As gorgeous as all the baby clothes and ultrasound photos are, babies are not cheap. From the moment you think you’re pregnant you’re spending money – pregnancy test, anti-nausea meds, doctor’s visits. There is a lot of financial preparation involved in having a baby and most of it is financial and not just about buying cute baby things. From estimating the medical costs of having a baby, planning the leave you take from work and budgeting for everything you need for a new baby, it can be pretty overwhelming to get ready!
Parenting preparations are something that take time, and it doesn’t have to be a painful experience! You can take the time to prepare yourself but there are nine months to think before the birth, and a lifetime before you even get pregnant. The things that you line up ready before you try to conceive need to be considered carefully. It’s a long road between choosing to conceive and giving birth, and tackling your finances as early as possible is important. So, let’s talk through all the plans that you need to make for your new addition to the family!
There are plenty of things to consider for your financial planning while you’re pregnant. Below is a list to get you started:
- Health insurance and the costs of the appointments all add up. Having a baby is expensive even with health insurance, and assuming you don’t need to have a premature birth or a stay in the NICU, you still have high costs to consider. Understanding more about your medical bills and what your insurance can cover is important, but it’s more important to be able to navigate your labor and pregnancy without financial stress. Speak to your insurance company and your doctor, and look into your options for home birth should you wish to stay at home. You can do that – you just need to look into the costs of a midwife at home, and you must still factor in the costs of being in hospital should you require to be rushed there.
- Parental leave is a big thing to plan for, too. Whether it’s you taking a few months or a few weeks off, you need to know you can afford your regular bills and rent. If you make a plan, you can save for all of that before you go into labor. Whether you are paid for time off with the baby is important, and you may not get more than a few weeks of maternity benefits from your employer. Speak to your HR department and learn what the leave and payment schedule is for maternity pay. You should also look at the paternity (or parental) leave on offer for your partner. The bigger picture is important, so know what you want out of post-labor time off before you get pregnant in the first place. This way, you can save for it correctly.
- Start writing a budget together. Your budget should include the health insurance and time off above, but also should include the expenses that come with a baby. Perhaps you are struggling with breastfeeding and want to pay for a lactation consultant to help you – that costs money. You can save money with safe bedsharing and cloth diapering as opposed to disposable diapers and a crib if you don’t have the space. If you do have the room, there are plenty of things to consider when buying a baby cradle – including the size and the cost! So, set a limit on the necessities and consider buying used things so that you can keep your spending controlled.
- Remember that post-delivery budget while you are making lists, too. You need to plan for household expenses involving the baby, especially if you choose to pay for a cleaner for a little while. Your budget should also include things to eat and medicines to help while you recover.
- When you go to choose a pediatrician and a doctor, check with your insurance provider who is on the list in the network. You can have a significantly reduced outlay if you know that your pediatrician is approved by your insurance network. You can ask the clinic and verify with your insurance company, too. You don’t want unexpected costs cropping up if you haven’t planned for them!
- Do you have a rainy day fund? If you don’t have one planned, you need to plan for one when you are trying to conceive. This will cover you for any extra costs of raising your baby that you didn’t consider, and it can even feed you if you are stuck in hospital for a couple of weeks because of required bedrest. You should always try to have at least six months of living expenses put to one side just in case!
While You Are In Hospital
You’ve thought about your costs when you are pregnant and some costs after delivery, but let’s also look at the ones that you should consider while you are in hospital and having your new baby.
- While you are in the hospital, you should be provided with paperwork to get your social security card and birth certificate for the baby. If the hospital doesn’t or you have planned to have a home birth, you can order these in advance from the office of records and the social security office. These are necessities, so make sure that you add them to the list and you won’t forget them!
- Remember that you should think about whether you want to be in a private room, and your private health insurance may cover this if it’s what you want. Take the time to enjoy excellent care after birth and you will be able to do it with a cheaper budget!
- Add your child to your health insurance before you leave the hospital if you have the faculties to do it. You have thirty days to do it, and you can add them to the existing policy. You may have 60 days if your health plan is via your insurance through your workplace. You don’t want to have a baby who requires extra help only to have no insurance to cover them. The costs of baby care in hospitals can be high!
- Have you ever considered life insurance for your children? Your new baby needs to have a life insurance plan. No one thinks about the risks of SIDS beyond a safe sleeping space, but one of the fall outs of SIDS is a funeral to plan and no funds to do it with. It’s a sad reality, but it’s one that happens for many families. It’s better to be prepared for it!
- Plan for childcare while you can! It’s very likely that your parents will help out in the early days, but you need to know the costs of daycare, which can run fairly high if you’re not aware of them!
Once You Go Home
Parenting doesn’t end once you give birth – it begins. And now you have your baby, it’s time to go home and start the next step. You need to be focused on your future with your baby, and the costs involved include:
- Go frugal with your diapers, feeding and bed routines. Breastfeeding is free and there is plenty of support out there to help you. Cloth diapers have a higher outlay, but they cost less over time! You can even save money on furniture for a nursery, as your baby will be in with you for six months as a minimum. A nursery is a cute piece of the house puzzle, but it’s not a necessity just yet.
- Adjust your will if you have one and if you don’t, write one! You need to have instructions for your baby if something is going to happen to you. You should inform people you want to look after your baby if something happens to you.
- Keep paying money into your retirement fund after your baby arrives. You have personal goals to consider as well as a baby to raise, and you want to know that you are set for retirement by the end of it.
- Start a college fund sooner than later. You know that college costs a lot of money and it may seem absurd to open a fund for a newborn, but college is expensive and you can make the responsibility of it far more manageable.
- You should think about heading to the sales whenever they crop up – clothes, birthday, Christmas, school supplies – sales are a must to take advantage of while you can. If you know you have raided the sales, you will always be able to offer your children what they need through every stage.
Budgeting for a new baby is a hard concept, but you deserve to give everything to your child when you can. A newborn is an exciting addition to the family, so try to plan early and you can be ready for anything!