Preparing for a baby is equal parts exciting, and overwhelming. While there are many aspects of parenthood that are impossible to prepare for, one thing you can do ahead of time is make a budget for your new baby. Understanding the costs associated with having a child and preparing in advance on how to handle these can go a long way toward helping you to feel more confident and ready for the arrival of the newest member of your family.
Many women have access to maternal health insurance through their own job or the job of their spouse. However, do be aware that this can’t always offer full coverage. Earlier this year it was reported that even with an employer-sponsored health insurance policy, the vast majority of women must pay for at least some out-of-pocket costs for maternity care, including medical services used before and after delivering the baby. This averages around $4,500, and the cost can be even steeper for certain situations including unplanned pregnancies.
Women without health insurance could be looking at costs as high as $30,000, depending on complications and what kind of care is needed. The good news is that many women without health insurance are eligible for Medicaid, which will greatly reduce the cost of pre- and post-natal care and delivery. You can visit healthcare.gov to learn more about the program and check if this federally funded medical coverage may apply to you.
Maternity Needs (and Wants!)
Being pregnant comes with its own sets of costs, including maternity clothing, vitamins or other healthcare supplements, different kinds of food to satisfy all those new cravings, and so on. Besides the essentials, most moms-to-be appreciate the opportunity to treat themselves and their changing body to something special, such as a pre-natal massage or regular yoga sessions.
Plan to budget around $3,000 for maternity clothing and all the extras you will no doubt find yourself picking up at the grocery store for you or your pregnant partner. Saying that, it’s easy to reduce these costs by purchasing used maternity clothing or asking a friend if you can borrow her hand-me-downs. You can also offset some pre-baby pregnancy costs by preparing more meals at home – so even though you’re eating more, you can still be spending less.
The Essentials: Food, Diapers, Clothing
The average newborn goes through six to 10 diapers per day, so you can expect your monthly diaper budget to run around $80 per month. In terms of food, the World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of baby’s life; which is free although it will entail a more robust diet for mom. Where breastfeeding isn’t possible, expect to spend around $70-$250 per month on a baby formula that can meet your infant’s specific nutritional needs.
Baby clothes can easily cause your newborn budget to skyrocket to the tune of $1,000 or much, much more in the first year alone. You can bring down the cost of clothing by shopping second-hand or simply waiting for the clothing gifts to pour in, which as any new parent can tell you – they will! Finally, don’t forget about laundry costs, as you’ll be doing significantly more loads after baby arrives.
Other Items for Baby
From cribs to bottles to all the adorable toys, strollers and blankets, it may seem that there’s no end to list of items you need to buy for baby! Expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars – depending on where you choose to shop – for all the starter newborn stuff, including a bed, diaper bag, bathtub, age-appropriate toys and so on.
If you’re less than eager to drop $5,000 on starter items your newborn will age out of in mere months, hit the second-hand shops or get in touch with other parents around your neighborhood. Chances are there’s already a baby stuff swap group in the area that you can join to pick up all those must-have baby items at a heavily reduced cost.
Budgeting for a baby isn’t just about the costs of baby’s arrival – it’s also about budgeting for the next 18 years (or more). As long as you’re thinking about finances, take a look at long-term costs and start asking: What will these costs be? How can we prepare now for pay for what our child will need tomorrow and long into the future?
From babysitters to soccer team dues to studying at college, budgeting is once again the name of the game. Start small by simply listing a few key future expenses and tracking what money is coming in and what you can afford to save. Building a budget early is a great way to ensure your growing family is on the right track towards a financially healthy future for everyone.