Everyone knows that procreation requires some detailed planning before even deciding to start trying for it. At the same time, if one waits forever to save enough, they could miss their chance — how do parents even decide how much money they need?
Because of that, instead of thinking that the baby will always miss something, it’s better to simply shift the focus to implementing some strategic moves to lower the expenses. Though it looks as if the bills will just keep piling up after birth, what the parents do before it counts as well. So without further ado, here are the top ways to save money before the baby arrives that ought to help new moms and dads keep their budgets in check and avoid going into debt.
Go for Secondhand Clothes
Future mothers often have a hard time parting from their regular clothes and discovering some maternity finds. Even worse, maternity clothes are a bit of a gimmick. They can cost the same as regular clothes, but the wear is limited to those nine months, give or take (unless someone is really loving them and wants to stay comfy later on).
Therefore, secondhand clothing is one of the first things parents should consider when looking into saving money before the baby comes. Thrift shops and consignment stores are full of old maternity clothes that could fit soon-to-be-mothers perfectly. Most of the items are almost as good as new since they weren’t worn so much.
Additionally, opting for secondhand baby clothes is also an incredible way of pinching pennies. The baby won’t really care what it’s wearing, as long as it’s clean and without any holes. Besides, since babies grow so fast, new baby clothes bought in advance are a huge risk — they may not fit at all! At least this way, parents will know they have some clothes that only cost them a few dollars, rather than hundreds.
Use the Next Nine Months to Learn How to Sew
Knowing how to sew is a wonderful way of saving money before the baby arrives and a skill one can use later on as well. Its real value becomes evident once new parents see just how much baby clothes, bibs, blankets, and more cost. The industry definitely knows some stuff is essential and is not looking to let others save on it so much.
Thus, sewing could save parents at least a couple of hundreds of dollars, if not more, since fabrics aren’t that expensive either. And what’s even better is that this skill would allow them to use up stuff they already have.
For example, many women who know how to sew will DIY a pair of jeans and add a stretchy fabric on top to transform them into maternity pants. Alternatively, old T-shirts can also be customized into bibs; the little one is going to make a mess anyway, but this way, no money will go to waste!
Borrow Stuff from Other Parents
Baby gear has limited use and costs a small fortune if one wants only top-quality equipment. So if some parents are looking into saving money before the baby comes, they ought to ask their friends about borrowing some stuff.
Bassinets, for example, are an excellent choice for a while only; once the baby starts rolling around, they have to go. Additionally, some not-so-new parents may have other things they could lend, such as baby carriers and potty chairs. In fact, they may be willing to part with some bigger pieces, such as cribs, if they’re done having kids.
In the end, those parents will know what the expectant ones will go through during these nine months. They are well aware of how much it costs to have a baby since they had to pinch pennies themselves. Thus, they’ll surely want to help out if one asks them politely — and makes reasonable requests, of course.
Stock Up Later
Babies can be somewhat picky, so they might object to certain things in the beginning, like pacifiers, bottles, and diapers. Thus, it pays off to wait to buy these, especially if there aren’t any sales going on.
And even in that case, it’s better not to go overboard. Instead, it’s a good idea to ask for free samples at the pediatrician’s office or in the hospital. Most manufacturers are aware that not every baby will like the best-reviewed bottles or wipes. As such, some hospitals have (free) goodie bags parents can take home and try out before buying in bulk.
Invest in Convertible Gear
Getting the most bang for the buck is imperative when it comes to baby gear. And what better way to save money than going for convertible items, such as travel systems and infant car seat-compatible strollers?
New parents could look into convertible cribs as well; once the baby grows into a toddler, these would save them hundreds of dollars they’d otherwise spend on a new bed!
Shop in Bulk (Once You Know What You Like)
Now, if there’s a sale going on and the parents already know what they’ll use from the stuff the baby doesn’t have to approve first, it would be wise to buy in bulk. They could shave hundreds of dollars off the costs if they have space to stock up on stuff.
However, it’s not recommended to go into it blind. Doing the research first will ensure the best value for money. Just because it’s on sale now doesn’t mean it’s a must-have!
DIY the Nursery
Though it’s tempting to use one room as a nursery from the very beginning, it’s unlikely to work. The baby needs 24/7 attention, and it’s simply easier to have it in the same room as the parents.
If there’s no space in the main bedroom, then a nursery would be a good option. Still, parents don’t have to use it like that exclusively. Baby gear requires a lot of space, but babies themselves don’t. If the room still has a computer desk or some bookshelves, there’s no reason to move them now. They ought to wait until the baby needs some room, which should save some money on redecorating now.
Alternatively, if parents are looking into saving money before the baby arrives and want a nursery, then they can decorate it themselves. There is a variety of resources online on how to paint walls, ensure there’s no mold, and baby-proof a room completely. Best of all, parents can think in advance and make the room suitable for a toddler as well. That might allow them to avoid the costs of redecorating later on.
Save on Crib Decorations
Unfortunately, when it comes to saving money before the baby comes, many parents fail to see the big picture here. This part of their lives is going to change everything for them. Thus, they want to go all out and make the nursery, as well as their whole house, all the more special.
However, things like crib decorations are actually pretty useless and unnecessarily expensive. All those bumpers, pillows, and blankets will have to be removed before the baby goes to sleep, as they can increase the risk of smothering!
Everyone knows that it’s always better for babies to eat homemade food without any additives, sugar, etc. However, since it’s too early to start making it now, why not stock up on some frozen meals instead?
Batch cooking now would allow parents to avoid ordering in or going out in search of food. In the long run, it saves a lot of money! Some dishes can stay in the freezer for months. Besides, it’s always cheaper to cook at home, so there are some instant savings to look forward to as well!
Create and Stick to a Baby-Friendly Budget
Even before the baby is conceived, it’s imperative to stick to a solid, sustainable budgeting plan that doesn’t let anyone cut corners. That budget becomes even more critical once the baby is born; no one really knows what to expect in the coming years, after all.
However, to make a budget baby-friendly, some adjustments are in order. Since not many budgets actually include a kids category, it’s necessary to create one. Now is also a great time to lower some other expenses, such as entertainment, and put it all into savings. Think about the future now to be worry-free later.
Start a Baby Registry
To get a solid grasp of where saving money before the baby arrives is even possible, future parents ought to create a detailed baby registry. It’s much easier to keep track of everything they might need that way; at the very least, the registry provides them with a clear overview of the essentials and possibly even all the sales going on right now.
Also, the baby registry will become useful if one decides to have a baby shower in the end. Baby showers are where the most savings are; parents basically get everything they need entirely for free. Additionally, some websites, such as Amazon, may also give out a discount to new moms once their due date approaches. They can then use it to get everything that’s left on their list!
Return Stuff You Don’t Need
Still, even with a proper registry, parents are likely to get some duplicates of baby clothes, gear, etc. If that happens, it’s best to return the items as soon as possible to get either a refund or store credit. That way, the parents are still expense-free and can actually use the funds on stuff they genuinely need, like diapers.
Get a Free Breast Pump Through Your Insurance
Every mom out there ought to know that fed is best, whether they’re using formula or breastfeeding.
However, no one can argue against the fact that breastfeeding is more economical. Unfortunately, moms do often have to get back to work pretty fast, which prevents them from feeding their babies the natural way at all times. But that’s when insurance-covered breast pumps come in!
Under the Affordable Care Act, some brands, like Medela, offer free breast pumps to new moms through their insurance companies. All one would have to do is contact their insurer and ask about the requirements they need to fulfill. In some cases, they will get the pump before birth or pick it up right after. Also, they may have to pay for it now only to get the reimbursement later, or the insurance company will cover it right away.
In any case, having a breast pump on hand is definitely going to change the game for most moms. Apart from being able to pump milk wherever they are, they can use it to stock up on breast milk in those first few months and avoid reaching for formula!
Get a Normal, Larger Bag Instead of a Diaper Bag
Savings are often hidden in the details, which is why most parents ought to consider saving money before the baby arrives by reusing stuff they already have, such as backpacks.
At first glance, diaper bags are truly wonderful and come with many useful features, such as separate bottle pockets, USB charging ports, and insulation.
However, once the baby is off the bottle and doesn’t need that much stuff, the bag will be somewhat useless. Most of the designs are rather baby-friendly, so these bags often cannot be used as regular bags. Plus, they’re expensive for something that offers limited use!
Instead, it’s best for parents to think ahead and opt for a larger, more affordable bag now or use one they already own. Most regular backpacks could work quite well, and they’ll stay in use even after the baby grows up. Save that money for something more essential!
Research Tax Deductions
No matter how much people complain about taxes, the IRS has new moms and dads in mind and offers various tax deductions when they have a child. For example, if lactation services or the breast pump isn’t covered by the insurance company, it may be tax-deductible since the pump is defined as a medical device.
Similarly, parents can also claim other deductions. For instance, they can lower federal income taxes by up to $2,000 for a child under the age of 17. Additionally, most parents often forget about the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which deducts 35% from childcare expenses.
Call a Nurse First
Most soon-to-be moms are likely to go in for a checkup for anything out of the ordinary, as they’re afraid that something might happen to them or the baby. However, those expenses may pile up rather quickly and ruin their budget completely.
Because of that, if there’s something going on, parents ought to use the nurse hotline first. Many hospitals offer this feature to new parents who need quick medical advice and/or reassurance.
If they have to go to the hospital, the nurse will tell them to do so. If not, they’ll offer an explanation and advice on how to treat themselves at home, if a treatment is in order at all. That way, the parents may be able to save up on all those copays. After all, these do exist to deter people from seeking out unnecessary medical services.
Saving Money Before the Baby Comes
In the end, having children does cost a lot, so saving money before the baby arrives is something all parents should focus on. Luckily, with just a few DIY ideas and some common sense, they could easily save hundreds of dollars and put them toward retirement savings or a 529 plan.
All it takes is to think outside the box and reconsider stocking up beforehand or wasting money on things that won’t be useful after the baby grows up. Parents should seek out cost-effective baby stuff and not indulge in spur-of-the-moment purchases. More importantly, they ought to take advantage of the fact that most other parents are trying to get rid of baby things — and that all those family members are just waiting to throw them a huge baby shower!