If you’re expecting a little bundle of joy and feeling a little light-headed when you begin thinking about all that comes along with that sweet angel, you may have the financial baby fever… and you are not alone! Financially speaking, babies are money pits. They suck the life right out of your wallet, all while filling your heart with overwhelming joy! Worth the price tag.
So looking at a budget, right off the bat, hospital bills alone hit you pretty hard. Then you take one look at that long registry list and it seems like your five-year-old self’s dream list to Santa. But don’t worry, with good planning and smart saving it is all very doable. And remember babies grow in stages, so you can start with essentials and add things along the way.
Your most valuable assets will be helpful friends and family. So don’t be afraid to ask for help; most are overjoyed with the honor of helping new parents. And hopefully you will be lucky enough to have a baby shower or two thrown for you, to help check essential items off your list.
No need to splurge on super expensive items or toys, most babies are happier with the box it came in than the toy itself. Our son prefers and empty plastic water bottle. Also it is okay to ask friends to borrow large items, like bassinets or infant swings. They are wonderful to have, but have such a limited life span that sharing these items makes a whole lot of sense.
The other thing you can borrow from your experienced parent friends is their wisdom. Hands down, I’ll take free advice from any experienced momma any day over a $20 baby book. Finding someone who has recently been through the “Intro to Parenthood Crash Course” is essential. They can give you a heads up of your next big purchases, such as a highchair when they start trying solids, a new car seat when they reach a new length, or baby gates when they start being mobile. Having an idea of big purchases and when to expect them does worlds of good for your financial health.
Finding childcare, the repeated nightmare. Those who have family readily available to help, count yourselves blessed. This is your most economically friendly and safe route. Will one parent forgo working to care for your baby? Though you may lose an entire income you are used to having to pay expenses. Will you hire a nanny? This can be expensive and the logistics of taxes, Social Security and Medicare can be a headache, without professional help, but it is very convenient to have baby in their own space. Do you go the daycare route? Can be economical, but still isn’t cheap. And don’t forget to get on the lists early, spots are taken up like Hungry Hungry Hippos. Some daycare centers can have over a year waiting list… makes no since to me, but it’s true.
Another worry keeping you up feverishly at night might be the question of, what happens to this little peanut if something happens to you, or both of you. It is important to get good term life insurance policies in place and to update your wills. A bit of free advice that makes sense to us, have someone appointed to care for your children and another individual appointed to manage the finances for your children, just to avoid any “funny business.”
Some of you may already be worrying about their future education and college expenses. We believe that saving money on a regular basis adds up. There are lots of different strategies to accomplish this, so look out for our future blog post for more on this topic.
And now the hot button topic, breast feeding. It has many health and financial benefits, though it is not for everyone. No one tells you what a toll it takes on you physically and mentally. So, I leave that one up to you individually. I recommend trying it out, but don’t stress out over it. Bottle life is not the end of the world and may even bring a smile to your face when your partner is able to take a feeding shift in the wee hours of the night. But the fees for formula need to be considered and added to your baby budget. Buying in bulk at those large super stores, might be worth the extra savings of a membership.
So before baby arrives, do some product research, browse groceries to see what different items cost and formulate a plan for your formula… and other baby essentials. And when the financial baby fever really has you down, feel free to come talk it through with a professional. We at Family Legacy are here for our clients through all stages of life and can help you during these large life events.