Your sweet baby is on the way, and you’re ecstatic with excitement–but also a little nervous. Money is tight, and you know it will be even tighter when the little one arrives. Here are basic some tips to help prepare for your newborn:
Focus your baby shower on the necessities
This may sound silly, but there will be many friends and family who want to spoil your little one. Rather than having them spend money on frivolous things you don’t really need, register for the necessities. This is a win-win situation. Your expenses go down significantly and your loved ones have the opportunity to shower you and your baby with love.
Spread out the initial expenses
If this is your first child, there are many things you are going to have to buy before the big day. You will need a crib, car seat, clothes, diapers, wipes, bottles, pacifiers, bibs, burp clothes, a stroller, toys, a breast pump or formula and so much more.
Rather than going out and dropping thousands, spread out these major expenses over the nine months that you have to prepare. Save a little money each paycheck that specifically goes towards buying these necessities. Here is a great checklist that will help you plan for one-time expenses and monthly purchases.
Research your benefits
Many companies do not have paid maternity leave, so be sure to think about that ahead of time. This pay cut may be tough; start saving now to make up for the reduced income down the road.
If you are going to use a daycare service or nanny, plan them into the budget.
Do your research on what you can afford and who will put your mind at ease. This is a section of your budget where it is okay not to go with the cheapest option–your child’s well-being will be your first priority. But you should still be looking for creative ways to save.
Also, take a look at the insurance options, and get a sense of how much your monthly premium will increase when you add a little one.
Consider medical costs
Speak with your physician about how many doctor visits you can expect that first year, and try to make a budget for medical expenses. You will need to account for bills from the delivery, too. Make sure you understand how to research medical expenses, and negotiate when necessary.
Find ways to save
There are coupons for almost every store that exists, and often special deals with baby items. Don’t be embarrassed to cut out those coupons and bring them in as you shop; babies are expensive and this will help manage the costs. For items that you buy frequently, such as diapers or formula, check out Costco or Sam’s Club to buy in bulk at much cheaper prices. Just remember that babies grow fast. Take that into consideration before you buy a six-month supply of diapers all in the same small size.
Organize the post-baby budget
Your monthly budget is going to look very different as your family expands. As long as you plan ahead and work out costs, you will be able to keep your budget intact. Take deep breaths and be pro-active in your configurations and calculations. Use an online budgeting tool, like this calculator to help you stay organized.
Remember, it is all going to be worth it when that bundle of joy is in your arms. Rumor is that there is never a “good time” financially to have a baby; don’t stress over things that are outside of your control. Instead, focus on the ways that you can take control of your finances. If you need help, consider our free credit counseling session. With pro-active planning, your budget will be well taken care of. Good luck and congratulations.