Budgeting for a Baby – Inexpensive Ways to Prepare

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There must be something in the water. Most of the female friends I have that are about my age seem to be getting pregnant right now. Despite the fact that I am not in the market, I have been helping plan for a bunch of babies on the way. The hardest part is helping my friends stay within their own budgets. Having a baby does not have to break the bank. In fact, here are a few inexpensive ways to prepare for a baby on the way.

Estimate Child Care Costs

The number one expense that most new parents plan for is the cost of child care. Quality child care is expensive, so soon-to-be parents need to figure out whether it is worth paying for or not. It is surprising, but it may make more financial sense for one parent to stay home.

If staying at home isn’t an option, use personal references from other parents to find low cost but reputable options. In my area, there are multiple day cares within two miles. But if you ask a few of my neighbors for some suggestions, they all agree that the closest one to us is by far the best and is priced right in between the other options at about $250 per week per child.

Friends and Family

Instead of running out to the store, you can ask around to see what baby gear friends and family members might have. You might be surprised to find out that they have a spare stroller, crib, or car seat that you could use. You may even score big in terms of baby clothes. Children quickly outgrow everything, so current parents may already have the sizes you need and may be dying to get a little drawer space back.

Search Garage Sales and Thrift Stores

If your friends and family didn’t have all of the clothes or items you need, garage sales and thrift stores are a great way to get a number of necessary baby items at discounted prices. You can find everything from clothing to toys for cents on the dollar. Just be sure that whatever you buy is in safe, working condition. My aunt finds nearly new clothing at thrift stores on a regular basis for my growing nephew.

Sell Your Stuff

New parents will need to create a living space for the new baby and may want to get rid of the old possessions in their house that are taking up space. They can kill two birds with one stone by decluttering and using the money fund the baby’s room. I use Craigslist to sell my stuff, but I know from friends’ experiences that Kijiji and garage sales work too.

Join the Baby Clubs

A bunch of places from supermarkets to retail stores have baby clubs that offer discounts to parents with children. By joining up at the stores you were going to shop at anyway, you will be able to take advantage of the extra discounts. Some stores even have credit cards that offer additional discounts for purchases. If you do sign up for those, remember to stick with your shopping list and pay off the balance as soon as possible. Savings become worthless if you end up paying more in interest charges.

In short, there are many ways to budget in a baby. What’s worked for you?

{ 3 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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3 Responses to “Budgeting for a Baby – Inexpensive Ways to Prepare”

  1. Remember it’s not cheap to deliver a baby either, especially if you’re self-employed and don’t have the greatest health insurance. We made sure my wife had maternity coverage, and we still paid about $10K out of pocket. The whole experience was eye opening!

    Be sure you understand your insurance coverage up front and make sure you’re budgeting for additional medical expenses. They can add up quickly.

    • Scott says:

      Agreed – Our insurance told us we had a $100 universal deductible for the pregnancy and that was it, which sounded great. Then we found out later they meant literally just the pregnancy; delivery fell into another category and we owed another $300 or so in hospital and doctor fees. Naturally, we let some poor insurance rep really get it over the phone on that one.

  2. Scott says:

    Splitting the cost of an in-home nanny with another family with a small child can often be better child care and comparable to out-of-home day care centers. But it’s more paperwork for sure, so know what you’re getting into.

    The US government has set up taxes to make it pretty clear they will give you a good break on your first child and a little break on your second. Any children beyond that are either an oops or a luxury.

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