Baby on board? Congratulations! Having a baby is a life-changing event, and it’s a pretty fun ride if I say so myself.
You’re about to enter a whole new world of responsibility, which probably makes you feel excited and nervous, all wrapped into one. Don’t worry. That’s all completely normal and expected, especially if those nerves are tied to your financial stability.
It’s no secret that having a baby is expensive, and the new costs that come along with parenthood can be overwhelming. Take it from me—I’m a brand-new first-time mom myself, so I can definitely relate to some of the feelings you may be experiencing. But friends, I’m here to tell you that with a little planning and budgeting, it can be a smooth transition.
I've got firsthand knowledge on what to expect when you add baby expenses into the mix, so I'm here to help you navigate through the ins and outs of what you'll need during your pregnancy and beyond.
You’re probably wondering what’ll happen to your budget. Is it still possible to save money with a baby on the way? Absolutely.
Once you lay eyes on your sweet bundle of joy, you’ll likely feel the urge to spoil him with clothing, toys, books, and accessories that make you think, “This is perfect for my baby!” While that’s certainly a natural reaction, it can be easy to get a bit carried away. Impulse buys add up rather quickly, so it’s important to keep your budget in check. Focus on the necessities first and foremost.
If you’ve been practicing sticking to your budget, you’re off to a great start already. But now you’ll need to make some adjustments to prepare for the expenses that come along with a new baby. Still need to create your budget? Start now and include the extra baby expenses right off the bat.
Start Saving Now
When you find out your happy news, plan to start saving money right away.
At GOLD, we’ve got Custom Club Accounts that can be personalized to your saving needs. Club accounts are designed to help you reach your savings dreams quickly. Set aside a designated amount from each paycheck, and watch your savings grow. Then, fast forward nine months and you’ll feel much more confident with your increased savings to be able to comfortably provide for your newborn.
The earlier you start saving, the better. You may have nine months of pregnancy to prepare for baby, but the expenses start early on in your pregnancy. Between doctor visits, maternity clothes, and other gear for mom, you’ll be shelling out cash before your baby ever even makes her big debut.
New Baby, New Responsibilities, New Expenses
Even if you’ve been down the parenthood road before, it’s still a new experience any way you look at it. With any new baby comes additional responsibilities and, of course, new expenses.
So, what exactly does the baby need? Here's the scoop on what you’ll need before, during, and after baby’s arrival.
The upfront costs are typically associated with your big-ticket items, and more often than not, will only require a one-time purchase. Think of what the baby needs most when it’s time to head home from the hospital:
- Infant car seat
- Baby crib with mattress, fitted crib sheets, and blankets/swaddles
- Changing table/dresser
- Rocker or glider
- Infant/toddler bathtub
- Play mat/activity gym
- Diaper pail
The above list includes some of the most important items that you’ll need immediately. Most items on this list come with the highest price tag, so be sure to check those off first.
Now, let’s talk ongoing expenses. This list is made up of the necessities that you’ll need to keep buying, like formula, diapers, and clothing.
Formula: If you’re planning on feeding your baby formula, or have to supplement with formula, there’s plenty of great options. The more your baby grows, the more he’ll eat. Always check for formula coupons before heading to your local Target, Walmart, or grocery store to help you save. Additionally, you’ll need plenty of bottles, nipples, and bottle brushes, so stock up on those as well. It’s good to have multiple bottles in rotation so you’re not rushing around to find or clean one when baby’s hungry.
Diapers: There’s no such thing as too many diapers. Whether you’re planning to use disposable diapers or cloth diapers, you’ll go through them fast. In the first few months, expect an average of about 8-10 wet or dirty diapers a day. You’ll also want to stock up on wipes and diaper rash cream. And don’t forget about a diaper bag! It’s worth it, especially when it comes to carrying all these items (and more) on the go.
Clothing and Accessories: Onesies, rompers, shirts, pants, sweaters, dresses, pajamas, sleepsuits, socks, mittens, hats—the list goes on when it comes to clothing and accessories. Babies will need a wide range of sizes starting at newborn, but she’ll outgrow clothing at lightning speed, so try not to go overboard. Get a few newborn sizes to start, then switch to 0-3 months, and continue going up from there as needed. Plan for at least two outfits a day (in case she makes a mess), and one sleepsuit for nighttime.
Nursery Décor: Of course, you’ll want to decorate the nursery. This is one of the most fun parts during your pregnancy, so let your creativity soar! Got a theme? Whether you’re envisioning safari animals or princesses, you’ll want to dress the room up with bookshelves, wall art, photo frames, and more to be the perfect space for your little one. Whatever you decide, just make sure your spending stays within your budget.
Less Obvious Expenses
Phew! I know it’s a pretty lengthy list so far but stay with me! Now that you’re filled in on the more expected expenses, let’s talk about some costs that might not be as obvious:
Healthcare/Insurance Costs: Does your employer offer health insurance? Research what the plan includes and what expenses you’ll be responsible for. Adding a new baby to the plan usually means your plan cost will increase (along with your contribution to the cost), which causes your paychecks to take a hit.
Doctor Visits/Copays: While preventive care like well visits are usually covered by insurance without a copay, expect to see a lot of your pediatrician once baby arrives, especially during the first couple years of her life. Colds, rashes, and other illness are par for the course with a little one, and those copays/deductibles can add up fast. If your employer offers a Flex Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA), consider enrolling to save towards eligible medical expenses with tax-free funds.
Life Insurance: If you don’t already have a life insurance policy, now may be the time for one. Once your little one comes home, you’ll want the protection and peace of mind that life insurance provides for your family and their needs.
Daycare/Nanny: Unless you’re able to be a stay-at-home parent, do you have a plan for who’s going to care for the baby while you’re at work? If you’re considering daycare, start scheduling tours around the 6-7 month mark of your pregnancy. If you’re leaning toward a nanny, begin researching caregivers in your area. According to Care.com data, weekly childcare costs have risen significantly over the past six years. The average weekly childcare cost for one infant child is $565 for a nanny, $215 for a day care center (also referred as a "childcare center") and $201 for a family care center.
Maternity Leave: How long are you planning to take time off work? Does your employer offer maternity leave? If so, is it fully or partially covered? You’ll definitely want and need to take some time off for yourself and your new baby. Forming a strong bond with your baby is extremely important and provides him with a sense of security and helps him to better develop both physically and emotionally. Have this discussion with your significant other early on to make a plan for bridging the gap if maternity leave isn’t fully paid.
Utility Bills: You may see an increase in your utility bills because you’ll be using the water much more frequently for laundry, baths, and dishes. Plus, you’ll want to keep your home warmer and more well-lit.
You've Got This
This probably seems like a lot, and honestly, it is. But here’s how I look at it. If, from the start you know what to expect when you’re expecting, then there’s less surprises in the long run, meaning you’ll be a little less stressed from a financial standpoint. Adjust your budget and savings plan early to be better prepared financially when the baby is born.
As always, we’re here for you and happy to help any way we can in reaching your savings goals. Don’t have an account yet? Join GOLD today and save for a better future.