This is such an exciting time in your life! You have just found out you are pregnant and there are probably so many thoughts running through your head.
“Is it going to be a boy or girl?” “I need to start choosing baby names!” “Will I get morning sickness?” “When will I be able to feel the baby inside me?”
So much is going on in your mind and then BAM! Can I afford this? Well, I am guessing it is a bit too late to be thinking this right now!
You would be right if you think that having a baby is expensive. There are many items to purchase in order to get ready for the arrival of your little bundle of joy. Some people might be filled with dread when they think about the cost of having a baby, but it really does not have to be this way if you put a few plans into action right from the start.
Budgeting has never been more important than it is right now. When you create a solid budget and stick to it, magical things can happen. Savings will start to grow and you will feel more confident as the amount rises.
There are many baby budget planners that can help to guide you through the process. However, a good blank notebook, some decision-making and a good pen is all you need.
Some decisions you might need to make when you are planning for baby’s arrival include whether you would like the baby to sleep in their own room from the outset, or if you would prefer them in the room next to you? Will you be needing items such as a baby monitor if you have a two-story house? There are many things that you need to start considering.
Here are my top 9 budgeting for baby strategies to help you get off to a good start:
What do you need? Notice that this does not say “want”!
Now is the time to sit down and write a list. Write down everything you think you might need and then check with your friends who have had babies. Chances are that they will have some extra items that you need to add to your list.
Is it a long list? You might feel a bit overwhelmed and that is ok. It is not like you have to go out and purchase everything tomorrow. You have 9 months. You can do this! Your baby will not miss out on anything. You have started your list and there has never been a better starting point than this.
Over the next week or so, revisit your list. When you are talking to other parents, find out what has been useful to them and if there are any items they purchased, that they actually never used. This is an important one. Even though it would be cute to have the latest mobile to hang over the cot, you need to ask yourself if it is really necessary. Many new parents will spend a lot of money on items that really are not needed, so keep this in mind.
The reason that the creation of a list is a good first step, is because it gets all of your thoughts about what you need, out of your head and down on paper. Regardless of your income or the space you have for the new baby’s room, you have created a list of necessary items that you think you are going to need.
This step may take you a few days, or it may even take you a few weeks, and that is perfectly fine. You can come back to it at any time to take some items off or to add items you have now considered important.
Some of the main items you need to consider might include:
- Change table
- Feeding chair
- Rocking chair
- Car seat
- Portable monitor
- Portable cot.
Create a vision board
It is kind of like a dream vision board. It is not set in stone, but will provide you with a base of what you feel is important to you. Often, when we create a vision board, we have greater success when it comes to achieving our goals. So, start gathering some photos or clippings of the things you would like to purchase for your baby or house.
Paste these images onto a vision board. You might realize you have a certain color preference when you look at the images as a whole. For example, you may find an image of a cot with a gray throw blanket and realize that the subtle gray color suits your style. You might also gain a clearer understanding of the number of items you need.
It is hard not to get motivated on a budget for baby when you have a wonderful vision board in front of you!
What is your income?
Write down your earnings and work out how much you can put aside to add to your baby budget. Every dollar in your budget should be accounted for, which means you need to include your new baby budget into your household expense budget.
Obviously, you cannot budget for items that do not fit in with your income. There are ways around this though. You may need to find the compromise within you! If you have your heart set on an expensive cot or bassinet that is out of your budget, then this is an area that may need some compromising. There may be some similar looking cots or bassinets without the hefty price tag that are more functional for you.
Having a set amount to put aside each week or fortnight really puts you in control of your money. It will also ensure you actually have the funds when it is time to start making the important purchases. Although you might want to rush in and buy everything straight away, this is not a great idea. Taking the time, planning the baby budget, and building up the funds will put you in a much better position leading up to the birth of your baby.
If you need some additional budgeting advice if you have not been good with this sort of thing in the past, consider getting some help on this. There are many books on budgeting that provide fabulous strategies that will help you achieve your dreams.
Review your list and match to your budget
It is time to review your list and take an even closer look at the needs you have written down. Take some time for this process. Is there something that can be removed? Was there something you missed that now needs to be added?
Make the necessary changes to your original list.
You can now begin to write an estimated amount next to your big-ticket items such as the cot, change table, pram or capsule. An estimated amount is important. You do not want to set your heart on a particular item at a certain price point if it does not fit in with your budget.
Look at what you are willing to spend on each item and see if you can make these items fit within your estimated budget.
Set your goals
You have 9 months to prepare, which means you have 9 months of saving and budgeting to get organized. Even if you are starting a bit later than expected, even 6 months of budgeting will put you in a good position before the baby arrives.
You might be eager to get the baby’s room started and put together well in advance. This is fine, but if you take the process step-by-step, your bank account will thank you in the long run.
Decide when you will need each item according to a time frame. If you have a clear map of your goals, the process will be a lot smoother. You could plan according to weeks or months.
So, your goal could be to have the cot purchased by the time you are 7 months pregnant, for example. Create a chart, spreadsheet or even a paper diary with the weeks and months clearly labelled. This will help to organize your goals even further.
Make your purchases according to your timeline
Stick by the decisions you have made and mapped out on your timeline. The only time I would stray a little from this plan, is if a particular item unexpectedly goes on sale. Imagine being able to come in under budget! If you can save a few hundred dollars here and there on higher priced items, then that would be beneficial and will allow you to have additional funds after the baby is born.
As you purchase each item, check it off your list. This will help you to feel accomplished in your goals and will continue to motivate you in the right direction. There is nothing more satisfying than crossing out items from a to-do list!
As you start to acquire your baby items, you may still find more things that you need. You might also find that there are definitely things you can do without. This is a gradual process as you progress through the stages of pregnancy.
Extra expenses that need to be considered
One thing I have not mentioned is the cost of having the baby in the hospital. This can be a big expense for many people, whether they have private health funds or are delivering through the public system. You will need to factor these costs into your budget according to your personal situation.
Hospital visits can become quite expensive, so I would also consider putting aside extra emergency savings just in case you need them. There may be complications you were not expecting, so it is important to always be prepared for the unknown.
Friends and family
If you are on a tight budget but still want to provide as many quality items as you can for your little one, then consider friends and family. You might have a baby shower or gender reveal. These can be a great way to free up your budget. Your friends and family will want to get you some special gifts, so why not let them know what you need or what you would like?
Some people shy away from asking friends and family for things. I know it can be difficult, but if they are going to purchase a gift anyway, why not let it be something from your vision board, or something from your “needs” list. Being able to remove some items from your list in this way will free up your savings and reduce your spending.
You might have had your heart set on a rocking chair for nursing your baby. I know how much I appreciated a good rocking chair in the wee hours of the morning when I had to feed my babies. Perhaps this was something on your vision board, but you have had to take it out because it did not match with your budget. This would be an ideal “gift” to talk with friends and family about.
You can also consider looking up baby bargains as well. You can find out savings ideas from others based on their experiences and advice. If you do some research and approach friends and family with a variety of ideas, your baby room will be put together the way you are hoping without breaking the bank.
Time for you
While you are doing your budget and creating lists, it is also important for you to remember yourself. The time will go so fast that you might forget some of your needs in the process. After the arrival of your baby, time will go even faster! So, in the last month, budget for yourself as well. Go and get your hair done, have a pregnancy massage or a facial. Add some self-care to your budget so you are not left feeling frazzled when your baby is born.
You are all set and ready to go!
Magic really can happen when you create a goal, set a budget and stick to it. Many people have achieved amazing things, even more than they had originally imagined, when they create a budget and make every dollar count.