Babies change everything, especially the contents of your wallet. But with a little planning, you won’t be surprised by all the new expenses in your life. Here are some suggestions for budgeting for your new baby.
Make a Baby Budget
A new baby means your living expenses will increase. To make ends meet you’ll need a budget. Start with the basics. Decide how you want to keep track of your income and expenses. You can write out a budget on paper or try using online budget tools like Mint.com, which are free and easy to use applications that can help you categorize and track your spending. Figure out how much of your income will go toward your expenses and how much you can save. You should also set longer goals like funding your baby’s future education. Shoot for three to six months of living expenses in savings or money market accounts.
Evaluate Your Insurance
Now that baby is here you want to take a look at your insurance coverage. Baby care is very expensive before and after he or she is born. Consider the routine tests, ultrasounds, labor, delivery and follow-up visits to the doctor. To keep costs low, look at your company’s health insurance and compare it with your spouse’s, so you can get the best possible maternity coverage. That also goes life insurance policies. Check out different policies, should something unforeseen happen.
Cut Down on Clothing Costs
Babies grow quickly, so you should not spend money on clothes of one size. Borrowing clothes instead of buying them can save you a lot of money, so be sure to talk to family and friends who might have an old baby wardrobe lying around. Buying secondhand is also a good option with big savings potential. One benefit of babies growing fast is that most used clothing will only have been worn a few times. Make sure to check consignment shops, online stores or yard sales to get some good deals on clothes in great condition.
Use Coupons and Apps
When you have a new baby, there are a variety of new items you’ll need to buy. Be a smart shopper. There’s an app for everything, and that includes savings on goods for newborns. From baby food to diapers to clothes, you can find sale prices, manufacturer coupons and other deals with a little leg work. When you do save money with coupons or apps, record how much money you saved so you can keep track. If you want to see how the savings add up, deposit the amount you saved from each coupon into a savings account for your child.
Skip Some Items
There are many, many baby items available that you do not need. Skip bottle warmers, change tables, bath thermometers and other gadgets that only add an extra expense to your budget. If you aren’t sure about an item, don’t spend the money on it.