Budgeting for a Baby
Getting ready for a new arrival is perhaps the most exciting time in the lives of soon-to-be parents. Whether you're expecting or planning ahead, it's smart to consider the impact a little bundle of joy might have on the family finances. That's why you may choose to create a baby budget. Lucky for you, we've got some expert money-saving tips for new parents, as well as some advice on how to start a healthy baby fund.
Snag some freebies. As soon as you find out you're expecting, register with diaper, formula, baby food, and baby gear companies, and follow their social media pages. You'll start getting free samples, coupons, and discounts in both your mail and inbox.
Request practical gifts. While you might want the super cute designer baby clothes and high-tech baby swing, registering for practical gifts you'll use the most can really help your budget. For instance, asking for diapers in all sizes can help you stock up on the much-needed staple. The same goes for breastfeeding and/or bottle feeding products. It's also savvy to think long term by choosing strollers and car seats that can be adapted as your infant grows into a toddler.
And a few hand-me-downs, too. There's nothing wrong with accepting gently used items from relatives and friends, especially if it's gear that is only used for a short period of time, such as a baby carrier, baby gates, or bouncy seats. The same goes for clothing — most parents buy more than they actually need, and items are inevitably left with tags on them because the child outgrows them. If someone offers you something that's in good condition, take it! One caveat: Do a quick online search to ensure that there weren't any recalls on the product before you use it.
Skip some baby store aisles. You can save money once you realize that you probably don't need a lot of the items advertised to new parents. For instance, you can most likely do without a bassinet since most play yards come with a bassinet insert. Another thing you don't need is a baby food maker — your regular food processor works just as well. And don't go crazy with expensive bedding. As most seasoned parents will tell you, you'll be changing sheets often, and children's health experts recommend leaving other items like bumpers and blankets out of the crib to reduce the risk of suffocation.
Start squirreling away some funds. You'll want to anticipate some of your future expenses and plan accordingly. Think through what it might cost you per month for basic newborn supplies and daycare. Don't forget to factor in potential health care costs for your maternity stay, and/or loss of income if both parents currently work but one plans to stay home after the birth. Commit to making a few sacrifices, whether it's eating out fewer times per month or downgrading your car to a more affordable one, so you can set aside some money during your pregnancy.
Consider life insurance. Having a baby is a major life change, and a great time to re-evaluate certain insurance needs. Getting life insurance for you and your spouse is a great way to prepare for a financially secure future. If you or your spouse were to pass away, it can be a way for you to still provide for your child without the stress of a lost income. Parents also opt to purchase a whole life insurance policy on babies and young children, since the cost is so minimal due to their age. And, it provides peace of mind that lasts a lifetime! Find out more about new parents and life insurance.
Though babies need lots of love, they ultimately don't need as many things as you think they do. By avoiding the temptation to go overboard with your spending, choosing items for your registry wisely, and accepting help and hand-me-downs from loved ones, you can redirect what you might have spent on baby stuff into a savings account you'll appreciate later. Having funds set aside before the big day will give you peace of mind when your new bundle of joy arrives.