Budgeting for Baby
- Babies can be expensive, but you can plan ahead to avoid some of the financial worries.
- Depending on your situation, you may or may not feel secure in health coverage or paying for certain things.
- It is okay to feel unprepared, but you are here taking the right steps for you and your family!
For being such little people, babies can cost some big bucks! Luckily, there are great resources that can help you budget whether you are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or just had a baby. It’s never too late to start sorting out costs.
One of the first things to do is to determine what is covered by your insurance, or if you are eligible for any of the health programs, what they can cover for you! Once you have an idea of what big costs may be covered by programs or insurance, you can plan for other things you may have to pay for yourself.
Considering the Costs
It is tough to know exactly how much money you are going to spend and what you are going to buy for the baby. When planning, it can be helpful to map out the categories of expenses.
While pregnant, you will have more health provider visits and medical costs. However, with Pregnancy Medicaid, costs like provider visits, medicines, labor & delivery, and hospital services are covered! You may have some non-medical pregnancy costs, like maternity clothes and prenatal vitamins. There also may be some extra purchases needed to keep you comfortable while pregnant, like pregnancy pillows or ice packs for those days that you need them.
There are a lot of options when it comes to baby supplies, but babies really only need some basic items during their first year.
- Basic One-time Expenses
- Car-seat (Infant-only or convertible)
- Nursery items (crib, changing pad, monitor)
- Bath items (tub, towels)
- Feeding items (bottles, burp clothes, nipple shields)
- Basic Monthly Expenses
- Food (if breastfeeding, you won’t have many expenses until your baby begins eating solid foods)
- Clothing (babies grow like wildflowers)
How to Prepare
With a little planning and careful thinking, you can welcome a new baby without breaking the bank!
- Research what your insurance can cover and use any programs you are eligible for. Programs like Pregnancy Medicaid and Planning for Health Babies (P4HB) provide free or low-cost services for women before, during, and after pregnancy. There are other programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) that provide education and can help cover some of the new expenses that come with a baby.
- Borrow or buy secondhand items. Babies grow so quickly, so thrift stores often have great selections of gently used baby equipment and clothes. Be sure if you are buying a used car seat that you check the expiration date and the history of the car seat. Any time you purchase secondhand baby items, make sure the items are not expired or recalled or too worn out to be safely used by your baby.
- Don’t be tricked by unnecessary stuff! It can be tempting to buy the tiny baby Nikes, and its ok to get fun things for your baby, but don’t feel like you need to buy everything you see. Besides some basic supplies, all your baby needs is a safe home and loving caregivers!
- If you haven’t already, consider writing out a monthly budget. Seeing where your money goes each month is a great way to recognize if you have extra dollars that can be spent differently. There are simple budget templates and free budget phone app
- Be sure to check safety standards for cribs, car seats, and strollers. There is no need to shop for cheaper items that could be potentially unsafe. Safe baby items are affordable and often provided at no cost through some community programs.
New babies means new expenses, but that doesn’t have to cause you overwhelming stress. Over half of expectant parents underestimate the cost of a new baby, so just being aware of and starting to prepare for the upcoming costs is a great first step! When possible, save and plan for expenses before your baby arrives, to help spread out costs.
No matter your current life situation, there are small steps you can take to financially prepare for your new baby. Even if you are not eligible for certain programs, there are many resources and charities available to help you and your family. You can also call the Georgia Family Healthline for referrals to services at 1-800-300-9003. Being aware of these options can help you feel confident as you welcome your new bundle of joy.