There you are holding a positive pregnancy test (or two, just to be sure). The excitement sets in and you realize, you’re going to have a baby. You start dreaming of how the little one will look, names, and how you’re going to tell your spouse and everyone else. Once the initial excitement is over, a scary reality starts to set in. “How are you going to afford a baby?” But the truth is, you can. You just need to follow these steps to financially prepare for a new baby.
Decide on a day care or child care provider.
If you are planning on using a day care or child care provider during the week or even just a few days a week then you need to go ahead and pick one out. Do your research, go visit them and talk to the workers. It’s even recommended you talk to a few parents to get a real feel for the day care. Once you have your day care selected then ask them their weekly cost. From there you will be able to start saving. Put the money into a savings account on a weekly or monthly basis, whatever works for you. Not only is this allowing you to get used to the less money in your account, but also helping you build a nice cushioned-savings account for after baby arrives.
Ask them what essentials they will provide and not provide. Most day cares no longer provide diapers and wipes due to allergies. You will have to factor in those extra costs as well.
Stockpile diapers and wipes NOW.
If this is your second or third child then you are probably aware of the expense of diapers and wipes. If this is your first child then the cost will be an eye-opener. You should do your research. There are a lot of resources online that give a pretty good estimate of how many diapers you will go through. One way to start your stockpile early is to Increase your grocery budget and check for sales. Decide how much more a month you can spend on groceries and allocate that amount to diapers and wipes. Make sure you check your local advertisements and sites for good deals.
Another recommendation is to host a diaper raffle during the baby shower. Ask friends and family to bring a pack of diapers to be entered for a prize. Another option is to host a guys’ shower by asking the men to bring a pack of diapers as their ticket in the door. These simple ways will help increase your stockpile without any additional cost to you.
Talk to your insurance provider.
Ask your insurance provider at your office and your spouse’s work about what the cost will be to add the baby to your plan. Make sure you get details about the deductible, prescription coverage and any co-pay costs. With that information you will be able to decide on the best fitting insurance plan for your family. You’d be surprised the price difference between two employers. By simply asking for the details you could be saving yourself close to $1,000 per year on insurance costs!
Once you know how much the monthly cost will be you will know what the difference will be in your paycheck each pay period. You should try to start living on that new take-home amount now. Most families fail to prepare for the decrease in their paychecks due to insurance costs. It’s important to realize all areas that will be affected by baby, especially with the increase of your grocery budget and additional daycare costs.
Other expenses you might need to consider for baby.
Any specialty items are great to register for, but it’s hard to ask for those big-ticket items like a crib, car seat, and dresser. So I recommend finding items you want early on and start saving from the get-go. That way you can pay cash for the more expensive pieces and not have to worry about affording them or putting them on credit.
Here’s the number one tip on following-through when you’re preparing for baby. Physically transfer the money out of your checking account. Most couples I know, can’t just write it on paper how much they budget. They actually have to remove the money from their account. The best tactic is to set up a savings account specifically for baby. Then every week, month, or whenever it works best – transfer the money out of your checking account and into your baby savings account.