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I was recently talking to a friend who is planning to start a family in about a year. She asked me, “what should I start doing now to start saving for a baby?” That is a loaded question and honestly took me a little while to figure out what is helpful in planning for a baby.
The average labor and delivery for a vaginal birth is between $3,500 – $10,000 and a c-section can run between $12,000 – $25,000. Cost of delivery, of course, depends on the hospital you choose and the amount your health insurance will cover.
1. Create a Budget
If you haven’t already, create a budget and make a plan for where your money is going. There is no better time to start understanding how you are spending your money. Looking at your finances will help you to see what is important to you. You can try budgeting apps like . . .
Digit – Digit is an easy and painless way to save money by taking extra money from your checking account and moving it to your savings account. It’s basically a virtual way to save up your pennies. This is a FREE service and an almost effortless way to save money.
Personal Capital – Join for Free – Personal Capital is a FREE budgeting tool similar to Mint.com but Personal Capital allows you to track investments which allows you to have a better overall view of your finances. I highly recommend Personal Capital!
2. Pay off Debt
What kind of debt do you have? Credit cards, school loans, hospital bills, car payments…debt isn’t a reason to put off starting a family, but it is a great reason to start eliminating debt to give you room for the necessary things that come along with having a baby like doctor visits, diapers, car seats, clothes (they grow so fast!), and the unexpected!
3. Build an Emergency Fund
Basically, you can expect the unexpected when it comes to kids. Our second son was born perfectly healthy, but for some reason, he repeatedly failed an oxygen test. He had to be taken to Children’s Hospital for an echocardiogram (that gratefully showed no signs of heart damage). We were released after 2 days, but the cost was over $2000 after our insurance. Our emergency fund was depleted after that, but we thankfully had some extra money to pay it off. Since we paid it in full we also received a 25% discount, which saved us some money.
Consider taking out disability coverage before you are pregnant to cover your maternity leave. Short Term Disability Coverage is designed to cover your salary or a portion of your salary when you cannot work due to injury, illness, or childbirth. The standard coverage for childbirth is 4-6 weeks depending on your state. If short term disability is not offered to you as an additional benefit through your state or employer then you should look into coverage through an insurance agency. If you do have to seek short term disability coverage independently then make sure you apply before you are pregnant because they will likely not cover you if you are getting the coverage for a current pregnancy.
5. Understand Insurance
Find out what type of coverage you have with your insurance. It’s a good idea to call and talk to your benefits department to find out exactly what kind of coverage you have for pregnancy and childbirth. You will also want to make sure your doctor, pediatrician, and hospital are in-network. If you are stuck paying out of network for services, it could cost you thousands of dollars.
Childcare is crazy expensive! Start planning your daycare costs and taking the payments out now to see how your budget is affected. This can help you answer some tough questions like, “Will you work or stay home? Can you work flexible hours and share the parenting duties with your partner? Even if you decide that you or your partner will stay home, you should go ahead and put your future child’s name on a waiting list for a good daycare. Reasonably priced, good quality daycares can be difficult to get into, so keeping your child’s name on the waiting list is helpful just in case you need that option later.
7. Stock Up
Start buying non-perishables like diapers and wipes; use coupons to start building a stock pile. You will go through these fast! When you start early, you have time to wait on really good sells instead of having to spend extra money because you are down to one last diaper!
8. Support System
Besides financial plans, you may also want to think about what kind of support system you will have in place when baby comes. If you don’t have family near by (or even if you do), you may want to think about your village. Who are the people around you that you want to be an influence in your child’s life? We have been so blessed to have amazing neighbors who are like grandparents to my boys. Sometimes your village grows from unexpected places, but you may want to seek out a church or play group or friends that can walk with you through the wild adventure of parenthood.
In reality, you will never be fully prepared for the life-changing experience of becoming a parent! These are some ideas to get you headed in the right direction!
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Of course, you need a crib or pack-and-play (really just a safe place to lay that sweet baby), diapers (cloth or disposable), blankets, formula (if you aren’t nursing) and baby clothes.
A lot of parenting is about trial and error. Your baby may love sitting in a swing while your next baby hates the swing. What works for one baby may not work for another!
These are 5 baby products that have made a big difference for my little babies and hopefully they will help you too!
What is this magical tool? This difference maker?
The Nose Frieda is #1 on my list because it is WAY better than the bulb you use to suck out the snot from baby’s nose. It’s kind of gross to think about sucking out snot, but let’s be honest a lot of taking care of baby is kinda gross 🙂
This is TOTALLY worth the money! I can never get much to come out with the bulb. Baby is squirming everywhere and it’s just a horrible few seconds without much to show for it.
The Nose Frieda really works! Baby squirms a little, but I can clean his nose out. It’s definitely effective. I’ve even used it on my 2 year old.
I have been a big believer in the paci from the beginning with our first little guy. I didn’t want him to suck his thumb, so I gave the paci while we were still in the hospital! And really the crying just grates on my nerves, so for both of us to survive those beginning months I knew a paci would be apart of our lives. He gave up the paci around 6 months and never looked back.
My second son wouldn’t take a paci until he was about 13 months old. He cried A LOT and I was SO grateful when he finally started taking a paci. He had a rough time giving up the paci, especially when little guy number 3 came along.
Of course number 3 wants to suck his thumb or just scream all the time. It’s so exhausting for him and the rest of us! I bought this Wubba Nub paci thinking he might grow attached to it, but so far he’s not that interested. We’ll see how it goes over the next few weeks!
For our 3rd (and final) baby, I upgraded to this Boba carrier. I decided to get this one because I had wanted it with little guy number 2 and just didn’t want to spend the money. Little guy number 3 loves the carrier, and now I realize it would have been worth it to splurge earlier. We use it everyday!
I definitely suggest trying it out first though because not every baby loves the same thing!
I seriously love these blankets. They are so soft and are perfect for swaddling. I use them as a cover up when I nurse too. The light weight is perfect especially during the summer.
My 5 year old and 2 year old still love their “blankies”!
There are many other brands available now. We just happen to have the Aden + Anais brand because that’s what someone gave me 5 years ago.
Purchasing supportive nursing bras is a great investment. If you are nursing then you will be wearing these EVERY. DAY! I enjoy working out and it is inconvenient to switch from nursing bras to sports bras. Besides, I just enjoy wearing sports bras anyway! They are way more comfortable to me.
While you will definitely be spending money on your new little blessing, you don’t HAVE to break the bank or go into debt! These 5 baby products have been my most used and most valuable go to’s for those first months.
Hope you find these helpful!
How did you prepare for baby? What do you wish you had done differently when you started your family?
Did you know working from home is definitely a possibility if you want to stay home with that sweet little bundle?! Check out these posts for ways to make money from home!
Ibotta is a cell phone app that is easy to use everywhere you go to buy groceries! You can easily earn cash back rebates and transfer the money into your Paypal account. This is seriously one of my favorite ways to save money at the grocery store!
I love this app because it is so easy to use and now it’s just part of my routine when I grocery shop. You can use this at your grocery store and even Target and Walmart! You simply find the items you want to buy in your app and then scan your purchases and receipt when you get home and put everything away.
The best part is you get to earn cash back on items that usually don’t ever have coupons like fruits, vegetables, milk, and eggs! Also, they have many items each month that are NOT BRAND SPECIFIC. So you can choose any brand in that category and still save!
If you do this all year you will have a nice chunk of change saved up from doing what you already do! Join Ibotta and earn a $10 cash bonus!
Want more details? Read my Ibotta Review
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