This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please read my disclaimer here.
Pregnant! The word itself brings a smile to your face and an inexplicable joy in everyone’s life. However, it demands a bit of responsibility too. The first year of parenting is all about taking good care of your newborn along with meeting new financial challenges on top of ones you may already have. Don’t worry! It’s completely possible to have a baby on a budget. And it’s easy too! Here are some tips to make some plans beforehand and manage your budget efficiently.
Tips to Prepare for a Baby on a Budget
It is always better if you prepare a budget before you welcome your baby to the world. Doing so, you can enjoy and celebrate the first year of parenthood much more.
Make financial decisions with your partner
Set financial goals of how you’ll manage child care costs or what amount you want to save within, say, 5 years from now. Likewise, you will need to decide whether you want to look for a good daycare or if one parent will decide to stay at home. If you decide to stay at home, then you’ll have to manage the lifestyle with a reduced income.
Plan a realistic budget and track your expenditure
It is a necessity to revisit and modify your budget plan with every major change in your life. So, both of you discuss and plan a post-delivery budget carefully.
It is not possible to plan having a baby on a budget overnight. It will take some time. Along with it, track your spending. Identify areas where you can reduce your expenditure. If possible, gather knowledge about how you can practice frugal living. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to celebrate your parenthood. It will let you spend on the things you value the most and reduce spending on other areas. Here is an easy way to coupon even with a new baby at home so you can save money in little time.
Purchase only necessary and useful things
It is a common tendency to buy lots and lots of things for a newborn. Don’t do it. Babies and toddlers outgrow things very fast. This is key to having a baby on a budget. So, buy only the things that are required (think crib, car seat, onesies, diapers, bottles). You can also borrow things from others or purchase second-hand items, too. For example, you can easily borrow a stroller from your friend and use that. There are also numerous stores around the country that provide gently used clothing, swimsuits, and toys.
Have a significant cash reserve in your emergency fund
Financial advisors say you should have about 6 months’ worth of your lifestyle expenses in your emergency fund. It is better if you add about 10% to your living expenses since lifestyle cost is likely to increase now. So, deposit at least 10% of your income into your emergency fund if you don’t have one. If you already have one, calculate and save the required amount so that you’re assured that you can use these funds if required.
Baby on a Budget after Baby is Here
Now, let’s discuss how to survive the first year of parenthood.
Nurse your child as it’s the best for the little one
If you’re able to, nurse your child. It is the best for your child and is essential for having a baby on a budget. If needed, you can give formula milk along with breastfeeding. It has been seen that by choosing to breastfeed, you can save about $7,000 in the initial 6 months. Also, make sure you, as the mother, get nutritious food as you also need good care and pampering during this time.
If you must formula feed (it’s not always possible to breastfeed), look for coupons, sign up for formula brand mailing lists, and ask friends for extra formula they may have left over from their baby (make sure to check expiration dates!).
Do not opt for hospital add-ons unnecessarily
When you’re in the hospital, rest as much as you can; so, don’t pay for watching television. Likewise, think twice before opting for private rooms. Even if your insurance policy covers that, you’ll have to pay the deductible or the co-payment. When you’re paying for the baby toiletries, make sure you take it with you at the time of hospital discharge. Doing so, you can save about $30 at the drugstore.
Choose a pediatrician who is within your insurance network
You will have to visit a pediatrician almost every month due to vaccination schedules. So, talk to your family and friends for recommendations and choose a good doctor. Do not forget to check out, and if possible, choose a pediatrician within your insurance network.
Pay your entire credit card bills every month
Do not swipe credit cards for each and every purchase. Even if you do so, make sure you repay the credit card bills at every billing cycle.
Also, know about the credit card terminologies and have knowledge about the terms and conditions of your credit cards to manage them efficiently.
Tips for surviving the first year of parenthood along with keeping your marriage intact
Yes, sometimes you neglect your important relation, your marriage, while managing to take good care of your baby. It especially happens with new mothers. So, one of the best ways to avoid this is to involve your partner in taking care of your baby.
Here’s what you, the new mother, should do to enjoy your marital relation along with taking good care of the baby:
• Do not try to do all the chores single-handedly
• Communicate your needs to your partner
• Do not have much expectation from your partner
• Both of you discuss and decide about the financial matters
• Start a savings account in your child’s name
• Add the name of your newborn to your health insurance plan
• Search for a good daycare if both of you are working
• Take out some ‘we’ time and ‘me’ time and do what you like
Following these tips, both of you will be able to enjoy your parenthood, not only the first year but also during the growing years of your kid.
Meet Guest Blogger Nelly
Good Nelly is a financial writer, who has been sharing her financial knowledge with her readers for more than 10 years. She has written for several websites and blogs. Good Nelly has started her own blog, My Way Of Viewing, about 3 years back. There she shares her thoughts with her readers about personal finance along with other aspects. One unique thing about her is that she loves to travel not just for pleasure but to experience different cultures and taste unique cuisines.
Want to become a guest blogger on Journey to SAHM? Find out how!