One of the biggest fears we hear from our client-mothers is her ability to financially support her baby. While there are many government and state programs your local pregnancy resource center can help you file for, it’s always good to have a plan for your personal finances to help you maximize your income! Here are a few tricks and tips to help you afford your new baby!
Make A Baby Registry
Amazon, Target, Walmart...every name brand you can think of will have an option to design your own baby registry. If you don’t have a supportive friend or family base who can help you with your registry, tell your local Pregnancy Resource Center. Sometimes they can share it and donors will purchase items for you depending on your situation.
Have A Baby Shower
Ask a friend, coworker, parent, or sibling to throw you a shower! People love baby showers, and it’s the best way to get items on your registry and for people to gift you bigger, more expensive items like a car seat or stroller.
Cook Your Own Food
Eating out is fun, and if you have a pregnancy craving go for it! But it does save you lots of money if you make most of your meals at home. Making large pots of soup and eating it for lunch all week can save you lots of cash, for example. Taking up grocery shopping is the fastest way to save on your budget.
Check Your Coffee Addiction
Do you get gourmet coffee every single day? Cafe coffee can be about $5 a cup and if you’re getting coffee 5 days a week, that’s $25 a week. In 4 weeks that’s $100 spent on coffee! (And some people buy coffee more than once a day.) If you are trying to save money, watch Youtube videos on creating gourmet coffee at home and invest in a personal coffee maker. $100 a month for nine months is $900!
Return Gifts You Don’t Need
Someone is bound to give you a duplicate gift or something that you just won’t use. If they included a gift receipt, quickly return the gift for cash or exchange it for something you will use.
Borrow What You Need
Friends and family with kids often are happy to loan or even give you their used baby gear and baby clothes, so be sure and ask around. Babies outgrow things so quickly, so buying a $250 swing might be ridiculous if you have a friend who can loan you one for the few short months you need it.
Look Into A Side Hussle
Spending your weekends working side hustles often generates a lot of extra cash. This cash can go into your savings plan for after the baby comes, during maternity leave, or to help pay hospital expenses.
Are you an artist or do you make a great product? Consider selling your work on Esty! Are you good at editing and grammar and writing? Consider doing professional editing or freelance writing online (check out LinkedIn.) Do you love pets? If your doctor is okay with you walking a lot, sign up to be a dog walker/sitter with sites like WAG!
The list of side hustles available is endless if you are willing to spend a few extra hours a week to pursue them.
Thrifting in “well to do” neighborhoods can save you big bucks! Often people donate brand new items with the tags still on and it is resold for half the cost. This is the best option when you are shopping for nursing and maternity clothes! Because these items are only used for a few months, they are donated in like-new condition and you will spend a small fraction of what they would cost at a retail store. They are also great places to get baby clothes!
Ask For Samples
If you plan on formula feeding your baby, ask your doctor or pediatrician for samples before you spend big money on a brand that might not work for your baby. Also, sign up for discounts on formula pages like Enfamil. They will send you a large, free box of formula samples and amazing coupons!
Talk to a Tax Person
Did you know that if you file your own taxes you could be losing a lot of money? For example, did you know that you get a $2000 tax credit for every child you have? Did you know that you might be able to get a write-off on your breast pump if it wasn’t covered by insurance? There are so many tips and tricks to either reduce your taxes or get a higher tax return as a parent. Talking to a tax agent can help you save money yearly!
Don’t Buy A Maternity Wardrobe
It’s so tempting to buy more clothes. Chic companies make it look so inviting and fun! But maternity clothes are crazy expensive, and sometimes you can get by just fine without them. More and more women are not buying maternity clothes these days because their old leggings fit just as well as “maternity leggings.”
Also, consider that you might not get a very large belly until the very end of your pregnancy. First-time pregnancies tend to be smaller than the second and third. Therefore you can buy a few must-have pieces to get by in the last weeks of your third trimester instead of a whole new wardrobe. And if you do need extra clothes to fit the bump, remember that thrift stores are the best place to find a bargain.
Utilize Your Local Library
Local libraries often offer a variety of amazing child-parent classes for free! Dance or music class with your baby can be upwards of $250! But the library’s dance class is either free or under $20. They also offer free reading classes for all age groups starting from infancy to grade school! So before you think you need to spend crazy cash to be a good mom, check the library’s yearly itinerary. You can also check out movies/TV shows and children’s books for free as well!
Follow A Budget
It’s so much harder to save money if you can’t see where it is going. When you make a list of every single expense you have, you can then see clearly what bills you need to pay and where all the money from your paychecks go. You can see what subscriptions you don’t need, where you are over or under spending, and create a balanced life that you control! Money should never control you--you should control the money.
Budgets also help you track bills to see if they increased. If you didn’t have a budget you might not have noticed you are slowly paying more money for something. If you don’t like your car insurance bill, call and see what exactly you are paying for and if you can reduce the bill any further. Insurance companies can tack on $10 here or $40 here for random items you don’t even need! A budget helps you see what you are paying for and what you shouldn't be paying for.
And speaking of money, if you have any debts, consider paying them off if you can. Reach out to your bank to see if you can consolidate your debt into one smaller payment. In the long run, you will save more money as a parent if you aren’t paying high-interest rates on debt.
Creating a budget only needs to take one or two hours of your week and the determination to follow it. Check out this free app by Dave Ramsey to help you maximize your budgeting experience!
Having a baby can be expensive, but if you take the time to focus and plan your life you can do it! Remember to ask about state and federal programs you qualify for (like WIC which is a program to help women with grocery items and formula.) Also, talk to your local Mary’s Pregnancy Resource Center Advocate about their Earn While You Learn Program. This program is for mothers to receive free parenting and prenatal education in exchange for points to shop in the baby boutique. Basically, women get free education and free baby items (like diapers and formula) for every class they participate in! Now that’s great savings!