Budgeting for Baby: 13 Money-Saving Strategies
Small savings add up when it comes to life with a new baby.
Matthew Brennan, MD
You have almost 10 months to prepare for your little one's arrival. Just think of all the fun things you need to buy -- a stroller, cute little outfits, and toys of all shapes and sizes. In the excitement of your baby's arrival, you may want to shower your baby with the newest and best of everything.
But before you spend a dime on baby expenses, stop and think about how you'll budget. All those purchases will add up quickly.
Making Sense of Your Baby Dollars
Do a little investigating -- how much will you be spending on your baby each month?
While your costs may vary depending on where you live, you can use these numbers as a guide.
- Day care costs can run about $1,200 a month, depending on your location. When you compare the annual cost of day care vs. the after-tax salary of one parent, two kids in day care can equal about $30,000 in annual salary. Some couples decide that it's cheaper for one parent to work part time or stay at home full-time to care for the kids.
- Check with your doctor to see how many visits you can anticipate, being sure to include visits when your child is sick. Multiply that by your insurance co-pay to find out what you can expect in medical expenses.
- Consider how much you'll be spending on baby supplies each month. Diapers alone can cost you $1,500 to $2,000 in total by the time your baby is out of them.
- Add up additional food costs, including any formula and baby food.
When you add everything together, paying for baby could run your family as much as $2,000 a month. So spending wisely is an absolute must.
Oh Baby, What Savings!
Cut your costs and stay in budget with a little thrift and ingenuity. You can still provide everything your new little one will need and stay within a budget by employing some strategies for thrift. Here are some to consider.
Ask about samples and coupons. Many manufacturers give hospitals samples, coupons, and freebies for new parents. Before you come home, ask the nurses or hospital staff if they have any available.
Don't buy everything at once. Think about your immediate needs for your newborn, and purchase just what your baby will need in the first few months. For example, when your baby first comes home, he or she can sleep in a cradle or bassinet in your room. This means you can hold off on that crib purchase until your little one gets a little bigger. You also won't need a high chair right away. Just be sure you have your car seat purchased and installed before you go to the hospital.