When I was pregnant with our son I remember bouts of panic hitting me – could we really afford a baby? My husband and I were doing fine, sure, we could pay our bills, save a little extra each month, but we weren’t traveling to exotic places or living large. So, the thought of having to provide for another person, especially one so helpless as a newborn baby was scary.
I realized after my son was born and talking to other new, first-time moms and even second-time moms that my fear wasn’t specific to just me. It seems that most expectant mothers worry about money. As moms, we worry whether or not we will actually be able to afford everything we need, we are already picturing all of the college expenses for our little one and they aren’t even here yet.
Sometimes, we need to take a step back and just create a plan. As someone who loves a good to-do list, I think having a financial checklist is a great place to start to relieve some of that stress and worry.
Here are three proven ways you can reduce your financial stress while pregnant.
Each step has multiple ways to reach your goal, so you can easily find a solution that fits your current situation. The first step is to get your budget ready for baby then build your cash cushion, and finally you can find easy ways to help you save money on some of those needed items for baby.
1. Get Your Budget Ready
Spend time reviewing your budget before baby comes. You might need to start being more mindful of your spending – eating out, groceries, entertainment, etc. Once you have a good handle on your expenses, you can start building in future expenses for the baby. This is a great way to learn to go with less for those discretionary items. Include expenses such as daycare, formula, diapers, doctor visits and so on.
Call around to get an average price or do research online for the typical monthly expense would be. Then you can add that into your budget. It’s recommended to physically remove those new expenses from your checking account, so simply transfer those into a savings account (which will help you quickly build your cash cushion, too).
It’s also smart to budget in items that you don’t think you’ll need, such as formula and bottles. Hopefully, if you want to breastfeed then you will have no issues; however, that isn’t the case for all moms. Take it from someone who drove herself crazy trying to breastfeed and produce breast milk. It just wasn’t in the cards for me, so we ended up with having to buy formula for our baby.
2. Build A Cash Cushion
Experts recommend for families to have a minimum of $1,000 in their emergency fund at all times. However, when you’re expecting it doesn’t hurt to have enough to cover your family’s insurance deductible in addition to your $1,000 minimum.
Research your medical insurance online or call your provider to learn what your family’s deductible is. As the mom you probably have a deductible of anywhere from $500 to $1,000 for the year; however, your family deductible could be $2,500 or higher. It’s best to be prepared if you have any other medical conditions arise during or after your pregnancy or to cover your newborn if he or she should need to be admitted to the NICU for any period of time.
A quick way to help you build your cash cushion before the baby arrives is to save at least 10% of each paycheck. You can set an automatic transfer through your bank to send a set amount on payday to your savings account. You probably spend more than 10% of your paycheck each month in eating out for lunch and dinner, so just make an effort to eat at home more and to bring your lunch to work during the week.
3. Save More On Things For Baby
Most new parents are fortunate enough to have multiple baby showers thrown for them, which is a great way to get lots of baby items. However, there are probably a few items you will still need to buy before the baby arrives. There are some great ways to save money on those things.
If you love Amazon then signing up for their baby registry is a no brainer. They have thousands of items to choose from and they make it easy to share your wish list with friends and family. Plus, for those non-prime users, you can get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.
In addition, Amazon offers a completion discount for items ordered off the registry. According to their site, “The completion discount is a discount on select remaining items from your registry. The discount offer is 10% for primary registrants.” If that wasn’t enough they also give you a discount on prints for the first 18 months of your baby’s life.
Company Newsletters and Free Samples:
Sign up for all the baby product newsletters you can find. For example there are Enfamil, Similac, Pampers, Huggies, and other baby companies’ newsletters. Most companies will send you samples of their products and coupons. Also, more than likely if you enter your child’s due date or birthday then the company will continue to send samples through their first 12 months and some will even continue to send samples through their toddler years.
Retailers like Walmart, Target, Kohls, and other stores give welcome boxes with samples, free bottles, diapers, wipes, coupons, and other items when you register. Target even offers 15% discount on all the items left on your registry after your child’s birth, too. It’s a great way to add those expensive items like a crib, car seat and rocker that you’re afraid no one will be able to afford. Add them and then you can use any gift cards you receive, plus the 15% off, towards your items.