Pregnancy Prep: Having a Baby Without Blowing Your Budget
Guest blogger:Emily Graham
The cost of having a baby with or without insurance varies drastically from state to state and from hospital to hospital. But the day the baby is born is just the beginning of the bills. According to NerdWallet, 54 percent of prospective parents believe expenses for their baby’s first year of life will total $5,000 or less, while the USDA indicates the average amount is actually closer to $13,000. However, just because many families spend that much on their baby doesn’t mean you need to blow your entire budget and go into debt.
Start Saving Early
If possible, start saving for your baby well in advance of getting pregnant. Even if you don't start saving until the little one is on their way, you can put aside even a small amount of money each month to save for the baby. You might think you don’t have any room to spare in your budget. However, you should take another look. Go through your monthly expenditures line by line to find places to save, including reducing cable TV or internet packages, canceling subscriptions and memberships you don't use, and eliminating unnecessary expenditures like eating out.
Lower Your Expectations About Baby Products
Despite all the marketing for amazing nursery furniture and pricey baby products, newborn babies actually need very little. You can skip the changing table, bouncer, rocker, and even the stroller. You don't need fluffy crib bedding and bumpers, which, according to the National Institutes of Health, are actually dangerous for your little one. You can basically get away with just blankets, car seat, crib, diapers, onesies, wipes, a couple of soft toys, and of course, anything you need for breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.
Shop Smart for the Baby and Yourself
Even if you don’t think you’ll have a baby shower (and you should make sure someone throws one for you!), make a baby registry on Amazon or other site in case anyone asks what you need. This will allow you to accumulate some of those much-needed baby essentials. And though you generally shouldn't buya used car seat or crib, baby and maternity clothes, as well as other baby items, can be purchased used. You can probably even find moms in your local area donating or swapping baby clothes and products.
Tone Down the Gender Reveal
These days, gender reveals are over-the-top. We understand the excitement about announcing the baby's gender, but it doesn't need to be an elaborate or expensive production. Instead, do a simple yet cute social media photo op. For example, you can snap a picture with shoes lined up for each person in your family with a new pair of baby girl or boy shoes at the end of the line. Or, as Kindred Bravely notes, take a photo of your older child(ren) wearing a T-shirt reading, "It’s a Girl” or "It’s a Boy." Another simple idea is just getting a store-bought pinata and loading it with pink or blue candy or trinkets, then posting a video of the parents bursting it. You can do something creative and cute for the gender reveal without spending much money at all.
Ask for Help
If you need assistance, all you need to do is ask! You may have friends who are willing to give or loan baby items to you. You also may be able to get baby formula, infant cereal, and other items through WIC. Police stations, fire stations, charities, and other entities often have car seats available for parents in need. Additionally, Wikibuy notes that some manufacturers and retailers give away plenty of coupons and samples you might find useful.
Preparing for a baby can be an exciting time but stressful too, especially if you are on a tight budget. Remember that you don’t need to spend a fortune to raise a happy and healthy little one. Babies don’t need much more than food, shelter, care, and of course, your love.
Photo via Pixabay
Emily Graham is the creator of MightyMoms.net which offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms -- from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life.