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Pregnancy + Baby = New Expenses

By Jonni McCoy


Everyone knows that having a baby can be expensive: You'll be paying for diapers, clothing and maybe even child care. But when you're expecting your first baby, you may not have an accurate picture of the complete costs and hidden expenses of pregnancy and a baby. And you may also be dealing with student loans or other debt.


Pregnancy Costs


Don't underestimate the costs you'll have before the baby even arrives. There will be co-pays for prenatal doctor visits, prenatal vitamins,  maternity clothing, and you may even need new shoes (our feet swell when we are pregnant, and high heels are very hard on your already strained back). Prenatal classes and books will make a dent in your wallet, too. And when the baby comes, your hospital stay could cost thousands, even with insurance. So plan ahead and factor these costs into the journey.


Ways to Save on Common Costs of a Baby


Some baby needs are universal, but you don't need to break the bank to provide for your baby. Here are common baby costs and ways to save:


·         Clothing, Toys and Gear: As our babies learn and grow, you’ll want to continuously update their toys and clothes. This is in addition to the one-time costs of gear like a car seat and stroller. Cut costs by taking advantage of sales, shopping at thrift stores and garage sales, and accepting hand-me-downs from friends with older children.  Don’t overlook normal household items as play toys: cardboard oatmeal containers, laundry baskets, safe baking tools, etc.

·         Formula and Food: Formula and food can cost you $50 to $100 a month. You can save money by breastfeeding for as long as possible. If your baby needs formula, buy it in bulk. Once he or she moves on to food, you can make your own very cheaply. In addition to saving money, this is often a healthier option for your baby. For more details on how to do this, visit our tips page.

·         Diapers: Diapers can add $85-100 to your monthly costs. Many people are able to reduce this amount by using cloth diapers and washing them yourself. The savings depends on the cost of utilities and how many loads you do each week. If you use disposable diapers, buy in bulk and shop around. Often using off brands can compare to the cost of cloth diapers and their expenses. Diaper costs can vary among online retailers, supermarkets and pharmacies. Also check the manufacturer's website for coupons.

·         Child care: Paying for child care is possibly the highest recurring baby cost you'll have. Day care alone can cost around $1,000 each month. Save money by looking into home day care centers or nanny sharing. When you need a babysitter, ask a friend or relative or hire a responsible student. Before you decide to work and pay for childcare, compare the cost and take-home pay you receive. For more details on this, visit our article on The Cost of Working.


Other Costs


It's no secret that having a baby can increase our expenses, but it's hard to quantify the actual costs until you get your bills each month. Plan ahead as much as possible and create a budget. This will help you make sure your limited funds go toward priority purchases, and it can help soften the blow of your credit card bill.


For further tips, please read Miserly Moms-Living Well on One Income. After our first child we cut our income in half. It details how we did it and still thrived. We were living in the third most expensive area at the time, and still had another child and learned to live within our means.


Happy parenting!