Having a baby is one of the most exciting times as a family. From your daily routine to your bank account, babies change just about everything. And as a parent, you want the best for your growing baby. You want them to have the future of their dreams and help with anything they need — whether that be a college fund, daycare, or clothes.
Nowadays, there are more baby products available than ever before and navigating where to spend and where to save can get confusing. Studies show that by 2025, the baby market is projected to reach an all-time high of $16.78 billion. We’ve come up with 11 go-to tips when budgeting for a baby and ways to save as new parents.
1. Be Aware of Hidden Hospital Add-Ons
There’s no denying the large tab of visiting the hospital. On average, delivering a baby costs upwards of $8,802 when factoring in prenatal, delivery, and post-delivery services. To avoid any additional charges during your stay, opt out of add-ons you don’t need. For instance, having your own private delivery room can cost $500 a day. Even using the TV can cost your family $8 a day.
Even though hospitals charge for extras like watching TV, most will send you home with baby supplies at no additional charge. Stock up on diapers, wipes, onesies, pacifiers, and baby wraps at the hospital to save an extra $30 to $40 and a trip to the store.
2. Pay Off What You Can Before the Baby Arrives
As your baby grows up, so will your finances. Hospital bills, a safer vehicle, or upcoming school expenses are just a few examples of added expenses. You and your partner may already be chipping away at your debt, but you’re ready to welcome a baby into the world. Start prepping for this time by paying off more of your debt than usual.
If you normally contribute 10 percent of your monthly income to debt, consider bumping your payments up to the highest recommended debt payments of 36 percent. Print out our stroller debt payoff tracker to celebrate the small payoff achievements leading up to your desired goal. Color in each circle until your carriage is full. If you’re wondering how to successfully go about paying off your debt, start by figuring out your ideal debt repayment strategy.
3. Use a Budgeting App Like Mint
As a parent, you want to give your children the world and then some. With a baby arriving shortly, there’s going to be another hungry mouth to feed, more medical bills, and necessary clothing expenses added to your monthly budget. There’s no doubt having a baby requires a slight increase in your monthly expenses, but setting a clear budget will help you avoid overspending on strollers and baby toys.
Track your spending habits using our app to get an idea of what your current monthly expenses are like. Start by calculating your current monthly fixed and variable expenses, set savings, and debt pay off goals, and track your progress. Based on that, estimate how much extra you’ll be spending each month on baby supplies (the average is between $150–300 extra a month), if you haven’t already. Take notes on anything that needs to be revised for the next month to ensure clear financial expectations as your baby continues to grow.
4. Prioritize Your Pre-Delivery Purchases
The first few weeks after delivery, there are only a few things you’ll need. Some first week necessities are baby bottles, blankets, and somewhere comfortable for your baby to sleep. Luckily enough, these are materials that your hospital is likely to give you and your family for free. As babies can come out bigger or smaller than expected, hold off on filling your baby’s closet with cute clothes until you know where they fall on the growth rate chart.
Before delivery, prioritize essential purchases such as a safe car seat, a safe and comfortable crib, and a small collection of feeding supplies. Once your family is home, reach out to your loved ones to see what you may be able to borrow. Print out our newborn checklist to keep track of everything you need to pick up at the store. Not only does this cut down on your budget, using hand-me-downs can help save the earth, one onesie at a time!
5. Embrace Hand-Me-Downs
Babies grow fast! On average, from delivery to their first six months, babies grow about a half to a full inch each month, amounting to double their delivery weight by month five. Not to mention, breast pumps and strollers can cost your family hundreds of dollars for only a couple of years of use. Instead of forking over more than you would like on newborn baby supplies, ask your friends and family who recently had babies if they have any hand-me-downs they’d lend or gift you.
If your loved ones don’t have any extras, check out a discounted retail store to find strollers, carriers, or clothes at a fraction of the cost. Also check out discount stores for items you won’t want to reuse like pacifiers, sheets, and bottle nips. Doing so could free up your budget and put a little more into your family’s savings.
6. Go Easy On Yourself
After having a baby, all you want to do is be by their side until you’re fully recovered. Not to mention, babies require a lot of time and attention. This can sometimes make the little things just that much more special. You may not have your coffee before noon or put on jeans for a few weeks. Not to mention all the firsts your baby will experience the first year on this earth.
Celebrate every achievement you can, even if that means finally responding to your texts for the first time this week or taking your newborn out in public for the first time. Print out our new parent achievement stickers to cut out and add to your fridge, scrapbook, or even your bathroom mirror to remember how far you and your baby have come since birth.
7. Research Lesser-Known Discounts
Brainstorm unique ways to save on your baby budget. Aside from asking your hospital for extra supplies, see if your insurance agency will reimburse your breast pump cost. For most health insurance companies, this is a must on their list of expenses to cover. Before heading out shopping, check out each store’s website for coupons you’re able to stack on top of sales.
Look into your local retail subscription options for additional discounts. For instance, Amazon provides specific discounts for those that subscribe to their Amazon Family monthly expense for busy families.
8. Trade Babysitting With Your Friends
On average, babysitters can cost $17 or more an hour. To save from spending upwards of hundreds of dollars for a babysitter on a date night, call up your friends that already have a baby and ask for a trade. Not only can you both save money on babysitters, your kids will grow up with a best friend.
To make babysitting even easier, hand out our printable health log so your friends are in-tune with your baby’s health. On days you plan on getting a sitter, print out our baby health log to keep track of your baby’s sleep and feeding times, mood throughout the day, and any appointments coming up. That way, if your baby starts crying, there’s an easy framework for your sitter to navigate if your baby’s hungry or tired.
9. Be Prepared For Big and Small Emergencies
Accidents happen more frequently when you have a baby. Always be prepared for mishaps with your own baby care bag for your diaper bag and car. In each bag, have extra diapers, wipes, an extra outfit, ointment, an extra t-shirt for you, and snacks.
Being ready for anything can save you from spending money and time on finding supplies on the go. Double check each baby car bag every week to ensure your bag’s stocked when you need it most.
10. Recruit a Friend to Photograph
Newborn baby photoshoots normally start at about $300 and hours spent in a studio. Stay in the comfort of your own home and ask one of your closest friends to come over and take baby photos for a free coffee and a home-cooked breakfast.
Plan your photo shoot around your baby’s regular nap time. Borrow a cute headpiece, like a headband or hat, or create your own for a photo prop. Ask a friend or family member to come over every three to six months to take growth pictures. Print out our photo printable below to feature in each picture to see how big your baby grows over the year.
11. Have a DIY Family Prep Night
Get crafty and create your own baby wrap, wooden play gym, or wipes for a fun family night — while putting money back into your bank account. Depending on the quality of items you purchase, you could spend up to $547 on wipes each year. Not to mention, baby wraps cost between $29 to $60 each and toys can endlessly rack up your budget.
Making your own baby supplies at home can be done rather easily. Wipes can be made with paper towels, water, soap, and oil. A baby wrap can be made with five yards of soft fabric, scissors, and threat. While saving your family money, you’re also cutting down on waste. Creating your own reusable baby cloth wipes and purchasing inexpensive reusable diapers can be a simple way to save money and the earth.
Once your baby comes, you’ll want to spend the majority of your time celebrating your baby rather than your finances. Plan your budget in advance so you and your partner are able to sit back and relax while saving for your baby’s future.
Sources: Parents | Morning Motivated Mom | Mother.ly | Kid’s Health | Dave Ramsey | Baby Gaga | Scary Mommy | Mayo Clinic | Closer Online | Baby Center | Crazy Koupon Lady | Care | ThumbTack | Mom Loves Best |