How many times have you heard “Having a baby is expensive”?
Yes, having a baby means you will be spending more money but it doesn’t have to destroy your budget (if you have one).
In fact, call me crazy, but having a baby can make you more financially responsible and a better budgeter.
HOW TO PLAN FOR A BABY ON A BUDGET
When I gave birth, I was on unpaid maternity leave (no money coming in from my side) with student loans (debt). My husband and I had to work with his one income and our savings. This was a situation that called for serious budgeting.
Then, things got shook up again when I went back to work after maternity leave. I had started earning money again but my husband dropped his hours to half-time so that he could stay home and care for our daughter for a few months.
During this eventful and sleep deprived time, we managed to not only pay off our hospital bills but we also didn’t destroy our budget or go into more debt.
How did we do it?
Well, we didn’t rob a grocery store like the moms on ‘Good Girls’.
Here is what we did that was totally legal that worked. 😉
1. ADJUST YOUR HOUSEHOLD BUDGET
This may be obvious but you can’t destroy something that doesn’t exist.
If you only take one thing away from this post, please let it be that you create a monthly budget.
For a long time, I had no budget and a vague idea of how much money was coming in and going out. Creating a budget helped me see a clear financial picture that could be used to create goals and pay off thousands in debt.
Having a budget is the best thing you can do for your family and I recommend you do it today.
Because we already had a budget set before I was pregnant, we were able to sit down and look at our finances as a couple and create a basic baby budget.
I call the initial baby budget basic because we were first-time parents-to-be and had no idea what all the expenses would actually be. Instead of waiting to get bills in the mail, I started doing research.
Imagine a pregnant, female, Sherlock Holmes.
- Prepare for Baby Financially with The Ultimate Baby Budget Planner
2. RESEARCH COST OF HAVING A BABY
When we learned we were pregnant, I began to do research. Kinda of what you are doing right now.
- We researched the average cost of giving birth in our area.
- We did research with our insurance company.
- We asked friends and family about expenses for having a baby.
- We did research on maternity leave policies. We wanted to know how long we could be out of work paid and unpaid.
While it will be difficult to know exactly how much your birth will cost, you may be able to get estimates from your insurance company.
3. SAVE MONEY FOR BABY
All the research confirmed what we had been hearing. Having a baby is expensive. We needed a plan to make sure we could pay for all the expenses we knew were coming. We also needed to save as much as possible.
What were we saving for?
- Regular monthly expenses
- Baby & nursery purchases
- Mom and baby medical expenses
- Adding to a family emergency fund
We saved the most when we were both working full-time; however, we cut back many of our expenses and continued to save while we only had one income too. It took some dedication but we challenged ourselves to live below our means and to stop living paycheck to paycheck before our baby was born.
It’s never too early to begin saving. Baby expenses don’t end; they turn into toddler expenses, adolescent expenses, and then preteen and teen expenses.
Create a strong financial plan for each stage of having a baby.
Think about the process of having a child and how it will change the family dynamics and finances. Can you answer these questions?
Before Pregnancy Baby Planning:
- Do you and your partner want or need short-term or long-term disability insurance?
- Can a policy be helpful if either of you is out of work for an extended period?
- Do you already have policies with your employer?
- Do you have the best health care package that is available? Is open enrollment soon? If so, should you upgrade plans?
During Pregnancy Baby Planning:
- Will you have the means to get to and from the prenatal appointments?
- Will the appointments cause you to lose income? If so, how can you limit the financial burden? (Are their appointment slots that don’t interfere with your work?)
- How will you pay the OB Package or birthing center costs? Do you have a payment plan that works?
During Labor and Birth Baby Planning:
- Who will keep pets and older children while you are at the medical facility? Will there be cost?
- How long does your insurance cover your hospital stay? (Cesarean birth coverage often differs from vaginal birth coverages).
Post-Partum Financial Planning:
- How long are you planning to be out on maternity leave? Is the leave paid at full rate?
- Will dad be taking his paternity leave? Is the leave paid?
- What are childcare expenses?
- Is one parent interested in being a stay-at-home-parent? Can you afford it?
- When the bills begin to arrive, will you have a plan to pay them?
Having the answers to these questions helped immensely when we were planning for a baby financially.
Effective communication is important for every relationship; it becomes especially important when a baby is on the way.
Because everything is changing.
You and your partner now have to address spending habits, baby expenses, and expected and unexpected life adjustments. No matter what philosophy you choose to raise your child or children, it will require being on the same page.
Successful communication practices can be accomplished with practice, effort, and honesty.
Practice making sure both partners are on the same page when it comes to baby and finances.
Put 100% effort into helping each other financially, emotionally, and with baby tasks. To me, this doesn’t mean things will be 50:50. It means we are both doing what we can to make sure every area of the home and family life is being taken care of.
If communication isn’t honest it’s worthless.
- I had to be honest when I started feeling overwhelmed.
- I had to be honest with I felt I needed to contribute more or less in certain areas.
When planning for a baby and parenting with a partner, honesty in communication is priceless especially during the early months when your waking hours together will seriously decline.
I hope these tips and the FREE Baby Budget Planner (download below) helps you plan for baby in an organized way that doesn’t put you in debt.
Having a written budget and a flexible plan that is built with both partners is invaluable.