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Alexander Woods’ homework began even before his son Liam was born 17 months ago.

He studied his health insurance policy and got a pleasant surprise.

The costs of prenatal care, the baby’s delivery, and postnatal care for both his son and wife were actually less expensive than he’d expected, thanks to insurance.

Because he took the time to research the family’s options, they were able to maximize their care and benefits.

“We made choices like staying an extra day in the hospital and scheduling in-home nurse visits because we understood the costs,” Woods said.

The Woods family also takes advantage of free entertainment, hand-me-down clothes and store-brand formula and saves on diaper costs by using reusable cloth ones.

It’s such money-saving strategies that fathers pick up almost immediately after entering parenthood.

Here are a few more for Father’s Day weekend, courtesy of the dads who are executives at National Foundation for Credit Counseling member agencies.

• Look out for your credit reputation the way you would look out for a friend. Both are equally important, according to Paul Atkinson, president and CEO of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Buffalo.

• Beware the allure of “stuff,” urges Mike Robards from Credit Counseling of Arkansas. He said the most vital thing today’s youth can learn to do is look past the allure of material things and think more realistically about the cost of each purchase and how it might affect you and your family in the long term.

• Joe Schenkel’s best advice came from his late father, who lived through the Great Depression and World War II. He taught Schenkel the value of learning and getting a good education and told him, “It is easier to push a pencil than to push a shovel.” Schenkel is president and CEO at FinancialHope Counseling and Education in Indiana.

• Understand credit reports and be very cautious about incurring debt – including student loans. That’s what Jay Seaton of Apprisen Financial Advocates in Ohio tells his 20-year-old son. He also urges him to understand the time value of money.

• Read the fine print and beware of deals that seem too good to be true, warned Steve Piotrowski, the top executive at Advantage Credit Counseling Service in Pittsburgh.

• Borrowing money is easy, paying it back is not, according to Ken King from Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Sheboygan. He encourages youth to understand the differences between needs and wants and insists that desiring less is more rewarding than acquiring more.

• If you can’t afford a “big-boy toy,” such as a boat or a car without creating an issue with cash flow, don’t buy it, said Joe Allen Stokes, from Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Springfield.

• Start planning for retirement the sooner the better, said John Jackson of Consumer Credit counseling Service of the Mid-Ohio Valley. The sooner you begin thinking, planning and saving, the happier your retirement will be.

email schristmann@buffnews.com