Budgeting for Baby

Photo by @honestabelphoto

Planning for the expenses of having a new baby can be intimidating, the average hospital birth with insurance costs around $5,000! With both kids we were on pretty tight budgets, and we had to do some tricky things in order to save enough money to afford the costs of a new baby. By starting early and making sure we knew exactly what we were getting into, we were able to save enough to cover insurance premiums, hospital bills, and lost pay from maternity leave! I thought I would share some of the things we did and found to be successful ways to save up some money!

  1. Make a separate savings account, and contribute to it regularly. Jared set up a savings account that was separate from our other checking and savings accounts and had an automatic deposit of $50 each week. I really liked having it separate, because then I wasn’t tempted to move any of it back to our checking and after a few months of not looking at it, it was a nice surprise to see how much we had saved! You can pick any amount to be deposited, we really didn’t miss that $50 per week so it was as if money would just magically appear there! I liked the weekly contribution, I feel like it’s easier to do a small amount every week as opposed to a bigger amount monthly.
  2. Now that you’re saving money, call your insurance company and have them explain (in detail) every charge you will accumulate for prenatal care and birth. I actually did this several times, just to make sure I talked to different people and had every charge planned and accounted for. This obviously won’t take into account any expenses for unforeseen circumstances, but it’s nice to have a general idea of how much you will need to save to cover all the costs.

We decided that I would go on a more expensive but comprehensive insurance plan before getting pregnant so our hospital bills and OB bills would be lower. We paid a higher monthly premium, but had no OB costs, no deductible, and a very low blanket charge by the hospital. This worked better for our personal situation and the kind of prenatal care and birth that we wanted, do some research beforehand (especially if you want a non-hospital birth) to make sure you’re getting the coverage that you want!

3. Every month, write down your excess expenditures. This helps me SO much! Whenever we’re in a tight financial spot I always start documenting excess purchases so I can see exactly where our money is going–it motivates me to not spend frivolously and to just be more aware of what I’m buying. This is especially useful in a shared doc with your spouse, so you can help encourage each other to make good financial decisions while trying to save money.

4. Take a look at your current bills, and see if there’s something you can cut. We looked over our budget and decided that we were spending too much on food every week, so we cut our grocery budget and reduced eating out to twice a month instead of every week. These small changes helped us save about $120 a month! Some other potentially cut worthy expenses could include cable T.V.  (hello netflix!), subscriptions to magazines, satellite radio, or meal delivery services, maid service, phone bills (do you really need the upgrade?), shopping budget, gym memberships etc. There are usually things we can cut out for the time being while trying to save money, that have cheaper or even free alternatives!

5. Make it a joint effort. Go over the bills and finances together as a couple. Decide what you can both go without and respect what each other values most. Making sure you’re both on board and on the same page will eliminate arguments, stress, and confusion over how you’re going to pay for these next several months-years.

Saving money can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Starting early, working together, and focusing on the end prize (a baby, YAY!) will make it much easier and enjoyable on everyone. Do your best to stick to your budget, but don’t beat yourself up if you have to make adjustments or if you have a bad week. The sacrifices we make now are totally worth it in the end, and the habits you develop now will help you in the long run!

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