Planning For A Baby On A Tight Budget – Its Easily Done
Planning for an Addition to the Family
Planning to have a baby can be an extremely exciting time. It's almost impossible to prepare for the social and emotional changes that your family will go through when you add an infant, but it is quite possible to plan for changes in your finances.
- Price of Having a Child
- Adjusting Your Budget for a Baby
- What Will Child Care Cost?
- Setting Up Child Custody in Your Will
Price of Having a Child
The financial cost of having a baby mount quickly, so if you know you're pregnant or plan to start a family, it's important to begin budgeting as soon as possible. Some of the items you'll need to plan for include:
- Infant Clothing
- Maternity Clothing
- Formula and Bottles
- A Breastpump
- A Crib
- Crib Bedding
- A Carseat
- Other equipment such as a stroller, changing table, infant swing, etc.
If you're trying to keep your spending as low as possible, you may want to consider purchasing some items second hand or borrowing them. Attend yard sales in your local area, check consignment shops and thrift stores, and consider joining groups on social media for buying and selling items. Do some research in advance so that you know what an item costs when new, and make sure that nothing you purchase has been recalled. Car seats should always be purchased new so that you know the seat is not expired and has not been in any accidents.
It's also possible that your family and friends could lend you items, or that they could have used items to pass on to you.
Having a Baby in the Hospital
As you plan, get an estimate from your health care provider and your insurance company so you have an idea of what the expenses involved will be. Speak to individuals that you know who have had babies locally in similar situations, and see if they are willing to talk about the costs and how they managed them.
The medical costs of having a baby often include the following:
- Doctors appointments
- Doctor's bills from the hospital birth
- Hospital bills
- Lab testing - blood work, urinalysis, etc
- Birthing classes
If you have health insurance contact them to see what expenses they will cover and what you'll need to do to submit a claim. If you have Medicaid, contact your worker to determine how to submit information about the birth and learn what items are covered, as it can vary from state to state.
Time Off Work
You will also have additional costs that you'll need to work into your budget. For example, there's no way to know how the birth will occur, and if you need a Cesarean delivery you may need more time off work. This will impact your daily income, and you may need to apply for a temporary disability if your job offers this coverage.
Continuing to take time off from working for money, or dropping down to part-time hours after the birth can also affect your household income.
Adjusting Your Budget for a Baby
Begin by listing out your regular income and expenses. If you aren't really sure how you're spending your money, consider tracking it for 2-4 weeks, then using the information to inform your financial decisions. Estimate the extra expenses you'll be adding after the birth, such as baby food, diapers, and childcare, and adjust your income for any time that you'll be taking off of work.
Ask your employer about any paid leave you may have access to, and learn about any maternity leave benefits that are offered.
In addition to freebies, below is great resource for single parents.
Talk About Finances with Your Partner
It's important to talk openly about the changes that will happen in your family after the baby arrives, and many of these changes will involve finances.
Consider discussing these topics:
How do you plan for the family to function after the baby arrives? Will there be a primary caregiver, or will you share parenting duties equally? Will you both work? Your answers to these questions will include information about your current finances and personal goals and values.
Will you need to adjust your current spending and saving?
Will you need to readjust your financial goals? Do you need to reduce debt or delay a major purchase?
Case Study: Kia budgets for a baby
Kia and her partner are expecting their first child. They've talked about how they plan to structure their lives after the baby, and have agreed that Kia will take paid maternity leave and will then return to her job part-time.
Kia has access to twelve weeks paid maternity leave, as well as additional time through a temporary disability policy if the birth is medically difficult. She will also be using all of her paid time off for the year, so they'll need to plan for her to be available to work through the vacation they'd originally planned. Her partner will also take the parental leave they are offered, as well as their annual leave. There will be a significant drop in their income to account for, as well as paid childcare to handle after kia returns to work.
They used a budget planner to decide how to handle these issues.
The couple plans to sell their second car and cash in some savings bonds before the baby arrives so that they have the cash on hand to handle their bills without going into significant debt.
What Will Child Care Cost?
As you prepare to return to work, spend some time updating your budget with the information about your income and your new childcare expenses. This can help you determine if it makes financial sense for both partners to return to work full time.
You may also be eligible for state assistance programs to help with childcare expenses, depending on your family's income.
Smart Tip Childcare will be a large expense if you both decide to return to the workforce.
There are multiple childcare options:
A partner, relative, or friend: Having a family member provide childcare is great if you have the support available locally.
Childcare facility or daycare: The price, conditions, and waiting list periods may all vary greatly. Reach out to several local agencies to determine which have infant spots available and how much daycare will cost you.
Workplace Childcare: Some companies also provide childcare for employees on site.
Nanny: Some individual families may opt for a nanny or au pair to help care for their children.
Setting Up Child Custody in Your Will
Do you currently have a will? If not, you should draw one up with an attorney, and while doing so you'll need to appoint a guardian for your child if you and your partner should both die. Name this person in your will.
The way that you opt to spend money will change dramatically after you have children. Spending some time to get your finances under control can lower your stress, allow you to feel more secure, and help you enjoy being a parent.