5 Tips on Setting a Pregnancy Budget
Every parent knows that raising a child isn’t necessarily cheap. But many don’t know that pregnancy can be just as expensive. Fortunately, with these smart budget-friendly tips, you can spend less and enjoy more while waiting for your baby to arrive.
1. Buy (Gently) Used Items
Shopping online for baby essentials can eliminate the distraction of all the cute (and pricey) baby items you would spot in stores. Sites like Ebay offer great prices on a range of used baby equipment.
Money Talks News notes that many baby items are okay to buy used, such as clothing, highchairs, bouncers and swings, bassinets, changing tables, and strollers. However, there are also some things you should NOT buy used for safety and hygiene reasons, like:
- Car seats, because you can’t confirm their history, expiration date, or recall status.
- A breast pump, because most are single-user devices, meaning another mom’s milk could get inside the tubing and motor. As the FDA explains, hospital-grade pumps are safe for moms to borrow from their local hospital or lactation consultant.
- Bottles and pacifiers, unless they’re brand-new in the packaging, because of contamination concerns.
2. Set Your Budget Early
Especially if you work full-time and plan to take maternity leave, you’ll likely need to save up well in advance to cover your unpaid leave. Parents suggest saving for your living expenses plus an eight-month reserve, just in case.
As you establish your budget, consider setting some money aside for a babymoon to take some time for yourself before jumping into parenthood. It doesn’t have to be in a high-end hotel or somewhere exotic, and taking a small vacation can be just as enjoyable and beneficial for your health. Choosing a vacation rental over a hotel can also save you money, since you’ll be able to cook meals in the home’s kitchen rather than dining out every day.
3. Sign Up for Manufacturer Coupons and Freebies
Many baby product brands offer freebies and coupons. Check out companies like Amazon, BuyBuy Baby, Walmart, and Target, which all offer free welcome packs when you sign up for their baby registries.
Diaper brands like Huggies, GoodNites, Pamper, The Honest Company, and Seventh Generation provide trial products and coupons for subscribers. If you use formula, Enfamil, Gerber, Nature’s One, and Similac are happy to send samples and more. Also, if you plan to breastfeed, the Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to pay for a breast pump.
And finally, for some freebies your child will enjoy as they grow, see if the Imagination Library is available where you live. Dolly Parton’s program delivers free books to children all over the world—one per month until they reach age five.
4. Seek Out Support from Local Organizations
Depending on where you live, you may have access to organizations that serve pregnant women with limited budgets. For example, a federal special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children provides food vouchers for pregnant and recently postpartum women and children up to age five.
Many local pregnancy resource organizations also provide clothing swap services so you can trade in baby clothes as your infant outgrows them. You may also be able to get diapers, formula, and other baby items for free or via trade.
5. Shift Your Mindset
It’s tempting to buy all the adorable baby things you see in stores. But by shifting your mindset away from consumerism, you can enjoy a more budget-friendly pregnancy. Keep in mind that the market for baby items is a $10.91-billion business—and you don’t need everything they’re selling.
Many parents find that it’s easy to skip items like wipe warmers, diaper genies, and name-brand clothing. And as Motherly explains, sticking with the essentials—clothing and blankets, food, a car seat, and a safe place to sleep, for starters—is the simplest way to stay on budget.
Shifting your mindset can also mean changing up your eating habits to help you stay healthy for yourself and your baby. Eating healthy can also result in fewer medical bills, giving your budget more legroom to buy all the baby essentials you need. You can start small by swapping out sugary snacks for healthier options like turkey jerky, roasted chickpeas, and apples with nut butter. Whatever your dietary needs are, you can find many easy and cheap snack ideas online.
Having children changes your life (and budget) in countless ways. Preparing adequately is a big help, though. And the good news is you can start on a budget-friendly note by adding these strategies to your baby prep.
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