Preparing for a baby can cause many emotions for parents and parents-to-be. From excitement, to worry, there are many things to take into consideration before baby’s arrival. One of the most important things is ensuring you have prepared financially for your new bundle of joy. Whether you’re trying to get pregnant, or you’re 6 months along, this guide will provide you with the tools and ideas you need to get your finances in order.
1) Set up a dedicated savings account for baby/maternity needs
This is the first, and arguably most important step in saving for baby. Your baby WILL cost you money, so start saving now. And don’t mix this money in with your traditional, or emergency savings accounts. Having a separate bank account for all things baby will 1) help you visualize and reach your goals quicker, and 2) will prevent you from spending that money at all costs. I recommend setting up a high interest account through Barclay Bank (currently 1.40% APY!).
2) Set up automatic withdraws from your main account to the “Baby Savings”, on the day you get paid
Whether you can dedicate $40 a month or $400, choose an amount of money you’re comfortable with. Already living paycheck-to-paycheck? The automatic withdraws coming out on payday will make it so you don’t “miss” this money throughout the rest of the month. It’s like you never even had it available to you. If you feel that you can’t afford any amount of money, take a look at step 3.
3) Practice living on your postpartum budget, now
Let’s face it, you’re going to have added expenses when baby arrives, from diapers and wipes, to clothes and bathing supplies – baby is going to cost some money. Since you have some time before baby comes, this is the best time to figure out your entire budget, while taking those extras into consideration. If you didn’t have a family budget before – there is no better time to start. Figure out what (if necessary) you will cut from your spending in order to fit in the baby stuff. Assuming you are breastfeeding and not worrying about childcare costs, these are conservative (aka frugal) estimates for things you’ll need for the babe, for the first few months:
Diapers & wipes: $80/month
Clothes (babys grow FAST): $30
Bath supplies, diaper cream, etc.: $15
These regularly needed items will add up to about $135/month. Since you know you’ll be missing this amount from your budget, determine where you can cut costs to make up for this amount, and start doing it now. Need ideas?
- Negotiate a lower rate with your cable company (approximate savings $20/month)
- Skip one dinner out per week, and instead get fast food or cook at home (approximate savings $50/month)
- Cut your grocery bill (approximate savings $40/month)
- Give up that Starbucks run just once per week (approximate savings $25/month)
Now, the last step when you’ve started living on your normal budget minus baby costs – take the money saved, and deposit it directly into the “Baby Savings” account.
4) Load up on Mom-to-be freebies
There are TONS of companies that give out free samples, and full sized products to moms-to-be. Why you ask? A couple of reasons: 1) Companies want you to try their product so that you want to purchase more, and so that you’ll spread the word about the product through word-of-mouth. or 2) You get freebies by signing up for registries or email lists, which allow these companies to market their products to you regularly. Take advantage of these. If you don’t want your email spammed, set up a new email strictly for deals and freebies. Here is a list of companies offering free things, and what you’ll get:
Amazon Registry – Free Welcome Box – (items may vary) but typically you’ll get a swaddle blanket, bib, a bottle, Huggies wipes, The Honest Company diapers, samples sizes of baby lotion, shampoo, etc
Target Baby Registry – Free Welcome Kit – (items may vary) but typically you’ll get a bottle, pacifier, diapers, diaper carrying bag, sample sizes of baby lotion, shampoo, etc. Signup in-store for this welcome bag.
Enfamil Family Club – They will send you lots of free formula, formula sample packets, feeding guides, and many coupons for formula. A $400 value!
A FREE Carseat Canopy Cover – Seriously! These cute carseat covers typically cost $49.95. With this coupon code flg2018, you get $50 off. Making your final cost (before shipping) F-R-E-E!
Free Hooded Towel – Adorable hooded towels for baby. Using this code flg2018, you get $35 off. The typical towel costs $35, netting you a free towel for baby!
Free Nursing Pillow – Yes, you will need a nursing pillow! These are just like the brand name Boppy pillows, but cuter. Use the code flg2018 for $40 off.
Free Pregnancy Pillow – This is for your comfort before baby. Take $50 off with code flg2018.
Destination Maternity Welcome Kit – You’ll get a free Avent bottle, coupons for various retailers, and a subscription to ‘Parents’ and ‘Family Circle’ magazines for a one-time cost of $3. For me, it was worth the $3 just for the magazines. You have to signup in-store for the welcome kit.
5) Register smart for your baby shower(s)
If you’re lucky enough to be having a baby shower, you’ll likely find that several of your wishlist items for baby will be purchased for you. Include the necessary items on your baby shower registry. The frills and fun things should come only after you’ve ensured you have the bare necessities for baby. So instead of registering for that adorable tutu, register for important baby gear and essentials like towels, onesies, thermometers, etc.
When choosing where to register, make sure they check these things off your list:
- Do they offer a completion discount so you get a price break on things you didn’t get at the shower?
- Do they offer free returns, beyond 30 days?
- Are there any rewards offered (for example, Babies-r-Us gives you 10% back on ALL items purchased on your registry)
6) Consider creating a “Maternity Leave Fund” on your Registry
For the Moms-to-be that don’t get paid maternity leave, consider adding a “Maternity Leave Fund” items to your registry. You can do this on all-inclusive registry sites like babylist.com. It’s kind of like a Honeyfund where people can gift a desired amount of money towards the fund, which ultimately just gets paid out to you in cash.
7) Dedicate “extra” money to the Baby Savings
Do you get 26 paychecks per year? If so, there are two months during the year when you’re paid THREE times. If you time this right, you will literally have two extra paychecks. Mark your paydays on your calendar and identify the months where there are three. Try your best to save half of one of those “extra” paychecks in the Baby Savings.
It’s almost tax return season! I’m not saying you need to put your entire refund into the Baby Savings, but dedicate some of it to this important account. For example – we plan to dedicate most of our tax return to our house savings, so we’ll put a whole amount into the house savings, and the remaining into Baby Savings. So, if our refund is $2,350, we will put $350 of this into Baby Savings.