Let’s just say it: you’re going to be shocked at how much a baby costs. While you can financially prepare until you’re blue in the face, the baby is going to cost more. That doesn’t mean you have to go into parenthood blind, though – there are plenty of things you can do to get yourself as fiscally setup as possible before that little bundle of joy comes screaming into the world.
1. Set up a budget – Luckily for you, it takes about three months to really nail down the whole budgeting thing, which is plenty of time before the baby comes. If you can, start living on the budget now that you’ll need to be on once the baby’s here.
2. Cut down on spending – You can’t simply ignore them. The best option is to spread out the cost. Tally everything up that isn’t a monthly budget item: doctor fees, maternity clothes, whatever money you’ll lose during maternity leave, birthing classes, nursery furniture, etc. Spread out the cost over the next several months – it’s easier than needing a huge lump sum here and there.
3. Take advantage your health insurance – you don’t contribute to it every week for nothing! Those OBGYN appointments are important and healthcare is not the area where you want to cut back, particularly if you have the potential for a high-risk pregnancy (Source: Dr. Gilbert W. Webb USNews). Using a resource like vitals.com will help put you in touch with the right doctor for your health and financial needs. You will also want to check with your company’s health plan for options – some HMO and PPO plans have better coverage for pregnant women and families. Once the baby is born, don’t skimp on those pediatric appointments either, they are extremely important.
4. Start the habit early of not buying non-necessities – if you can begin when the baby’s still in your belly, it’ll be easier to continue the trend once you have your little one in your arms. Do you need all of those onesies? Probably not, especially since you’ll get tons of hand-me-downs from friends with kids. Does your child need the latest, greatest gadget? Maybe, but not definitely – think it through before you swipe your credit card. Oh, and if you can’t pay for something with cash, maybe you shouldn’t be buying it at all.
Having a baby is a huge expense, but one that’s hugely worth it. If you’ve been financially responsible for the last few years, odds are that you won’t find budgeting for baby too much of a burden.