Preparing for a new baby is one of the most exciting things to do for soon-to-be parents. It seems like everyone talks about how expensive it will be, but it’s so hard to resist all of those cute baby clothes, toys, and nursery decorations! As a first-time parent, how do you know what the cost of having a baby will be? An online search of how much it costs to have a baby will cause anyone to panic a little.
But don’t fret. Here are a few ways to save money and cut down the costs.
Check and compare your insurance plans
If both you and your partner are working, call each of your insurance companies as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. They can help you determine the costs of prenatal care and delivery. It’s possible that one plan has significantly better coverage for costs associated with pregnancy than the other. If that’s the case and you are on the other plan, consider switching to the plan with better coverage. This could end up saving you thousands in the long run.
It’s also possible your work might offer more than one health insurance plan. Mine does and the difference between them is based on how much you pay per month for the insurance vs. the amount of coverage you get. A higher cost per month gives you better coverage. If you have other medical conditions or a high risk pregnancy, paying more per month to have better coverage might translate to saving more money than if you pay less per month and have higher cost medical bills. It’s probably worth looking into those options and weighing cost vs. benefits to see which is the best option for your situation.
Spend less money on food
This one can be hard if you’re used to going out to eat a lot. A good place to start is by meal planning. Plan all of your meals for the week, make a grocery list, and only buy those things. I’m guilty of going to the grocery store and buying all the food that sounds delicious. Using the pickup/driveup option at grocery stores helps me avoid unnecessary food purchases. And knowing what you are going to eat each day of the week makes it less likely that you’ll go out to buy dinner.
Take meal planning one step further and try prepping meals in advance. I know it’s hard to be motivated to cook every night. Find some recipes you can make in advance and freeze. We have a chest freezer in our basement and once every couple months I’ll spend the weekend prepping meals that can be frozen to restock our freezer. Then a couple times a week, all we have to do for dinner is thaw the meal and stick it in the oven or crockpot. This has saved us many times from going out to eat, and in return, saved us money. It takes a bit of adjustment to get into the habit of meal prepping, but it’s definitely worth it!
Take advantage of your baby registry
Don’t be shy about adding things to your registry, but make sure they are items that you truly need. Your family and friends will love celebrating with you and they’ll turn to your registry for guidance on what items you need. There’s even benefit to creating a baby registry even if you don’t have a baby shower. Most places will give you a discount on items that were not purchased. Target gives a 15% discount on anything left on your registry, Amazon gives 10-15% on remaining items from your registry, and Babylist offers 15% discount on items left that are sold from babylist.com. You can create a registry at more than one place and later decide which one gives you the best price.
Find used baby items
A really easy way to save money is to get used baby items. This can be borrowing, buying, or hand-me-downs. Since babies grow so quickly, used baby items are usually still in great shape. Start with friends and family who have had babies and won’t be needing their supplies anymore. Another good place to check is Facebook marketplace and garage sales. There’s always baby supplies, furniture, clothes, and toys for sale.
Buy items that grow with your baby
If you do have to buy items new, consider investing in items that grow with your baby and can be used for multiple years. Eventually, you’re going to have to buy a bed for your child, so why not get a crib that will convert to a bed and get a few more years of use out of it?
The same goes for a stroller. There are strollers that come with the option to have an infant carrier or toddler seat. If you plan on having more kids, some can even be converted from carrying one child to two. You can get more for your money this way. Just research what options are best for you.
I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but if it is for you, this can save you money. The average cost of formula during a baby’s first year is $1,200-$1,500. While there are costs to breastfeeding too, some of the more expensive items, like breast pumps, are likely covered by your insurance.
An added cost-saving benefit of breastfeeding is that it reduces the risk of some of the most common and costly childhood conditions like ear infections, gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, and intestinal infections. So, if it’s possible, give breastfeeding a try!
The cost of having a baby doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The key is to think simple. Babies don’t need as much as you think. With some planning, it’s definitely possible to have a baby on a budget.