Guest piece by Emily Graham from MightyMoms.net
Receiving the news that you’re going to have a baby is a moment you will likely never forget. For many mothers and fathers alike, it’s both exhilarating and sobering. After all, having a baby will completely change your life in pretty much every way — including your budget. And the costs won’t wait until the baby is born; being pregnant costs money, too.
Fortunately, you can prepare for your baby and mitigate the financial changes coming your way. Freshly Brewed Mama is dedicated to providing information that will help you prosper in life’s various circumstances. To that end, here are five simple money-saving tips for your pregnancy prep:
- Avoid overspending — especially on your mortgage
With a little one on the way, the last thing you want to do is overcommit your finances. If you’re considering homeownership for the first time, or looking for a bigger place to raise your kids, it’s critical to choose wisely. That means leaving some wiggle room in your budget.
You might have heard it said that you should buy as much house as you can possibly afford, but in reality, that can lead to trouble if you have an unforeseen expense or two. Broken appliances, car repairs, leaky faucets and so forth happen in life, and sometimes it seems they happen all at once. If you’re stretched too tight when those hiccups come along, a molehill can quickly become an insurmountable financial mountain.
Also keep in mind that, as Whitesell Financial Group points out, a property purchase has some hidden costs, like the earnest money, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and appraisal fee, and you’ll need to determine your down payment amount on top of everything else. Compare your income to your projected expenses to come up with a reasonable home buying figure. Stick to a practical budget for your financial comfort so that you have enough funds for other financial goals, like saving for your youngster’s education and your own retirement.
- Create a thorough baby shower registry
If you’re fortunate enough to have a baby shower (or two), you must take full advantage of such a phenomenon. Think about every single item you will need for your baby, from clothes and diapers to strollers and cribs. Most importantly — don’t hold back. Put all the big-ticket items you think you’ll need on your registry because you may be surprised by how much people want to help set you up for a baby.
Also think about how single items could set you up not only for your baby’s infancy, but also for early childhood. Selecting a crib that converts into your baby’s first bed is a smart dollar-stretcher, and there are changing tables that can become dressers or desks. Think in terms of getting the most not only out of your own dollars right now, but also from those who are interested in supporting you through their gifts.
- Borrow everything you can
Once you’ve had your baby shower, it’s time to see what kind of items you can borrow from people you know. And don’t stop with borrowing items directly from your family and friends; ask them to contact people who have a car seat, bouncer, or other items they no longer need or can loan. Especially during the earliest stages of your baby’s life, there are some things (like bottles, nipples, and onesies) that you will only use for a short period of time; for those items, borrowing is often the most budget-friendly course of action.
- Sign up for loyalty programs
When you start buying diapers and other supplies, you’ll notice that some brands offer loyalty programs. Take advantage of these. For instance, if you try a certain diaper brand (The Penny Hoarder suggests Huggies) and you like them, stick with that brand for the long haul. You can often earn points and rewards to use on toys, gift cards, wipes, or more diapers.
- Use an FSA or HSA for doctor visits
The expenses don’t stop at clothes and supplies. There are also doctor visits — and a lot of them. For most of your pregnancy, you’ll be going at least once a month, and you’ll go every week in the later stages. Using a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) are two options for saving money on these visits, because each of them involves paying with tax-free dollars. If you have a low or no-deductible health plan through your employer, you can allocate up to $2,750 (as of 2021) to your FSA. If you have a high-deductible plan, you can use an HSA and contribute as much as $3,550 as an individual or $7,100 as a family (2020).
Pregnancy and post-pregnancy doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If you’re looking at homeownership for the first time or upsizing with an eye towards your family’s future, stay within a comfortable budget. Instead of stretching too much of your own funds, build an ambitious baby shower registry. Borrow whatever items you can — especially things that you will only use for a short amount of time — and take advantage of loyalty programs for diapers and other supplies. Finally, look into using tax-free dollars for your doctor visits through a FSA or HSA. Every little bit helps, so budget and plan now so you can enjoy your baby’s arrival.
Emily Graham is the creator of MightyMoms.net which offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms — from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life.