“Babies are expensive.” is an old saying that, whenever I hear, I like to rephrase to: “Babies can be expensive.”
Many mothers choose to stay home with their children while their partners take on full responsibility of being the income provider. On the other hand, there is a continually growing amount of women who choose to return to work after having a baby, then needing to budget for childcare services. And yet still, there are single parents who must balance a bit of everything.
Whatever your situation may be, chances are you’ve found yourself pining for ways you can save a penny here and there while still accommodating to all your little one’s growing needs.
Yes, babies can be expensive, but they certainly don’t have to be. There are numerous ways you can still provide the best possible care for your new family member and not feel like you are going to drown in debt. In this three-part series I will share with you the best ways I’ve learned first-hand how to save money before the delivery, during the newborn phase and into early toddlerhood.
Before the baby arrives…
- Explore insurance options and talk to your HR department. Yes, this may be the last thing you want to do when you have a mile-long list of nesting to-do’s, but if you take the time to call your insurance company, you could save hundreds or even thousands on your medical bill. Discuss with them your policy plan and how much you might pay for the delivery of your baby. If you have open enrollment in the near future, it might be a good idea to switch plans to one with better coverage so you have a lower deductible and out-of-pocket maximums. Also, make it a point to stop by your human resources department at work to discuss with them the inclusions of your maternity leave. Ask questions like, “Do you offer paid or unpaid leave?”, “Will I need to find someone to assist with my work while I am out of office?”, “What is the process like if I need to take more time off?”, and “What paperwork will I need to complete before taking my leave and how far in advance do I need to give my notice?” Have your partner do this too; you might be surprised to discover that some companies offer some sort of paid paternity leave!
- Stock up on diapers. Since you will still be living in pre-baby income mode, it is a very good idea to use the extra funds to grab the essentials now. My partner and I did this and were feeling pretty good about ourselves when we didn’t need to buy diapers for the first four months of our daughter’s life! I would advise stocking up on smaller packs of several different brands in different sizes; that way if you discover you’re more of Huggies fan over Pampers, you won’t have a bulk-sized box of unwanted diapers. Also, take into account that you will probably receive a decent amount of newborn diapers from the hospital and baby shower, if you have one… (more on that next) so grab a few larger sizes.
- Have a baby shower! Think of this as an opportunity to get a TON of baby essentials in one setting without feeling guilty about asking for hand-outs. Typically, the mother, aunt(s), and/or sister(s) of the mama-to-be hosts the baby shower, contributing to all the work of throwing a party; sending out invitations, hosting a location and providing snacks and beverages to the guests. If you don’t have family who can host the party, kindly ask a friend, or the mother of your partner. Another option would be to host it yourself, but make it simple! To save money on the invitations, create a private Facebook event. Then, host it at your favorite restaurant or coffee shop so you won’t need to worry about decorations or paying for food for everyone. Make sure you do the most important part – register for your gifts! I used Target, for its convenience and simplicity and Amazon for its diversity and availability of products. If you get a gift you don’t particularly like or need, return it and use the store credit you received to buy other essentials like diapers or formula. And don’t forget to thank your guests for their gifts!
- Utilize hand-me-downs. Its unfortunate that so many people scoff at the idea of using gently-used furniture or baby equipment, but if you can find it from a trusted source in good condition, you might be saving yourself hundreds of dollars! Try out consignment shops that specifically sell baby and children’s items, hit garage sales, and ask friends and family if they have anything they would be willing to give to you or sell for a good price. My partner and I had a great time repainting and giving new life to my old childhood dresser.
- Consider what you might not need. There are so many different products marketed to make life with a newborn easier. Wipe warmer, bottle warmer, diaper genie, dresser with built-in changing table, eighteen-setting swing… The choices are endless! And pricey. I’ll admit that I have a few items that have made my life easier, but I made the choice to not purchase these things until after meeting my little one. I realized I did not need a changing table; a blanket and the floor worked just fine for me (and still does!). Some of those non-essentials can add up quickly, so save yourself some extra cash for diapers (or date night) by taking a few more minutes to do things “the old-fashioned way.”
*Note: I am not an affiliate of any of the products or services listed above. All advice and ideas mentioned are my own opinion.
Your nine months of pregnancy will fly by and before you know it, you will be holding the tiny little human you created. Use the time you have now before the chaotic stress of being a new parent sets in to prepare for your newborn, and you won’t be sorry!
What money-saving steps did you take for your little one’s arrival? Is there any products you regret buying or found that you just didn’t need? I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below! Xo, Alyssa