Save a Bundle
Published: September 1, 2022
By: Janeen Lewis
Congratulations! You either have a new bundle of joy or will bring one home soon. Having a baby is such an exciting time, but it can feel a bit stressful too. With all there is to learn and prepare for, finances shouldn’t get in the way. Here’s thrifty advice for every stage of bringing home a baby.
Budget early. The secret to saving and finding the best deals on quality items is planning, researching and comparing prices. Estimate costs you might incur and write a spending plan. While everything won’t unfold as expected, some things may work out better. If the stork sneaks up on you, start planning as soon as possible.
Review your health insurance and savings plans. Choose a plan in which the premium to deductible ratio is the best price and value for pregnancy and childbirth care. Many health insurance policies cover the cost of breast pumps. Make sure yours does. If you have disability insurance, it may pay for maternity leave. Most importantly, start saving. Savings give a sense of peace and keep the focus on the baby in your arms instead of on financial burdens.
Check to see if your employer offers a Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account. These pre-tax dollars can be used to buy prenatal vitamins, breast pumps, breast milk storage bags, thermometers and more. While you can purchase over-the-counter baby pain relievers, teething gel and fever reducers with an FSA or HSA, check with your insurance company. Some require prescriptions for over-the-counter medications.
Finally, think about which option of childcare makes the most sense for your family – staying at home baby, a daycare facility, nanny, or nanny share. Research the costs associated with these options. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers childcare affordable when it accounts for no more than 7% of a family’s household income. Try to keep your childcare costs within that range.
During the Pregnancy
Create a chic nursery without the designer price tag. Start with a safety-approved crib and add another desirable piece. Create a baby registry at your favorite stores and receive free baby care samples and other perks like coupons and discounts on the items left unpurchased on your registry.
Spend modestly on maternity clothes. Budget more for maternity clothes for work than for working out. Buy staple pieces that can function for different events and activities. You can also find maternity clothes at some children’s consignment stores. For lounging around the house, baggy sweats and t-shirts are comfortable.
After the Arrival
If friends ask to give you a shower, consider having a diaper shower, or set up a diaper fund for friends and family to gift. Organic, plant-based or chlorine-free disposable diapers can be pricey; try a diaper subscription to cut down on costs if you want these specialty diapers.
It’s okay to be frugal when it comes to formula. Breast milk is free and has tremendous nutritional benefits, but it doesn’t work out for every mom. Save on formula without skimping on what your baby needs. If you buy a name brand, go to the company website and sign up for coupons and online deals. Ask your doctor for free samples and ask other moms for samples they don’t want. Keep in mind that all baby formula is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to meet certain nutritional requirements.
For baby clothes, check out consignment sales, online marketplaces and stores. You can get designer and name brand clothes, gear, furniture and toys at a fraction of the original cost. Baby items are outgrown so quickly that they are usually in good shape even if they are used. And once your baby is finished with an item, you can consign it.
Swap babysitting. Trade babysitting with another couple and you can still enjoy a night on the town without the expense of childcare. This also helps your baby feel comfortable with other adults, which can be a game changer in case of an emergency if you don’t have family that lives close by.
For baby items, invest in items that are worth the splurge. With a smart financial plan in place, pick out an extravagant or convenient, time-saving item like a car seat stroller combo, a bottle warmer, monogrammed diaper bag or a kids’ sound machine.
Babies don’t have break the bank. With a specific savings plan, you can save a bundle without skimping on the things you love.
Janeen Lewis is a freelance writer.
More Ways to Save:
- Don’t remove tags. If you don’t use something or it doesn’t fit, you may be able to take it back or consign it for a higher price.
- Buy gear that grows with your baby.
- Invest in a battery charger and rechargeable batteries.
- Don’t buy shoes until your baby walks.
- Buy diaper pails that use any trash bag or use a trash can with a lid. Specialty diaper pail bags are more expensive.
- Buy gender neutral if you plan to have more than one child.
- Buy diapers, formula and wipes in bulk at a wholesale warehouse club.
- Don’t buy a lot of bottles until after the baby arrives. You don’t know what the baby will prefer.
- Breastfeed or pump if you are able to.
- Make your own baby food.
- Host a swap party.
- Check out freecycle.com, a place to give away or find items you need for free.