Well congratulations if you’ve recently found out you’re expecting to have a child! Assuming you’re having a child for the first time you may not know what expenses to expect or how to save for your child. That’s okay. Having children does impact your wallet, but it’s well worth it. Children are a blessing and as you pay for your little one you won’t think anything of the expenses as long as you’ve done some planning and preparation and spend smart.
What Expenses To Expect For Your Child
There are a number of expenses you’re not used to paying or accounting for in your budget. It’s a good idea to talk to family, friends and reach articles such as this one to get an idea of such expenses.
- How do you plan to feed your child? Will you breast feed or use formula? Breast feeding isn’t for everyone, but it will save a ton of money as compared to buying formula (even if its bought in bulk).
- Clothes and blankets are essential for a newborn. You’ll want to make sure you have blankets for swaddling and keeping your baby warm at night. Just remember your baby doesn’t need designer clothes. Nice, but not super model fashion is the approach I would recommend.
- You’ll want to furnish your nursery. This will include a baby crib, changing table or dresser, rocker, lamp, etc. Read below for tips for such one-time expenses.
- Diapers can be quite costly. Some people use cloth diapers, but we couldn’t do it; we didn’t even go there. You’ll want to buy diapers in bulk each month, but make sure you check unit prices as bulk isn’t always cheaper.
- Medical supplies and other products. These are tough to plan for, but make sure you have a thermometer, nail clippers, baby bath tub, etc.
- We quickly learned it was better to spend more on a few high quality bottles rather than buy the cheapos. The more expensive bottles simply work better and tend to leak less.
- You’ll want your little to have some little toys to play with. Rattles are good for babies and most of these types of products can be found at your local Wal-Mart or Target. I recommend doing a bit of research on baby toys because you want to make sure you buy safe products.
- A stroller with car seat attachment can be costly, but make sure you get something that is going to be safe! These are not expenses to skimp on, but you also don’t have to buy top of the line.
- Doctor and hospital expenses for having a child can differ so you need to make sure you have a good understanding up front as to what your insurance will cover.
How To Save For Your Child
Once you’re expecting you’ll want to start setting money aside for these expenses. There are one-time expenses and expenses that will occur each month. The one-time expenses mainly consist of the nursery furniture, stroller and costs associated with the hospital and doctors. The recurring expenses include all the monthly purchases such as diapers, food, etc to help provide for your child.
Head into your local baby furniture store and you’ll find you can easily spend a few thousand dollars on one-time expenses. Rather, be smart about how you’re spending money and buy some things used. For most furniture you can get away with buying used, but don’t buy a used baby crib or a stroller that has a car seat attachment. These are important things to insure safety and you need to make sure you’re getting a reliable product that isn’t damaged (if used) and well manufactured.
Make sure you buy your one-time items without financing them or using a credit card. You may need to sacrifice some spending if you don’t have any extra income. You may also want to take up a part-time job if you need money to buy supplies. Can you sell furniture or other things you don’t use? And don’t forget work bonuses, tax refunds or even a family loan are all better options than going into debt to plan for your new child.
A great way to get some of the essential things you need is through baby showers. Many families and friends host baby showers. Don’t use this as an opportunity to go overboard and request every gadget at Babies r Us to furnish your nursery. Rather pick out the essential things you need at moderate prices and most people will be happy to help you out. This is, of course, a wonderful occasion that you can celebrate with those close to you.
Plan ahead and carve out room in your budget. Since you now have a list of some expenses you can expect within the first year, visit some stores such as Target with a list of the items and write down the prices. Compare with a few other stores too. I’ve made a line item in our family budget that includes expenses for baby supplies. These are normal monthly expenses for diapers and baby food. It may take you a few months to know how much you need to spend, but the important thing is to have some money set aside each month.
Don’t forget Health Care FSA’s. Most baby related medical expenses can be purchased through your FSA. This can definitely help as babies and young children tend to need over the counter medicine and other supplies from your local pharmacy often.
The most important thing to remember is you are not the first person on the planet to have a child. Remember, others have saved and provided for a child and you can do it too. Sure, it may take some sacrifice, but it’s worth the blessing.
What tips do you have to save for your first child?
When looking for recurring expenses such as diapers and wipes many people turn to Costco. While that will generally work well, don’t forget to check Amazon. They have a great program when you set up recurring purchases which gives greater discounts. We use Nature Babycare brand partially due to the sensitive skin of our little one. By getting them from Amazon on a subscription plan we have the cost down to about the regular price of diapers from a Wal-Mart or Target. Big advantage: time savings. We don’t have to go out and get diapers and wipes. We adjust the subscription as needed to maintain a solid stock at home. (Plus the brand is only available locally through Babies R Us for a “nice” markup last time we checked.)
Peter Anderson says
We ended up getting almost everything we needed for our soon to be born baby boy from the baby showers that my wife’s family, my family and her coworkers threw for her.
Contrary to your advice, I’d actually suggest putting EVERYTHING you want to get on your registry -even the expensive stuff. We found – at least at Babies R Us – that even if you don’t get something via your shower – that often the stores will give you 10% off or more on all items that appear on your registry. We did this and ended up saving a ton on a bunch of more expensive things we wanted to buy.
Amazon for diapers? I had no idea. That sounds like an interesting idea I’m going to check out for our little one.
Pete, exciting times for you my friend. You’ll love being a dad and you’re life is about to change big time! :) All for the better of course! Glad your showers went so well for you.
Like most people are saying, you do get a lot of the stuff you need from baby showers.
I think that breast feeding was the single thing that saved me the most money.
Babies are such a blessing!
Financial Bondage says
I don’t think a person could ever save enough money to prepare for having kids…. I guess being debt free and having 6 months of expenses in the bank is a good starting point.
Car Negotiation Coach says
I just learned a great tip about the baby shower (we just had our first child). Don’t buy anything for yourself until after the shower. Aside from the obvious reason where you might get the same item you bought… at most places you will also get a discount of 15-30% off over one weekend on all the items that were left on your registry.
David/Money Crashers says
We tried buying “ahead” for a lot of stuff while my wife was still pregnant.
This lessens the avalanche of stuff that is needed after the baby is born.
Plus, it gives you time to research and get the best deals on things, rather than buying it all right when you need it.