A baby is a bundle of joy and parents are all over the moon when a little one comes into their life. But a newborn not only comes with excitement but a whole new level of adjusting as well. And don’t fret new parents for it is normal to panic a bit when it comes to budgeting for a baby.
Surely, when you entered married life, you had to make compromises with your spouse. But that’s not the end of it. Becoming parents means having your finances constantly on edge. It’s a challenging journey but all parents go through it and it is definitely a part of parenthood.
What to budget?
Babies are cute, adorable, tiny human beings. But the money you need to flush out to keep them healthy is no way near small. For parents, either new or longtime, this means big changes and daily adjustments to the budget. This is why preparedness and flexibility are important.
Pre-baby finances focus more on new parents since they need to start from scratch. This means new baby furniture, a stroller, a crib, clothes, a car seat, a baby monitor, and all the essentials that a newborn needs.
This is always the challenging part for first-time parents since they always tend to buy more than what they need. Those cute rugs, rocking chairs, and decorations for the baby room might seem like necessary purchases but it is better to buy them after planning a budget for the actual essentials like food and diapers.
Take note that newborn essentials don’t need to be expensive and brand new all the time. Things like clothes, strollers, car seats, and cribs can be hand-me-downs from family and friends or can be shopped at local thrift shops. This is a more ideal situation since these are items that your kid doesn’t need once they grow older.
A one-time expense when it comes to babies is labor and hospital costs. Childbirth costs differ from location and country. The U.S, however, is the most expensive developed country in the world for childbirth, with normal delivery averaging at over $11,000 and the C-section at a minimum of $15,000.
If you are planning to have multiple kids in the future, other one-time expenses are also a few of their needs. After baby number 1 and you and your spouse decide to have another kid in the near future, strollers, cribs, baby carriers, and car seats can be kept until then. It’s undeniable that these things brought brand new can be expensive so if you can thrift or accept hand-me-downs from families and relatives, it’ll save tons of money.
With a baby on board, the expenses are never-ending. Just when you thought you’ve bought enough food and diapers that will last you for the whole month, you wake up one day to find that one or another needs to be restocked.
A few of the ongoing expenses are:
Child Care. If both you and your spouse will be working after your baby’s arrival, child care is one of the factors that you will have to consider. If you can leave your child in their grandparents’ or relatives’ care, it’ll save you money but if you can’t, then take note that child care has varying costs depending on where you live, your child’s age, how much and what type of care is needed.
Necessities. Necessities such as formula, clothing, and diapers will take up most of your ongoing expenses. These are baby needs that you need to purchase frequently. Baby clothes, for example, are purchases that you need to make as needed. Those newborn clothing pieces you bought from when your little one was a month old won’t fit as they enter their 6th month and as they grow older and bigger, shopping for clothing will be as often as needed. The same goes for diapers and food.
Doctor Visits. Babies and children, in general, need to have wellness visits for checkups, health evaluations, and immunizations. Aside from that, a sick baby immediately needs a doctor’s attention. To keep your child at optimum health, you will need to shell out money for it and so it is important to include medications and doctor visits to the budget, regardless of if your child is sick or not. It will not hurt to prepare and save money for when they do.
Budgeting for a Baby: How to do it?
Here are some helpful tips on budgeting for a baby and sticking to it.
Stick to the necessities
It can be tempting to purchase every single cute thing you think you and your baby need. But in reality, parents always purchase more than what they actually need. Make a list of the essentials and stick to it, like a stroller, a crib, a car seat, diapers, and food, and only buy the rest once you’ve ticked everything off the necessity list and if you have extra money for it.
If you have family and friends whose child has outgrown their crib or stroller or has hand-me-down infant clothes, ask if you can borrow them. Borrowing items instead of buying them will save you a whole lot of money, especially on items that your child will easily grow out of.
Breastfeed, if you can
If you have the option to go natural and breastfeed your baby instead, do it. It’s not a forever thing and sooner or later, your baby will have to wean off you and depend on formula instead, but with breastfeeding, you can save on formula milk for a year or two. Aside from its financial advantage, breast milk is also proven to be healthier than formula so it is a win-win situation for you and your baby.
Plan early and save
If you plan on getting pregnant, save. And if you didn’t plan but found yourself unexpectedly expecting a baby, take every opportunity you have to set aside money for your childbirth and for your baby’s needs. Check your health insurance and compare it with your spouse to see which has better maternity coverage. Save for the tests, ultrasound, and checkups needed, as well as for the delivery and expenses that come after. After childbirth, budgeting for a baby will become more challenging as their needs increases so it is always better to come prepared.