Having a baby is a major life changing event that can excite and overwhelm in equal measure. Financially it marks the start of a new era, and more often than not results in having to bring in a greater level of financial planning that was previously unnecessary. Planning and budgeting on the arrival of your first baby is a task that can result in feeling more relief and accomplishment than trepidation, so understanding the basics of what to expect and how to plan ahead of time can help make sure that you and your family are ready and prepared for the arrival of this new life.
Understand Your Costs and Finances
The first step in something as crucial as budgeting for a baby is to understand your costs and finances. Begin by looking at your income and expenses and seeing what your current financial situation is. To make this easier, you can make an spreadsheet of all your monthly expenses — things like housing, transportation, groceries, utilities, savings, debt payments, and more.
This will give you a better idea of how much you need to budget for a baby arriving into the family. You’ll need to think about things like diapers, food, clothing, baby gear, and more. Estimate how much these costs may be and factor them into your spreadsheet and budget. This will be your jump-off point for your budget.
Determine What's Necessary
The costs can quickly add-up of having a baby, so by understanding what items you actually need is important when budgeting. Look for items in the safest and most cost-effective way. For example, it can be tempting to go out and buy everything brand new and top of the line — but having a baby means the need for basic items to help make the experience easier more often than not.
Borrowing, hand-me-downs, and finding deals are great ways of saving money on gear, making sure you get what you need without stretching your budget too much. Have a conversation with family and friends that have recently gone through and experienced having a baby, and what their costs looked like. Getting second-hand advice can be really helpful in budgeting for a baby and can give you some insight on what to expect and what you may need for your own.
Invest in Important Items
When it comes to budgeting for a baby it is important to invest in the correct items to make sure your budget is still manageable. It can be tempting to get every new item and technology, though having a baby does mean making sure you quality is always number one. Items like convertible car seats, strollers, and breast pumps are all important pieces of gear that can help during the life of a baby.
Think about quality, longevity, and safety when it comes to the necessary items you buy for the baby. You don’t need a new plush stroller or fanciest bassinet, but definitely plan for items that are safe and longer lasting than cheaper versions. Look for items that convert as the baby grows and feature more than one function.
Know Where to Get Deals
The internet can be a great resource for shopping around and finding the best deals on items for the baby. Look online for shops that specialize in discount brands, clearance items, and sales. Become familiar with the stores you think you’ll be needing and the items they have available and use online resources to find the best prices.
This can also be a great route to look for gear if you’re going the second-hand route. Sites like Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace, as well as newsletters from online stores like Buy Buy Baby or Target can be a great way to get informed about all the potential deals you can get on the items you need for the baby.
Talk to People
Getting the opinions and advice from others that have gone through the same process of having a baby and budgeting for one can be really eye-opening. Talking to friends and family and really understanding the experience of the costs of a baby can potentially give a better idea of what to expect in terms of budgeting, and how you can save money and not overspend as the baby arrives.
This will also help you find any unexpected costs that have arisen or any major pointers to take note of as you plan to welcome a baby into your family. You can also find budgeting advice online from baby bloggers or personal finance bloggers that share stories of their own experiences.
One of the most important things you can do while budgeting for a baby is to plan ahead and be prepared for any potential hiccups. Look into any tax credits and deductions that may benefit you when you’re filing your taxes after you welcome the baby. Try to start saving money in advance, even if only a small amount every month.
Look for relative deals on clothing and gear. Be prepared to prioritize any of the unexpected items such as medical fees, treatments, or medications. If you’re expecting twins or multiples make sure you think about overall costs and try to save as much money as you can.
From understanding your finances, to speaking with others, budgeting ahead and being prepared for a baby can make a huge difference when welcoming your little one to the family. Ultimately, the strategy should revolve around quality, safety, and stability. Whether you’re prioritizing budget for items necessary for baby or days before the baby arrives, make sure you understand everything you’re getting and how it’s going to work out for not just you, but your entire family. With the correct planning and budget your baby will have what it needs in a way that works for every budget.