Congratulations! You are expecting your first little one and you couldn’t be more excited. Becoming a parent brings so many changes: wonderful and challenging. There are first smiles, first steps, first words — so many firsts for you and your baby.
Another first you’ll face is adjusting financially to having another tiny person in your family. With so many changes coming your way, it helps to prepare financially for a new baby. But how do you do that without breaking your budget? Having your first child doesn’t have to mean overspending. Here are six ways you can prepare for your baby and keep your budget in place.
1. Learn about your insurance
Depending which country you live in, one of the first expenses you will encounter when becoming a new parent is the actual expense of receiving valuable prenatal care and delivery.
Start by looking over your policy and talking to a customer services representative to go over your specific plan. Make sure that the doctors you see and care you receive are covered by your insurance.
If you do not have insurance, make an appointment to talk to the hospital administrative office about what services they offer and associated costs. They will also be familiar with relief programs available in your area, which may end up covering much or all of your medical bills.
2. Buy secondhand
Babies go through a lot of things: clothes, bottles, toys. They change so quickly that many of these items are only used for a short time or not at all. Parents wanting to clean their house of unused baby things will often post them for sale online or take them to a children’s consignment store. You can pick up barely used or even new items for just a few dollars.
One of my favorite spots is local Facebook Buy and Sell groups or local Facebook Mom’s groups. It’s about Mom’s helping Mom’s and there are often great deals to be found there.
For those already connected with a parent community, ask around to see if anyone is getting rid of baby items. Parents will often appreciate getting clutter out of their house without having to be bothered with finding a buyer for their baby’s gear.
You’ll also get an honest review of the item, whether it’s a highchair or toy. Just be sure to check the expiration date and safety recall information for items like car seats, cribs, and strollers.
3. Prioritize purchases
It can be tempting to buy everything your new baby could possibly need before they arrive. You want to be prepared, after all. But remember that babies aren’t born needing high chairs, walkers, and tricycles. Just buy the essentials to get ready for baby. Then, just wait and see what baby is interested in and would benefit from as they grow. If you find that you really need something, order it online with just a few clicks and have it in two days. Here is what I found to be essential with a new baby:
- Car seat (most hospitals won’t discharge you without one)
- Bassinet or crib plus a mattress and sheet, if using a crib
- 6 – 8 Onesies and pants
- Diapers and wipes
- Swaddle blankets
- 2 hats, socks, and mittens
- A basin for bath time
- Baby nail clippers and bulb syringe
- Burp cloths (cloth diaper inserts work great)
- Breast pump, nursing bra, and breast pads if you plan to breastfeed
- Bottles and formula, if you plan to formula-feed
- Gentle detergent
Below are nice-to-haves, depending on your interest and climate. Look for them secondhand to save money.
- Infant wrap or carrier
- Velcro swaddles in various weights
- Baby washcloths
- Rocking chair or glider
- Baby monitor (in a small home or if cosleeping, you may not even need one)
4. Take advantage of freebies
When you leave the hospital, take everything that they offer — diapers, wipes, hygiene items. You’ll be happy to have things on hand that you are comfortable using. The first night we brought our son home, we ended up putting him back in the hospital shirt, just because it’s what we were comfortable using. You will absolutely use everything that they give you and some things, such as the swaddle blankets and tiny shirts, become wonderful keepsakes later.
5. Sign up for a service
If you plan to use a lot of a particular item, such as diapers or formula, look into signing up for a subscription service. Many companies offer them at a reduced price and include periodic delivery. You get to save money and your items are delivered without having to remember to reorder. Win-win!
6. Consider going green
One of the hottest trends in baby care is to embrace reusable items. From diapers to breast pads, so many baby and mom care items can be washed and reused, cutting down on both cost and waste. Talk to other parents to see what they recommend and for tips to get started.
Cloth diapers, in particular, can help cut down costs associated with a new baby. They are an investment upfront but adding them to your baby registry can help stock your shelves without emptying your wallet. Plus, family and friends with kids will be happy to help you prepare for all the diaper duty coming your way.
Having your first baby is a life-changing experience. All of a sudden, your little family has grown by one more person and a lot more love. Preparing for baby ahead of time without overspending will help you focus on your new little one, rather than stressing about your bank statements.
Educate yourself about your insurance coverage and stock up on essentials at a good price to feel fully prepared for this amazing new step in your journey.