“Budgeting for baby” is easy to say, but where do you start? Everyone knows diapers are expensive (after you buy enough of them), but there has to be more to that. Obviously, there is. The big stuff goes beyond diapers and baby registry items. There are several life factors to take into account (pun intended).
Pregnancy is a wonderful and exciting time. Growing your family and eagerly awaiting your new arrival is always special and something most us really enjoy. However, a new baby can be incredibly expensive and, even if you ARE on a strict budget, it can really shake things up with your finances. During those nine months, there’s a lot to get in order so you’re in the best possible position.
Here’s what you can expect:
Preparing your finances with a simplified budget
There are a few big purchases you need to make when you have a baby, so getting your finances in order NOW is no bad thing as it will mean you can afford these things more easily. For example, if you’re currently in debt you could consider consolidating to make things cheaper and easier. There are even debt consolidation loans for bad credit so don’t rule this out if you have an adverse history.
Since you will no longer be drinking or going on nights out and probably won’t be traveling for a while, money used to save or spend on these things could be distributed elsewhere. (But don’t forget about a Babymoon!)
Take a look at your current budget and spending and see what needs to be changed. That way you free up cash to make the larger purchases needed for a baby. A crib and nursery furniture, a stroller, and a car seat to name a few. Then you need clothes, baby products, toys and everything else. If you write a list you can tick things off as you go over the months of your pregnancy, this allows you to spread the cost and you don’t accidentally buy multiples of things.
A pre-baby home might not be suitable for your new parent home. Unless you’re like this guy with a wife and two kids in a San Fran Studio, then you may need to change your living arrangement. If you are, you might consider moving somewhere else. Any price difference is in addition to moving costs, which is an often-overlooked variable.
Part of the budget can consider a nicer area with things like local parks and good schools as well as a backyard for those older days that come so fast! All of these things will come at a cost, and so you’ll need to have a look what’s available in your budget.
**keep in mind** less urban/metropolitan areas typically cost much less AND have better schools. generally all around family friendly! yay suburbs!
Housing costs typically range between 25%-35% of a household’s income. If you are paying more, starting a side hustle for additional income could lower the income to housing cost ratio.
Along with a new home, you might need a new car too.You might want to consider a car with up to date safety features or additional seating. Something a bit bigger with rear doors will make life easier getting your baby in and out of a car seat.
***We bought a new car during my maternity leave, and it was TOUGH! I had planned to buy it before the baby came, but work got in the way… I definitely recommend taking care of that ASAP.
One big question you have to ask yourself after having a baby: how much time you will take off work? I would argue that *most* new parents want to stay home for as long as possible to personally look after the baby, but that isn’t always a viable option. If you’re taking unpaid maternity leave, then you need to start setting aside money for that ASAP.
Check out my list of things to do before maternity leave to get ahead of that curve!
Many women will return to work with fewer scheduled hours, which would also require a big budget evaluation.
When you’re evaluating your return to work (and in what capacity) don’t forget to factor in childcare. Women traditionally did not return to work after having children, but those days are over. More and more mothers are returning to work sooner, sometimes through no choice of their own. Consider the possibility of cheap or free childcare options. Such as government childcare grants (in the UK. Get on that bandwagon, America!) and help from friends and family.
In my family, I was the highest earning parent which left my husband to stay home with our baby for the first several months. These stay-at-home dads are a growing segment of caregivers and I could not have been happier with our choice! My husband and our daughter bonded so strongly, which is more than I could’ve hoped for when I begrudgingly returned to work at 12 weeks after an unpaid leave.
What are some of the biggest ways you had to prepare for with a new baby?