Hey there parent(s) to be, preparing for a baby is tough, but its a precursor of what’s ahead. Though, you can’t prepare for absolutely everything, getting your money right from the start will save you from so many headaches.
Children are amazing, a blessing, and cost a fortune. I’m not saying this to scare you at all – you can do this – I’m telling you this because its the truth. Take these steps to be financially ready for your new bundle of joy.
Review Your Health Insurance Thoroughly
- Go over your Health Insurance Benefits thoroughly and I recommend calling them to get an estimated amount of what it would cost you to have a baby. Find out the amount for a regular birth and a c-section (emergency c sections happen) and ask about your Max Out of Pocket Expenses (Moop) , how much you have to pay per night at the hospital, co insurance, and they will give you a very good idea on the cost.
- You will need to look at your budget and make adjustments. Some of these categories will grow as the baby gets older so when you budget, make sure you like at the annual costs as well. You can get a copy of The Money Blueprint for a ready to use google sheet budget template.
It’s crucial to review your health insurance plan in detail to understand what is covered and what is not covered. Apart from knowing the cost of having a baby, you should also check if your insurance plan covers prenatal and postnatal care, immunizations, and other medical needs that your baby may require. Additionally, it’s important to check if your insurance covers the cost of a breast pump, which can be an essential tool for breastfeeding moms.
Plan for Childcare Expenses
Childcare can be one of the most significant expenses for new parents. It’s important to research and budget for childcare options such as daycare centers, nannies, or babysitters. You can reach out to family and friends for recommendations or consult online resources for information on licensed childcare providers. Keep in mind that childcare expenses can vary widely based on where you live and the type of care you choose.
When it comes to letting family handle family care, approach this with caution and make sure you feel comfortable, set boundaries, and if your family is not working to watch your children, perhaps come up with some sort of payment plan.
Consider the Cost of Supplies
In addition to clothes, books, toys, and nursery decor, there are several other supplies you will need for your baby. For instance, you will need a car seat, a stroller, a crib, and a high chair. These items can add up quickly, so it’s important to budget for them accordingly.
These are likely some items you will get during your baby shower or sprinkle, but if you don’t get it, don’t feel shame buying gently used items to save money, but do make sure to research safety standards before making any purchases.
I purchased my second sons crib from FB marketplace and it was almost new, my first son was still using his own crib at the time (2 under 2). I purchased a new mattress, thoroughly cleaned it our and was able to get the toddler transition set as well. My total out of pocket for this was $100 + $80 mattress = $180. Our first sons crib + dresser cost apx $1,000 and this was gifted to us.
Some of the things you will want to increase or add to your budget will be:
- Baby Category
This section will be for anything specifically baby related you want to buy like clothes, books, toys, nursery decor, etc. In the beginning, this may be higher due to adding the finishing touches to your babys arrival.
- Groceries + Household
In this category is where I included the baby formula, diapers, baby toiletries, and anything medicine. As my children get older and begin eating solids, I will increase to include baby food + more groceries to adapt to our growing family.
- Medical / CoPays
Before having a baby, reviewing your health insurance inside out is a must. Find out what the copays are, what your Max out of pocket costs will be, what it will cost you to be in the hospital, but for this specific section, focus on the copays. You will need to find a pediatrician before the baby is born. While your vetting them ask them what does the first year look like in term of wellness visits – those should be 100% covered by your insurance (but double check). Any sick or ER visits you will have to have cash handy for it.Don’t forget to account for the rest of your families medical needs. You will need to see the doctor after postpartum for routine visits and your other family members (husband, other kids, etc) will need to be included in the budget.
Build an Emergency Fund
Unexpected expenses can arise at any time, especially when it comes to raising a child. It’s essential to build an emergency fund to cover unexpected costs like medical bills, car repairs, or home maintenance. A good rule of thumb is to have three to six months’ worth of living expenses saved up in an emergency fund.
Plan for Future Expenses
As your child grows, so will their expenses. Be sure to plan ahead for future expenses such as education, extracurricular activities, and travel. You may want to consider starting a college fund or setting aside money for future activities your child may be interested in.
One of the things I did before our first baby boy was born was open a 529 Savings Account under my name and transferred it to his name once he was born. We did the same thing for our second born. All the cash gifts we receive for birthdays, holidays, and events go straight into their 529 accounts for their future education. And the cool thing is, if they decide not to go to college or choose a different path in life, they can transfer those funds into a ROTH IRA and start saving for retirement.
Being financially ready for a new baby takes careful planning and consideration. While it may seem daunting at first, taking the time to review your health insurance, adjust your budget, and plan for future expenses can help you feel more confident and prepared. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help and support from family and friends along the way. With a little bit of effort and foresight, you can create a solid financial foundation for your growing family and enjoy the journey of parenthood with a little more peace of mind.