You're excited about having a baby, but worries about how you'll afford it are starting to rain on your parade. We all know babies are expensive, but you never really grasp just how much of a hole they'll burn in your pocket until they're here.
According to the Department of Agriculture, a child can cost you upwards of $240,000 by the time they turn 18 – woah! Don't let this number scare you, though. If you're saving in the right ways, you can make it happen.
Saving for baby
To start saving now, while you’re still early on in your pregnancy, consider some of these tips:
Compare delivery costs: It isn’t cheap to deliver a baby, so when you’re choosing your OB/GYN and delivery hospital, look around first. Don’t make this the sole basis for your decision, go with someone you’re comfortable with, but it is something to keep in mind if you’re in search of ways to reduce costs.
Have a baby shower, or two: People love babies, that’s a fact. So when family and friends offer to throw you a baby shower, say yes. You’ll be surprised at how much other people enjoy buying things for babies that aren’t even here yet. Your awesome co-workers may even throw you a celebration, too.
Set aside money for leave: You’re going to be off work for at least six weeks, and your partner might take some time off too. At that point, you likely won’t have any money coming in, so try to save for when that time comes. Take the time to figure out how much you’ll need to make up for and so you can plan how much to save from each check.
Don’t buy brand new clothes: Trust us on this one. As tempting as it is to go to your favorite retail store and march to the baby section, don’t buy an entire wardrobe from there. Sure, indulge in that trendy top or adorable onesies every once in a while but when you’re trying to save for a baby don’t make it the only place you go. Ask some of your friends with kids if they have any clothes you can use or try garage sales and secondhand stores.
Share maternity clothes: Maternity clothes are cute, but you aren’t going to wear them for very long. That’s why you should avoid an all-out shopping spree when it’s time to finally transition into the maternity section. Ask friends and family who have children or were recently pregnant if you can borrow some to help you save. If you must buy some, keep them if you’re planning on having other children down the road.
Breastfeed: Rather than spend money buying cans and cartons of formula, breastfeed. It’s healthy for the baby, helps you shed that pregnancy weight and creates a deep bond with your little one. On top of all of that, it saves you a ton of money. Even if you only breastfeed for a few months rather than the first year, you’re still going to save.
Ask your pediatrician for free samples: When you find your pediatrician and talk with them about any questions you may have, ask if they have any samples to offer. Pediatrician offices are stocked with formula and diapers, so this is a great opportunity to get some stuff to take home with you. Even if it’s just one can of formula, you’re likely saving at least $15.
Remember that you don’t have to buy everything: You’ve probably scoured the Internet for lists of what to buy before baby gets here. What you don’t realize is that you can eliminate many of those things on your “to buy” list. Don’t get a highchair – the baby can’t sit in it until at least six months anyway. And you really don’t need a mobile to hang in the baby’s crib or a bottle warmer.
Borrow what you can: By the time you get a crib and other necessary items for your baby, you’ll notice how high the total bill has gotten. If you can, ask to borrow items from friends and family that have children and are no longer using things like a crib, diaper genie and a nursing pillow. More often than not, they’re going to be more than happy to let you borrow them for as long as you need.