Adoption can be expensive. But, with the right tools and steps, you can afford the family-building path of your dreams.
Start building up your adoption funds today with these ideas. We’ve just scratched the surface with this list, so don’t forget to research all the possibilities available to you!
1. Revamp your personal budget.
When saving for adoption, make the first place you look your monthly and annual budgets. Just like you would when saving for anything else, create a detailed list of what you spend each month and think about where you can cut corners.
Look at your monthly subscriptions — are you using them enough to justify the cost? Can you reduce the amount you spend eating out each month?
Create a strict (but realistic) budget based on your monthly income and necessary expenses. Stick to that budget and put any extra money into a savings account straight away (more on that below).
2. Create a designated savings account.
“Out of sight, out of mind” couldn’t be truer when it comes to savings accounts. Set up a designated savings account for your adoption journey, and pledge to not touch that money for anything other than adoption. Allocate a set amount of your direct deposit into this account for a painless, straightforward way to grow your savings.
As you look for savings account, make sure to research your options. There are plenty of high-yield savings accounts you can use for free, if you meet certain requirements. A few percentage points can make a stark difference your long-term savings.
3. Start a fundraiser.
Fundraisers can be a great way to add to your adoption funds. Let your friends and family members know that you’re adopting, and make it easy for them to contribute to your fund with online platforms like GoFundMe.
Before you start your own fundraiser, think about the pros and cons. Adoption fundraisers are as controversial as they can be helpful. Talk with your spouse (if applicable) about what you feel comfortable with before advertising your fundraiser to a large audience.
4. Ask for monetary gifts in lieu of holiday and birthday presents.
Monetary gifts may not be as exciting as the newest gaming system, but receiving money in lieu of physical presents can add to your adoption funds.
Don’t just ask for money for holidays and birthdays without an explanation. Take this opportunity to explain your adoption decision to your friends and family and express just how important their financial gifts can be. Give your loved ones plenty of heads up before the holidays so they’re not caught off guard.
5. Consult with a financial planner.
There’s a lot of DIY financial planning you can do on your own but, if you have substantial debt or assets, a financial planner may provide helpful insight. They can evaluate your personal finances and create a plan to reach your adoption savings goals most efficiently.
6. Find cheaper alternatives for your favorite activities.
COVID-19 has forced us all to embrace virtual activities. An unforeseen benefit? These activities are often much cheaper than their in-person alternatives.
If you spend more money than you’d like on dining in or takeout, think about hosting a socially distant potluck or starting a meal train with a group of friends. Rather than go out to the movies, find one you haven’t seen before on our streaming services and stay in for the night. If you’ve got a habit of buying new books, dust off your library card and take advantage of your free local offerings.
These changes can seem little at the start, but they can quickly add up and make a difference in your adoption savings account.
7. Consider the pros and cons of less-expensive adoption options.
While adoption is inherently expensive, there are ways you can reduce your expenses. However, with adoption, you get what you pay for — so do your research before making any big decisions.
Take foster care adoption, for example. It’s by far the cheapest adoption option. In fact, most of the costs are covered by the state or reimbursed through the adoption tax credit.
While it may be cheaper, adopting a child from foster care comes with unique challenges. You should never choose aspects of your adoption solely based on cost. Consider what’s best for your family and for the child you will adopt.
The same idea goes for independent vs. agency-assisted adoption. Independent adoption may seem cheaper at first, but understand how the a la carte costs of different professionals will eventually add up to a full-service agency’s costs. If you’re ready for the responsibility of an independent adoption, you could save thousands of dollars.
8. Consider a loan, if the terms are good.
You might consider a loan to build up your adoption savings, but be wary. Loans can come with high interest rates and end up costing a lot more to pay back — which can be difficult when you have a new addition to your household.
Before taking out a loan to pay for your adoption, talk to your spouse and/or a financial planner and decide if it’s the right financial step for you.
9. Apply for adoption grants.
Although adoption grants aren’t guaranteed funds, there are plenty out there that you can apply for. It’s free money — what are you waiting for?
Start your research with this list:
- A Child Waits Foundation
- Gift of Adoption Fund
- Help Us Adopt
- Katelyn’s Fund
- National Adoption Foundation
- Show Hope
10. Research employer adoption assistance.
More and more employers are adding adoption assistance to their benefits package. Talk with your HR department and see what options are available to you. There may be financial assistance or grants that you don’t know about!
Don’t have an adoption assistance program at your current company? Consider bringing it up during your meeting about parental leave. Your employer may be able to add more perks and benefits for your specific situation.
11. Use credit cards and rebate programs wisely.
When you use them correctly, credit cards can actually make you money. Many providers offer rewards and cash-back credit cards. If you pay off your balance every month, you don’t have to pay interest — and those cash or other rewards can be deposited straight into your account.
Similarly, use online programs like Honey and Rakuten to save and get money back for everyday purchases, respectively. Sock away any of that extra income into your adoption savings account to keep that total rising.
12. Refinance a loan, a mortgage or car payment.
It’s a good idea to talk with your financial advisor before taking this step, but you might be able to save money now by refinancing any existing credit accounts. By lowering your monthly payments, you can put that extra money toward your adoption funds.
Talk with your loan provider for more details about how a refinance could affect your account balance.
13. Save raises, overtime and bonuses.
When you have some extra income, it’s tempting to quickly splurge it on a treat for yourself. But automatically saving this money into your adoption funds account will help you in the long run.
You’re used to living off your usual income, so view any extra as strictly hands-off savings. You’ll be surprised at how much you can grow your adoption account with even the smallest additions.
14. Clear out your closets or start a side hustle.
Most people have some extra clothes, toys and other household supplies lying around. If you haven’t used yours in years, consider selling them. Sites like Poshmark and Ebay allow you to easily upload your items and make money off what’s been collecting dust in your back closet.
You can also save funds by monetizing your hobbies. If you’re a pro at home improvement, offer your services for small DIY projects. Put any money earned directly into your adoption funds.
15. Don’t forget the federal adoption tax credit.
Finally, remember that the federal adoption tax credit will reduce some of your financial burden. Although you will need to pay your adoption expenses in advance, you can receive a tax credit in the form of a reimbursement for the year your adoption is finalized. The 2019 limit was $14,080 per child.
Only qualified adoption expenses are eligible for the tax credit. Speak with a tax professional when filing to ensure you receive the proper amount for your situation.
Have any more ideas to save for adoption? Let us know in the comments!