How to prepare for your expenses before and after baby arrives.
You’ve taken a pregnancy test, and it’s positive. Congratulations!
Many thoughts are racing through your excited head, including money. How much will you need to set aside monthly for the expenses of your new family member?
Having children is no inexpensive feat, that’s for sure. But don’t let the financial side of things scare you. You have a few months to save, establish a budget and get as prepared as possible before your bundle of joy arrives. But where do you start? What are the most important things to save for?
You probably already know that expenses pile up even before your baby arrives. According to financial expert Dave Ramsey, the largest cost in prenatal care comes from doctor visits.
“Traditionally, pregnant women will see their doctor or midwife a few times during the first two trimesters, once a month beginning in the third trimester, and once a week in the final four weeks,” Ramsey said.
Then there are lab tests, ultrasounds and other miscellaneous costs.
“Typically, insurance will cover a first trimester dating and viability scan, as well as another sonogram around 20 weeks to check on the baby’s organ development (and reveal the gender, if you choose),” Ramsey said. “Anything additional may be an extra cost to you, depending on what your insurance provider covers. Tests, lab work and blood draws can cost a pretty penny, too. Most required or standard tests should be covered by your insurance provider, but elective tests may not be. Again, this will depend on your insurance and deductible”
The Price of Baby’s Delivery
It may seem obvious, but one of the largest expenses for new parents can be the delivery itself, the cost of which depends on a woman’s location and health insurance policy. According to Investopedia, it’s nearly impossible to make an accurate prediction of how much you’ll pay for delivery without reviewing your health coverage. Difficult births with long hospital stays can run more than $100,000 and be covered by insurance, whereas a straightforward birth with a short stay might cost $5,000, but the new mom could end up paying the entire bill.
Take time now to talk with your insurance provider about delivery possibilities and your coverage plan. Be prepared by knowing all you can about your insurance plan.
Baby Budget: Essential Baby Gear Adds Up
If you’ve been blessed with a baby shower, you might be gifted some of the many items you’ll need to have in time for baby’s arrival.
If you’re missing important baby things on your list, be sure to add up the costs of each item so you can budget accordingly and have them before delivery.
Important baby expenses can include:
- Nursery decorating/remodeling
- Crib mattress
- Crib sheets, crib skirt and receiving blankets
- Rocking chair
- Changing table
- Baby monitor
- Playpen, bouncy chair
- Safety gates
- Baby bathtub
- High chair
- Nursing clothes
- Medicine kit
- Baby carrier/sling
- Car seat
- Diaper bag
- Fees for writing/rewriting will
It’s also important to start thinking now about any maternity leave salary loss you will expect.
Recurring Baby Expenses
There are also recurring monthly (or more frequent!) expenses that you need to be prepared for. Again, factor in your reduced wages if applicable.
Monthly baby expenses might include:
- Formula and baby food
- Extra laundry costs (water, electricity, detergent)
- Child care
- Life insurance for you and your partner
- Medical insurance
- Disability insurance
- Medical bills (uncovered and co-pays)
- College/education savings
- Contribution to savings
Budgeting for Baby: How to Get Started
Now that we’ve laid out the seemingly endless costs of having a baby, how do you budget for them?
Like any budget, it’s important to start with the costs of your absolute necessities like your home, bills (utilities, food, transportation) and medical expenses. Next, add in the costs related to your new addition by using the lists above as your guide.
After laying out all the essential purchases and crunching the numbers, if you still have room left in your budget, allocate money for additional things like savings accounts for the child or paying on debt. It is also highly recommended that you have an emergency fund of some sort in place in case one parent decides to stay home after the baby arrives.
Of course, everyone’s financial situation is different and budgets are not one-size fits all. So, it’s important to plan as far as you can ahead of time so you won’t be in a bind when the time comes. Ideally, families start saving money before even trying to get pregnant, perhaps getting a part-time job on the side to put away money. After becoming pregnant, it’s smart to budget as if baby is already here, to get used to what’s to come.
Having a baby is magical, and we hope worrying about money is the last thing on your mind. Being mindful, prepared and doing some financial work ahead of time will pay off in the long run for your family and your new bundle of joy!