminating include:

  • Gym memberships or personal trainers: Look for free home workout options or more affordable gym alternatives.
  • Salon and spa services: Learn DIY beauty treatments and hair care or find more budget-friendly service providers.
  • Unused club or society memberships: Cancel any memberships for organizations or clubs you no longer actively participate in.

Making a serious effort to cut unnecessary costs and pay off high-interest debts before having a child will put you in a much better financial position. Developing prudent financial habits and an affordable lifestyle now will benefit your family for years to come. Reducing expenses also provides more opportunity to strengthen your financial foundations through increased saving and investing.

Financial Preparation for Parenthood FAQs

To prepare financially for parenthood as a freelancer, you need to build a stable financial identity. This means establishing steady income streams, reducing debt, and saving money.

Do you have multiple clients or revenue sources? Depending on a sole client for the majority of your income poses a risk. Aim for 3-5 steady clients to provide income stability. Also diversify your skills and services to open up more opportunities.

Do you have high-interest debts, such as credit cards? Make paying off debt a priority before the baby arrives. Interest charges reduce your available income and damage your credit, impacting your ability to get a mortgage or other loans in the future. Create a realistic payoff plan and make consistent payments.

Do you have an emergency fund with 3-6 months of expenses? Babies often mean unexpected costs. Build an emergency fund so you have a financial cushion in case of surprise medical bills, child care needs, or drops in work. Save a portion of all payments from clients in a high-yield savings account.

Do you have retirement and college savings? It’s never too early to start saving for the future. Contribute at least enough to get any employer match in a 401(k) or IRA. Open a 529 college savings plan and contribute what you can. Investing small amounts over time can accumulate into significant savings for your child’s future.

Freelancing while parenting brings both rewards and challenges. Preparing financially by stabilizing your income, eliminating debt, and saving money will help give your new family the best start possible. While it may require some short term sacrifices, building a solid financial foundation will provide long-term security and peace of mind.


As you embark on your journey to parenthood as a gig worker, remember to stay focused on building your financial identity through diligent budgeting, saving, and planning. Though it will require sacrifice, perseverance, and creativity, you can absolutely provide a stable home for your child. Seek support from family or peers, utilize available resources, and remain open to modifying your work to achieve balance. With grit and resilience, you will not only survive this season, but thrive. Now go empower yourself; your baby is depending on you!