Nine months, preparing for baby, may seem like a long time, but it’s really not. The financial side can add a lot of stress. Here’s what Joanna, Our Freaking Budget, had to say,
Nine months sounds like plenty of time to prepare for a baby’s arrival. That is, until you’re the one counting down for your own baby. After the initial shock of finding out I was pregnant subsided, the excitement set in. And then the blessed hormones of pregnancy turned me into a crazy woman. From stressing about nursery decorations to worrying that my figure was starting to resemble the Incredible Hulk to going on a cleaning rampages until every inch of our townhouse was organized, I was a basketcase. AND, on top of all my irrational behavior, there were some very real financial preparations Johnny and I had to make before Baby Girl arrived. Suddenly nine months wasn’t nearly enough time for these parents-to-be. ~Keep Reading Here
Here are some tips on how to save, from around the web, to hopefully ease your fears….
Baby On A Budget
At The Hospital
- Say no to add-ons. Pass up a private room if there’s a charge. Fees can vary wildly, from about $30 a day in Alabama all the way up to a $500 daily charge where I gave birth, in Manhattan. By opting for a two-person room for my second hospital stay, when a C-section required me to remain five days, I saved $2,500. With nurses popping in every hour, I would have had no privacy anyway.
- Don’t turn on the TV. Some hospitals (like mine) also charge patients about $8 a day for television privileges. But you’re there to rest, not watch a Three’s Company marathon. Relish the time with your newborn and the fact that there’s an army of nurses to watch her while you recuperate. It’s a luxury you won’t have at home.
- Ask for coupons and samples. Manufacturers often lavish maternity wards with freebies, but the hospital staff is sometimes too busy to remember to dole them out. I got tubes of lotion and diaper ointment, coupons for stuff like baby wash and baby portraits, plus a surprisingly chic black diaper bag to hold it all—but only because I asked a nurse whether there were any samples around.
- Take the toiletries. You can often keep some goodies from your hospital stay—namely the baby-care items stored in the cabinet beneath your little one’s rolling bassinet (ask permission). Look inside, and you’ll probably find diapers, swaddling cloths, alcohol swabs, a nasal aspirator, disposable nipples for bottles, a thermometer, and more. Leave them behind and you’ll just have to shell out $30 to $40 later at the drugstore. ~Parents.com
Realize You Don’t Need to Buy Everything
While there are plenty of useful items you can buy on the cheap, there are some you needn’t buy at all.
For example, you can use your sink or a washing-up bowl instead of a baby bath. And you don’t need to buy new baby towels and muslin squares when you’ve probably already got something suitable for the job around the house. ~BabyCentre
Consider what you already have and what you can borrow from friends and family that have already had babies.
It can help to shop with a mom who has been there. It’s so exciting that you will likely want to buy everything, but a friend can level with you about what you really need.
Those tiny little outfits, strollers, and top-of-the-line baby furniture can easily run into the thousands of dollars. While you should never economize on safety items (like car seats and intercoms), there’s no reason to spend big bucks on an outfit your child will outgrow in two weeks. Best reality check: Take a friend who’s an experienced mom — preferably with two or more children — on your buying spree. When she’s done laughing herself half to death, she’ll tell you to skip the embroidered diaper-holder and save the money for college. ~Parents.com
Save on Clothes Baby Will Grow Out of Quickly
If this is your first baby, chances are, you will get a lot of baby clothes at your baby shower (make sure someone throws one for you!!) but you will still need to fill in the gaps with what you don’t get, not to mention all the years to come as your baby grows. Let me give you some valuable advice on this: BUY USED! Kids go through clothes SO fast and there is an endless sea of mothers out there who have boxes of baby clothes sitting in their basements. Better yet, before you buy, ask around to see if someone just wants to get rid of their clothes. Better you than good will, right? 90% of my kids clothes have come from hand downs. I usually have MORE than what they need! If you really want to buy brand new everything, go ahead. I’d rather spend that money on diapers!!! ~DoubleTheBatch
Don’t Forget Sales and Coupons
Comb through your local paper and flyers for coupons on baby supplies. You can also sign up online for coupons from your favorite manufacturers, and while you’re at it, look at online social sites just for moms. Many of them offer special deals on baby purchases that can save you money. ~WebMD
Check Out Sharing Sites
Check out freecycle.org. This non-profit site is full of parents giving away their gently used baby gear and clothes. (You can sometimes find free or cheap items on sites like craigslist.org too.) You can also head to our own Swap Spot message board and donate to moms right in The Bump community. ~TheBump
Hold Out For The Shower
If your friends and family are likely to throw you a baby shower, it’s good to wait. You will get a ton of stuff for baby and have less to buy.
Remember that if someone throws you a baby shower, you’ll likely wind up with lots of outfits, toys, and maybe even gear. The point? Don’t stock up ahead of time. You or your partner can always hit the stores afterward to grab anything else you need. ~TheBump
Find Tax Credits
Investigate tax credits and flexible spending accounts. The child tax credit, which gets subtracted directly from parents’ tax bills, is $1,000 per child for couples who file jointly and make no more than $110,000 a year. Every bit counts. Working parents also may qualify for the child and dependent care tax credit, which allows them to deduct as much as 35 percent of their annual day-care expenses depending on how much they earn. It’s also a good idea to ask your employer about flexible spending arrangements, which allow you to direct a portion of your pretax wages to a personal account from which you can draw for medical and child-care costs. ~Pregnancy.org
Have some money saving tips for moms-to-be? Let’s here them in the comments…
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