Having a baby is such an exciting time, but it can feel a bit stressful, too. Budgeting for Baby matters! You might get loaded up with diapers at your baby shower only to one day realize you need a larger size and you’re stuck with boxes of smaller ones.
Expenses rise dramatically when a new baby is on board and conflicts are bound to happen. No worries. Develop a little financial awareness for spending and saving in your new life as a family.
BUDGETING FOR BABY BEFORE THE BIRTH
The secret to saving and finding the best deals on quality items is planning, researching and comparing prices. Estimate costs you might incur and write a spending plan. While everything won’t unfold as expected, some things may work out better. If the stork sneaks up on you, start planning as soon as possible.
• Review Health Insurance and Savings Plans. Choose a plan in which the premium to deductible ratio is the best price and value for pregnancy and childbirth care. Most health insurance policies cover the cost of breast pumps. Make sure yours does. If you have disability insurance, it may pay for maternity leave. Most importantly, start saving. Savings give a sense of peace and keep the focus on the baby in your arms instead of on financial burdens.
• “Flex” financial muscles. Check to see if your employer offers a Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account. These pre-tax dollars can be used to buy prenatal vitamins, breast pumps, breast milk storage bags, thermometers and more. While you can purchase over-the-counter baby pain relievers, teething gel and fever reducers with an FSA or HSA, check with your insurance company. Some require prescriptions for over-the-counter medications.
• Calculate the cost of different types of child care. Think about which option of childcare makes the most sense for your family — staying at home with Baby, a daycare facility, nanny, or nanny share. Research the costs associated with these options. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers childcare affordable when it accounts for no more than seven percent of a family’s household income. Try to keep your child care costs within that range.
GREAT BABY DEALS
If you have a Facebook account, you can shop for anything you can imagine including baby gear and boutique baby clothes.
Babycenter’s Swap Groups
Community message boards to exchange baby gear.
Online marketplace for gently used baby and kid gear.
A parent-to-parent site and app offering everything from women’s and children’s clothing and accessories to décor, toys, books and baby gear.
Create a chic nursery without the designer price tag. Start with a safety-approved crib and add another desirable piece. This is what Emily Zolan did. Zolan is mom to Julia, two years and Anna Katherine, 6 months.
“I researched and found a particular crib that I knew was safe,” Zolan said. “I found it on Facebook Marketplace for $200 when it is usually $1,000. Then I got a glider from Costco; you are going to be sitting in the nursery a lot, so you want to love it.”
• Register and be rewarded Create a baby registry at Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target or Buy Buy Baby and receive free baby goodies and other perks like coupons and discounts on the items left unpurchased on your registry. The free gifts usually include samples of products you can try out when the baby arrives. You can decide what works best before you spend money on baby items you won’t use.
“Be choosy with your registry,” Zolan suggests. “People naturally like to give sweet baby clothes and fun gifts. Pare down your registry to the necessities, and you may still get the fun, cute things you want.”
Amazon has a group gifting feature that allows expectant moms to set up a diaper fund. Friends and family give to the fund and the money is loaded on to the expectant parents’ gift card balance.
Sikedra Lamar, mom to 21-month-old Ailani, uses this strategy. “I like the diaper fund because I can buy diapers as I need them,” Lamar says.
Disposable diapers like organic, plant-based or chlorine-free can be pricey. Try a diaper subscription to cut down on costs if you want these specialty diapers. It’s OK to be frugal when it comes to formula.
Breast milk is free and has tremendous nutritional benefits, but it doesn’t work out for every mom. Save on formula without skimping on what your baby needs.
If you buy a name brand, go to the company website and sign up for coupons and online deals. Ask your doctor for free samples and ask other moms for samples they don’t want. Keep in mind that all baby formula is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration to meet certain nutritional requirements.
Norris discovered this with her second child. “As first-time parents, we were nervous so we paid more for the name brand,” Norris says. “I talked to my pediatrician, and we used store brand with our second child, and she’s been fine.” Norris says she did a side-by-side comparison of the name-brand formula with the store brand. “They both had the same ingredients,” she says.
• Find High-End Baby Clothing on the Cheap
Wait until the end of the season and buy for the next year to get upscale or designer clothing at rock bottom prices. If your child outgrows the size you buy before the next year, you can always consign the items or regift to another expectant parent.