Most parents can probably attest that money seems to fly out the window when a new baby is brought into this world. With a little bit of planning and thoughtful spending, you may be able to make your dollars stretch just a bit longer.
Are you ready to trim down some expenses on your new baby? Well, here are five easy ways you may not have thought about to save money on baby costs.
Check Insurance Costs and Benefits
A quick way to save on medical costs for your baby is by simply comparing insurance plans. If you and your spouse both work and are offered an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, then you need to compare costs. Just as your human resource officer or your plan coordinator for these details:
- Monthly cost to add your baby to the plan
- Individual Deductible Limits
- Family Deductible
Once you have your information, have your partner ask his employer for the same information. Then you can make an informed decision on whose plan the baby should be added to. Please note, most insurance plans have automatic coverage language in the plan documents. This means your baby will be automatically covered for their first 30 days, and you don’t need to do anything. However, you need to be careful. Some plans require the baby to be automatically covered under the oldest parent’s insurance plan (even if that’s the one you opt not to use).
Borrow and Trade
A big money waster many new parents do is trying to buy the fanciest, biggest and newest gadgets for their baby. But that’s not needed. Most parents quickly learn that you don’t need the newest toy to please your newborn. So don’t be afraid to borrow or trade to save a little money.
If you know anyone who had a baby within the past year or so, see if they would be willing to let you borrow some of their newborn items — like a swing, bouncer, and even clothes. If they are like most parents, they are probably holding on to the baby equipment for when they’re ready to have baby number two (or three). They may not be ready just yet, which means they may not mind making room in their garage for a few months while you use them. Make sure to ask your friends and family members to see if they’ve held onto any equipment or clothes they’re willing to let you borrow.
However, when it comes to borrowing, trading, or buying secondhand, make sure of a few things:
- It can be easily cleaned and sanitized.
- It has not passed its expiration date. Read what parents need to know about baby product safety standards HERE.
- It has not had any safety recalls on it (a quick Google search can help).
- If it’s a car seat, make sure it’s never been involved in a wreck. If you’re unsure, then buy new.
Breastfeed or Pump
If you plan to breastfeed or if you’re able to, then that’s obviously the best budget saver. However, not every mom will be able to, and that’s okay. If you’re planning on breastfeeding, here’s a couple of savings ideas:
- Borrow a breast pump. You’ll have to replace some parts with new, sanitized pieces, but that should be fairly inexpensive.
- Go through your insurance plan to see if they will cover the cost of a new breast pump.
- Wait to purchase any nursing tops or bras. You may want one or two to take with you to the hospital, but don’t go out and spend money on new clothes until you know for sure breastfeeding fits you and the baby.
If you plan on starting with formula or are unable to breastfeed, here’s a tip:
- Don’t feel pressured to buy the most expensive formula on the market. All formulas sold in the United States have to go through rigorous testing before being allowed on the shelves. Just start with a more cost-effective brand or use coupons.
Don’t Buy Too Many Baby Clothes During Pregnancy.
It’s every mother’s dream to buy cute newborn clothes and fill their closet to the top. However, hold off a bit. It’s hard to determine how big or small your little one will be. I was convinced I would have a close to 9-pound baby and brought only newborn clothes to the hospital. It never occurred to me to pick up one preemie-sized outfit, just in case. When our son decided to come early, he didn’t even weigh six pounds. I was stuck with drawers full of newborn clothes (that we used after he turned a month old) and had to go out and buy preemie clothes to get us through.
Plus, you’ll probably receive a lot of clothes at your baby shower and from family members that can help get you through the first few months.
Save Money At The Hospital
Hopefully, your insurance plan will cover most charges at the hospital; however, it’s good to make sure. Call your insurance provider or hospital and ask what to expect after your baby is born. They may be able to give you a range depending on which birthing process you use (natural or c-section).
If you’re concerned with any out-of-pocket costs, get a list of those from your insurance and then make sure to say no at the hospital.
Take the diapers and wipes the nursery provides. Take a look into the bassinet that your baby is kept in — peek in drawers and shelves to grab any of the diapers, wipes, and creams they provide. You may even find extra swaddling blankets, a nasal aspirator, and more in your baby’s bassinet.