So, you discovered you were pregnant, and hooray! You celebrated, you wished, you dreamed and then… you remembered. Babies are expensive. In fact, babies are one of the most expensive investments you can make. Parenting states: “According to a 2010 USDA report, the average middle-income family will spend roughly $12,000 on child-related expenses in their baby’s first year of life. By age two, parents are up to more than $12,500 per year.” That’s no chump change.
For first-time parents in particular, the miscellaneous costs of having a baby can quickly add up and overwhelm your finances. Fortunately, you still have nine months of time to financially plan for your little one. With the right mindset and budget, you can afford to have a baby; you just have to prep. Consider these ideas for how to save money while preparing for a baby.
1. Live on post-pregnancy income.
Step one to saving money: start by living on post-pregnancy income, now. Essentially, trick yourself into living with less before you have to, so it’s a smaller transition once the baby comes. If you live with a partner, try cutting back to one income, while saving the money you’re currently making to prepare for the baby. If you are already on one income, realign your budget to spend less and see what you can save, which would otherwise go to the baby post-birth.
2. Earn extra income.
Whenever possible, consider ways you or your partner can earn extra income to store away in savings. For example, participate in market research studies or answer paid online surveys to earn extra cash. If your partner works an hourly job, see about taking on overtime or working longer shifts to earn extra money. Search for ways to bring in money now, then you won’t feel as financially stressed once the baby is born.
3. Cut costs.
Of course, none of this is possible without cutting the current costs you have. Sit down and evaluate your budget and where you spend money. Then, see what you can cut down on. For example, perhaps instead of grocery shopping once per week, you can stretch food and shop once per week and a half. Or, instead of buying new clothes, see about thrift shops in your area. However you cut costs now, you will be glad you did once the baby arrives.
4. Shop online.
As you prepare for your little one, a great—but cautious—way to save money is by shopping online. The biggest benefit from shopping online? Rather than browsing in-store, where you might feel tempted to pick up unnecessary items, you can click on exactly what you need to order. You can also be alerted to sales and easily compare prices online. On the other hand, some online shops have minimum purchase requirements to receive free shipping, so be careful not to over-buy.
5. Choose convertible gear.
Kids come with a lot of gear. From a baby carrier, to crib, to a car seat and stroller, there’s no shortage of big-ticket items you need to prepare for a baby. But, you can at least save a little bit of money by choosing convertible gear that adapts as your baby grows. For example, choose a crib that converts to a toddler bed. Or, a car seat with arrangement multiple options. By choosing convertible gear now (even if it costs a little extra), you can save money in the long run.
6. Save on baby clothes.
Spoiler alert: your baby will outgrow all of his or her clothes. Or spit up on them. Or poop in them. In other words, they will completely ruin some of them. So, don’t worry about spending a lot of money on clothes which may otherwise last only a few months, or at most a year. Choose a few solid onesies and a couple of cute outfits, then see what you can swap out. Borrow old clothes from older children, swap baby clothes with other mom friends or buy second-hand items to save money.
7. Buy at the end of the month.
Finally, when it’s time to make big purchases for your baby, find a sale by buying at the end of the month. Lots of stores require salespeople to meet specific sales goals each month, so you’ll likely receive a discount on bigger items, so the salesperson can meet his or her quota. As you browse for baby gear, don’t be afraid to ask if the salesperson can throw in any extras, or inquire if the store has coupons they can offer.
Ask any parent, and they’ll tell you: babies are expensive. If you’re expecting a new little bundle of joy, make sure you’re prepared. Keep these tips in mind for how to make extra money, save money and spend money responsibly. Then when your baby arrives, you’ll feel much less stressed financially and can fully celebrate all of the joys of parenting.