Fact: Babies are expensive…just ask anyone who has ever looked at stroller prices and experienced serious sticker shock. Budgeting before a new baby’s arrival — or, at the very least, reevaluating finances and spending habits — is crucial. But how exactly are you supposed to do that?
The trickiest part of planning for the financial aspect of having a baby lies in the unknowns. If you’re a first-time parent, it can be especially challenging to determine exactly how much you need to set aside for your new addition, and even experienced parents may find themselves struggling to nail down those figures before adding another baby to the family.
That’s why we enlisted a few new moms to share their top money-saving secrets — these are the pieces of advice they’d pass along to any expectant parent, and these hacks made all the difference when they welcomed their own kids. So lets get to it! Check out some handy little tips below.
Set up a 529 plan
“A 529 Plan is a tax-advantaged savings account where you can set aside money for your child’s future education costs. Opening the account is pretty easy, as you can probably set one up wherever your checking account or investment accounts are held. You just need your child’s social security number and date of birth as well as your own information. Once the account is open, you can set up automatic monthly or weekly contributions so you don’t have to be disciplined about remembering to move the money. Also, anyone can add to the account. So if Grandma and Grandpa or aunties, friends or cousins want to give a gift besides another plastic toy, this is a great option. The biggest advantage your new baby has is time. By opening an account as soon as possible, the account has 18 years to grow if you plan on using it for college.” – Jessica G. @levatuswealthlifestyle
Don’t be tempted to keep unwanted shower gifts
“I know this is hush-hush and not everyone likes to talk about returning gifts, but [for] anything we didn’t really want from the baby shower, we returned to the store, kept the gift card money and bought what we needed when we needed [it]. I still have gift card money and bought [my daughter] a rocking horse with it, as she loves them. I wouldn’t have known she wanted one before she was born.” – Victoria P
Expect the unexpected
Accept the hand-me-downs
“There are so many options out there for babies it is hard to tell which swing or bassinet your baby will prefer. So if you are lucky enough to borrow some gear from friends or family, I would highly recommend it!” – Jessica G., @levatuswealthlifestyle
Don’t let diapers bankrupt you
“One of the smartest things I did in terms of budgeting was leveraging my baby shower to outfit us with basically a year’s supply of diapers. Diapers and wipes are expensive because the costs add up over time. I came across a post on Pinterest that outlined a rough estimate of how many diapers you would need to make it through a year. I went through my registries and added all the necessary diapers per stage that we would need. And then I explicitly requested for everyone to buy diapers of any size/stage or count for our baby shower. To date, I have yet to buy a diaper.” – Dorian S., @theantibridezilla
Take advantage of registry discounts
“Always be aware of registry discount special circumstances- for example, most stores will let you combine your registry discount with storewide sales and other coupons, whereas that wouldn’t be allowed for other sales. Also, add as much as possible onto your registry- baby-related and not. Typically there are no exclusions, including brands that you’ll always find when you read the fine print don’t qualify. And you can keep adding items to your registry and use your discount for 6 months to a year after the baby comes.” – Anna B. @sveetbananna