Whether you’re having a baby soon or planning for the future, it’s good to know how a new addition will impact your monthly cash flow. Here are the eight common expenses for expecting parents, and ways to save ahead of becoming a new mom or dad.
1. Doctors’ Visits
Even healthy, happy babies require regular screenings, vaccinations, and wellness visits to the doctor. The best way to save on medical bills is to make sure your physicians are in-network medical care providers. Insurance companies and physicians must confirm a provider is in your network for you to avoid potentially distressing out-of-pocket charges.
Also, familiarize yourself with every free or discounted benefit available to you, and use them. For example, most insurance companies and physicians employ an on-call nurse to answer questions by phone if your inquiry is about basic care and treatment for everyday concerns.
2. Baby’s Nutrition
When possible, nursing is a great way to save money—up to $1,400 in baby’s first year—and it can even save you money in medical costs later, notes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You can also take advantage of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act benefit that requires insurance companies to cover the cost of breastfeeding equipment for new parents, according to US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Babies can go through over 1,000 diapers a year, and the costs can add up. One key to saving cash on diapers is buying in bulk. The cost of each diaper diminishes with bigger boxes, so when making the monthly budget, plan for bulk purchases to ease the burden.
Crib, rocking chair, baby swing, high chair—these are some bigger items a baby needs, and each one can end up costing a bundle. The good news is you can get all these items gently used at a great price. Take a ride to your local thrift store, and check out swap meets and yard sales for the biggest savings.
5. Toys and Gadgets
Every new parent knows the bliss of a quiet, happy baby. Toys and soothers are often the source of these magical moments, but they’re not worth the cost if you have to blow the budget. Instead, gear up for free. Find your location on Freecycle and get ready to save.
You can also substitute expensive baby toys with homemade alternatives. For example, teething toys can be replaced with an empty water bottle. Or, make a rattle by filling an old pill bottle with uncooked rice. This is a great area to get creative.
Hitting the mall every time baby graduates to a new size can get expensive. To combat this common cost of having a baby, spread the word that you would like to inherit the gently loved hand-me-downs of slightly older children. When choosing clothes, go for unisex colors like yellow and gray. Not only does this ensure you’re prepared for the future, it also makes your baby’s gender-neutral threads easier to sell once he/she outgrows them.
7. Child Care
If both parents work, daycare costs can soar. Save money on child care by enrolling in your employer’s FSA program, swap babysitting favors with other parents, or asking your boss about flexible hours or part-time telework opportunities.
8. Enrichment Activities
A your baby gets old enough to begin taking outings, plan to attend free enrichment activities like story time and music classes at your local library. Not only will this save money, you and baby will both have fun connecting with the local community.
One thing is for sure: The cuddles and memories your new baby brings is a better return-on-investment than anything you could buy. So put in the extra energy to save on baby costs today and reap the rewards of financial freedom tomorrow.