Pregnancy is exciting. It’s a time filled with baby showers, ultrasounds and nursery redecorating. It’s a time of joyful anticipation. And it’s a time to think about your household budget.
But moms- and dads-to-be often forget about that last item. With everything that’s currently going on and upcoming, money matters can easily be the last thing on their minds. However, a new addition to the family will have a significant impact on the budget, and it’s very important to consider this ahead of time. Here are eight things you can do to prepare for the baby and keep your finances in order.
1. Start saving extra money as soon as you learn about the pregnancy. Those first few months won’t be as expensive as mid to late pregnancy, so you should be able to put a fair amount of money away. This fund will be helpful when it comes time to buy things like maternity clothes, baby furniture or a stroller.
2. Seek out deals on basic needs such as diapers, wipes and baby wash. Clip coupons from your Sunday paper or find them online, and then check your favorite stores periodically for sales. You’ll be glad that you stocked up on these things later on.
3. If you know the baby’s gender, put the word out to friends and relatives. They may have some baby clothes that you can use. Even if the gender is uncertain or you want it to be a surprise, you can probably get some donations of neutral clothing to help you get through those first few weeks.
4. Start checking out prices on things your baby will need on a regular basis. It may be difficult to determine how much formula she will drink or how many diapers she will go through in a month’s time, but at least you’ll have a general idea of what to expect. You may want to give it your best guess and work on a tentative budget to give yourself a head start.
5. Understand that a new addition to the family will raise many of your expenses. You’ll buy more groceries. You’ll use more electricity warming up bottles and turning lights on in the middle of the night. You’ll use more water giving baths and washing tiny clothes and bedding. Take this into account when planning your post-birth budget.
6. Resist the urge to take the easy way out when it comes to meals. When you’re tending to a newborn, it’s easy to fall into the habit of eating takeout and convenience foods. But cooking is less expensive and far healthier for you and your family. Ask other family members to help with food preparation so that it won’t be such a chore.
7. Set some money aside for medical expenses. Babies need several check-ups during their first year of life, and they’ll also need medical attention in the event of illness. Health insurance helps a great deal, but you’ll probably still have some out-of-pocket expenses such as copays and over-the-counter medications.
8. Weigh your childcare options. If a parent plans to stay home with the baby, it will significantly affect the budget. If you take him to daycare or a sitter, it will also have an impact. It’s important to carefully think things through before you make a decision and adjust your budget accordingly.
When there’s a little one on the way, it’s important to think about the financial implications. Planning ahead will make things easier when your bundle of joy arrives, allowing you to enjoy those first months and years without worrying about money.