If the stress of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy weren’t enough, figuring out how to pay for the expense of it all can feel overwhelming. Who wouldn’t love to find resources for parents to help them save a few dollars, especially with an unstable job market, talk of recession, and higher prices everywhere due to inflation?
According to research discussing mothers and poverty, throughout pregnancy and birth, all women are at increased risk of experiencing at least one hardship like financial strain, job loss, separation from their partners, domestic violence, or homelessness. Still, it’s more likely that women living with low incomes will experience hardship.1
So, what can low-income expecting parents do to ease the financial strain? What resources are available to help stretch every cent? From federal-funded programs to getting free products when you create a registry for your new little bundle of joy, we rounded up a few resources to support expecting parents.
Federal, State, and Other Government Sponsored Programs
Depending on where you live, state and other government-sponsored programs will vary. But many federal programs offer income-based assistance, like cash-based programs to help with your energy bill and extra money for food. Here are four government resources for parents that can help you in various ways.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
This is a cash benefit for low-income families. The program’s name will vary by state, so check out this resource to see if you qualify in your state.2
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
This program helps low-income families with energy bills, energy crises, and weatherization expenses. Visit the LIHEAP directory to see if you qualify in your state.3
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
This program is for low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding and postpartum moms, and infants and children (up to 5 years old). Check out your state to see if you qualify.4
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Formerly known as food stamps or EBT in some states, SNAP benefits are specific food-related benefits for low-income families. Contact your local agency to see if you qualify.5
The best news about store loyalty programs is they don’t cost a thing. When you’re looking to save money wherever you can, look for a reward or loyalty program with the retailers you shop at the most.
A few great places to start are with big-box brands like Target. Its reward program, Target Circle, offers coupons on almost everything, from Target-brand products to manufacturer coupons. On top of those savings, you also earn a small amount of cash back on your purchases when you scan the app or input your loyalty phone number at checkout.
Like Target Circle, a lot of grocery stores offer two-fold savings opportunities. Some may send coupons via snail mail, but many coupons can be found online and added to your loyalty account. It’s also worth asking if they partner with any gas stations because you will save on your total bill and earn points toward a discount on the per-gallon price the next time you visit the pump.
See also: Exclusive Mom and Baby Deals
Depending on which app you use, earning points (or cash) can be as simple as scanning your receipt. More retailers continue to partner with these apps, and it’s a win-win for you! First, use the store’s coupon on your items, and then get cash back on that purchase. While some require you to look at the app before shopping, like Ibotta, others are as simple as scanning your receipt when you get home, like with Fetch. And if you’re doing online shopping or ordering, check out their websites to see who offers more cashback to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Buy-Nothing Groups and Registry Welcome Kits
You know what they say; it takes a village to raise a child, and thanks to the internet and social media, you might get some of that help from people you’ve never met before. Check out your local buy-nothing group (usually on Facebook) as a resource for parents. There you can find all kinds of used, or sometimes new, items for free.
Whatever you can’t find secondhand or in a buy-nothing group will probably go to your baby registry. The great news is that when you register with your favorite retailers, from Amazon to Target, you can receive free products and samples as a welcome and incentive for adding them to your registry.
None of these resources will massively increase your cash flow. But for people who live paycheck to paycheck, even a couple hundred dollars in monthly savings could make or break their budget. There is no shame in using these resources because over half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.6
Kids are super expensive even before they arrive. Use these resources for parents during your pregnancy to ease financial burdens before your little bundle of joy comes and continue to even after they arrive to make your life a little easier.