Money Tips for Expectant Parents
Make a Budget in Advance
Well before the baby gets here, figure out how much income you will have coming in and prepare a budget. If you or your partner is going to take time off to be with the child, determine how much your family will earn during this period. Parental leave benefits are available to many people, but they often don’t replace an entire salary. Some companies provide parental leave pay as well, so find out if your work does this as it can help make ends meet.
You’ll need to figure out how much time you’re planning on taking off, then create a budget for this time using your new reduced income. See where you can cut costs so everything fits.
The sooner you prepare your financial plan, the more time you’ll have to save for when the baby gets here and you’re not earning as much. Cutting costs now and saving some extra money can help your budget balance when you’re away from work.
Think of What you Really Need
There are hundreds of thousands of baby products out there and the vast majority of them are not necessities. Ask other parents and search online to determine which items are useful and which can you can do without.
When it comes to clothing for your baby, you’ll obviously need some, but don’t overdo it. Designer clothing or impractical clothing looks great in photos, but most of the time your child will be at home and wearing the basics. Stick to just a few outfits for pictures and outings and look for deals on the rest.
You also don’t need to buy everything at once. Before the baby arrives, get just the essentials and now you can always pick something up later if you need it. This strategy is better than buying things in advance that you never use. Plus, babies grow quickly, and you don’t want to have a bunch of clothing and other items that you aren’t able to use before the child outgrows them.
Borrow or Buy Second-hand
If you have friends or relatives with older children, see what you can borrow from them and return later. This is much more cost-effective than buying new, and most children outgrow their things so quickly that items for very young children are often barely used.
The same is true for buying things second-hand. Some items, like car seats, have expiry dates on them, so be careful. But in most cases, buying used makes sense. With clothing and toys, for example, you can almost always get something used that’s just as good as something new, and at a fraction of the cost.
There are many brand name products out there that are better than unknown brands. However, there are also a lot that are nearly identical to more affordable choices. Do you research and figure out if a higher cost item is significantly better or if you can get all or most of the same benefits with a less expensive option. For instance, there might be no reason to buy a $1000 stroller if a $300 stroller does almost the same thing.
Search for online reviews and ask other parents for advice. You could save a lot of money by purchasing products that give you the best value rather than always getting the most expensive choice.
Stock Up on Basics
When you have a child, especially a baby, you’re almost always busy. You also go through a lot more paper towel, toilet paper, and other household basics than you may have used in the past. Plus, now you’ll have diapers, wipes, and other baby-specific products to worry about as well.
That’s why it’s a good idea to stock up on basics when you find a good deal or when you visit a discount retailer. These items don’t go bad, so stocking up when you can will save you time and money. However, when it comes to diapers, remember that what fits your child right now may not fit in a month or two, so you may not want to stock up too much.
When you have a child, a lot of friends and family members will probably ask how they can help. Rather than telling them you’re fine and don’t need anything, take them up on their offer and suggest a few things you’d like some help with. Having someone bring you a few precooked meals or watching your child for a while won’t just save you time and give you a break, but you’ll also save money on restaurants, take out meals, and babysitters.