When you are expecting a baby, it’s natural to get caught up in the excitement. It’s also easy to get overwhelmed with decorating and furnishing a bedroom, determining what hospital to use, and so on.
With a new baby comes new expenses. How do you know which things you can save money on and what to invest in?
The “Save or Save Up” series is meant to help you find what purchases you should look for bargains on and when it makes sense to budget for an item. Keep reading below to get advice on how to shop when you’re expecting.
The best time to start saving for your child’s higher education is now. Read our blog post “When (And How) to Save for College for Your Child” to learn how.
Save on Diapers
This is an expense that you are going to have for several years. The differences from brand to brand may be small as to how well they get the job done, so being loyal to one brand may have limited benefits to you. Diapers are always on sale, so try to avoid paying full price for them. To do this, compare prices from at least three places, and check for coupons from the store or brand. If you have the space, stock up on them when you find a great diaper deal. Afterall, you won’t have to complain about having too many diapers. Diapers are also easily exchangeable, so if you have too much of one size, you should be able to exchange unopened boxes for a new size.
Learn more couponing tips in our blog post True Story: Confessions of an Extreme Couponer!
Save up for Baby Gear
A crib that can turn into a bed, a dresser that converts to a changing table, and car seats that can change to booster seats are just some baby gear that can grow with your baby. Buying baby gear that pulls double duty (or more) will end up saving you money in the long run. Go ahead and splurge on these things and you will be ready for your baby’s next milestone.
Save on soaps, lotions, and shampoos
All those hygiene products that you will be using for your baby will add up. They might even be more expensive than what you use for yourself! Look for products that are gentle and scent-free that can be used by you and the baby.
Save up for Education
It’s no secret that there’s a rising cost of college. That’s why it’s important that you start saving as soon as your baby is born. If you start putting money away, even a thousand dollars or more every year, that will grow over 18 years.
Save on Baby Food
Buying baby food at the store can get expensive. When your baby is starting to eat solid food, use a blender to mix up fruits or veggies with liquid like water, milk, or a milk alternative such as almond milk. Your homemade baby food can also be frozen so you can store it for the future.
Save up for Maternity and Paternity Leave
With most employers, you could be eligible for at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave that is mandated by the Family Medical Leave ACT (FMLA). Your sick and vacation days will have to cover the weeks that you won’t be getting a paycheck past that point. That means it’s important to get your finances ready by cutting down on your expenses and building your emergency fund to fill in the gap.
Save on Clothes and Shoes
Your baby will grow out of their clothes in a matter of months. Skip the retail stores and head over to the consignment shops for great deals on gently-used items. You can find many baby outfit gems that fit your budget. As an added bonus, there are maternity clothes at a fraction of the cost. If you have friends, family, or co-workers who have recently had a baby or saved all their child’s clothes, ask if they have anything they wouldn’t mind parting with to donate to you.
Save up Socializing and Activities
Those “mommy and me” classes are just as much fun for the parents as they are for the baby. You want to have a social outlet with other parents who are going through similar experiences. Try to create a play group in your neighborhood or find out if your local church has or would be willing to host one. There are also apps like Nextdoor and Meetup where you can meet other parents. When your child gets old enough to socialize with other kids who have an interest in, for example, sports, start them off with one or two activities. Avoid private classes and instead look for free or low-cost options.
We hope you now feel a little more financially prepared for parenthood! Do you want to know more about other areas where you can practice smart spending? Join our email list and keep informed with our latest tips! When you do, you’ll get instant access to our “Spend Smart, Save More: The Ultimate Guide” e-book. You’ll find tips for building good credit, saving on bills, and much more juicy information for your financial life.