Having a baby is one of the most exciting moments that new parents will experience. However, planning and preparing for the baby can be extremely challenging and even overwhelming for some new parents-to-be, especially when it comes to finances. As your family grows, so do your expenses; that’s why you must begin planning and budgeting before the stork delivers your special little package.
You’ll have nine months or less to start making some changes to your lifestyle and spending/saving habits, so if you want tips on how to prepare for a baby financially, you’ve come to the right place.
How to Prepare For a Baby During Pregnancy
You can start doing many things right away that will help you financially prepare for your little one.
- Knowing Your Coverage- It’s imperative to ensure that you’ll have health insurance before your due date. This will significantly reduce the medical costs associated with having a baby. If you do have health insurance, you should do your research and see what exactly is covered and if there are options for prenatal care services. Prenatal care plays a huge role in your and your baby’s health during pregnancy and typically involves many checkups with your doctor or midwife leading up to delivery.
If you do not have insurance, this can become really pricey, so it’s important to know your options ahead of time to plan.
- Will You Have Maternity/Paternity Leave?- If your job offers maternity or paternity leave, it’s essential to find out how much you will be making because, oftentimes, it is only a percentage of your actual pay. If your job does not offer maternity or paternity leave, it’s critical that you start planning ahead and calculating how you will save to make up for lost wages. Remember, you only have nine months before your baby is delivered so don’t wait to have a discussion about finances with your partner.
- Budget, Budget, Budget- As we previously discussed, your family is growing, but your wallet is probably not which is why it is super important to figure out a budget during your pregnancy. When creating a budget, be sure to account for savings, medical costs, prenatal supplements, maternity clothes, pregnancy classes, baby clothes, nursery costs, cord blood banking, etc. To create a realistic budget, regardless of your household income, you should calculate your total monthly expenses and figure out how much your income might change once the baby is born. If you anticipate no changes to your income, budgeting might be easier, but it’s still important to have a set budget. When you are building your budget, remember to factor in shopping costs associated with necessities for the baby and try to buy used if you can because these costs can add up quickly.
Once the baby gets here, you will need to adjust your budget to include diapers, formula, childcare, etc. Hopefully, your pre-delivery budget allows you to save some money and anticipate additional expenses that will continue for years to come.
- Savings/Emergency Fund- If you already have savings or emergency funds included in your budget, then you should slightly increase your monthly contributions if your household income allows for it. Children are unpredictable, and having money set aside for unexpected expenses can be very helpful.
In the event of a life-altering event such as losing a job, emergency funds can make all the difference in keeping your family afloat.
- Choosing an in-network Pediatrician- Within the first few weeks of your baby’s arrival, you will have to schedule their first checkup with a pediatrician. These appointments are essential to the baby’s health, so choosing a trusted physician within your community is critical. By choosing an in-network pediatrician, you can reduce your chances of unexpected charges associated with out-of-network providers.
- Make sure your baby is covered- You should add your baby to your health insurance plan as soon as you can to avoid additional medical costs. Depending on your provider, you may have a specific timeframe in which you can add your child; some providers require you to add your newborn within the first month, others may give you additional time. The sooner you add your baby, the better.
- Start a college fund- This is not completely necessary, but saving early for your child’s education can be extremely beneficial for your child.
A growing family is a blessing, but it also comes with its own set of responsibilities and costs, that’s why it’s important to know how to prepare for a baby financially. Keep in mind that the cost of raising your child will increase with each passing year, so it’s important to continue all these things long after the baby is born.