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Preparing for Your First Baby? Here’s What To Plan For Financially in Year 1

| January 24, 2018
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If you are pregnant or are thinking about trying for a baby in the near future, first of all, congrats! What a super exciting time for you and your significant other! You are about to embark on a wild adventure.

Speaking from experience, it will be exhilarating, it will be full of ups and downs. At times you’ll be full of joy, full of pride. Then you’ll lose sleep and you won’t be able to think straight. You’ll get frustrated, you’ll get deflated. Then you’ll cuddle your sleeping little one and it will all be worth it. Then day 2 will come.

Secondly, good for you for reading this article. It shows you are doing whatever you can to prepare for the arrival of your little one. This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully it helps to put you on the right track for knowing what to prepare for financially and what will change in your family’s budget.

Medical Bills

By far the most expensive part of having a baby, at least initially (you know, before college and weddings happen) are the medical bills. Year 1 you can expect to shell out quite a bit in medical bills.

Costs:

Delivery costs alone average $9,700 for normal deliveries without any complications and $12,500 for a C-section. Of course, complications could add quite a bit. Then when you factor in prenatal visits, blood and urine tests, ultrasounds, postpartum care, these costs can quickly get out of hand. While your health insurance will hopefully cover a major part of this expense, a phone call to your health insurance company could definitely be in order, just so you can learn about your plan and what it covers for maternity.

While these costs vary considerable by location and according to your healthcare plan, if we are looking at what an average healthcare plan covers and how it relates to maternity costs, it is in the ballpark of $1,000 to $3,000 if everything goes smoothly. Again, this is totally dependent on your healthcare plan and location so check with your provider to be certain.

How to save:

If you don’t have insurance or if your insurance doesn’t cover maternity, you’ll want to be really proactive in your medical care. Call around to different providers, price compare, negotiate your rate ahead of time with your provider. Prenatal visits can often be paid for in a lump fee called a “stork package”. Your hospital will tell you their self-pay rate ahead of time. Often healthcare providers will offer discounts if you pay in a timely manner. Knowing these types of things ahead of time is key to be able to budget and plan for it.

Clothes / Supplies

Costs:

You can save a lot or spend a lot, depending on how you play it. Don’t be overwhelmed by what I’m about to say, but the baby things you’ll need in year 1 include (but not limited to):

  • Crib / Crib Mattress
  • Nursery decor
  • Blankets
  • Baby bath tub
  • Lotions / soaps / baby nail clippers
  • Bottles, burp cloths
  • Diaper bag
  • Baby monitor
  • Changing table
  • Bibs
  • Car seat
  • Stroller
  • Newborn clothes
  • 0-3 months clothes
  • 3-6 month clothes
  • 6-9 month clothes
  • 9-12 month clothes
  • Formula (if necessary)
  • Toys
  • Bouncer / Jumper

These are just the necessities. The conveniences you can purchase in addition are endless! For these things you are looking at well over $2,000.

How to save:

Have your friends and family throw you a baby shower! This is probably the best way to get many of these things bought for you!

Consider thrift shops or garage sales. You can find great deals on nice items for a fraction of purchasing new. Craigslist or Offer Up can also be good places to look. 

Diapers

Costs: 

Diapers get their own category. Unless you are one of the bold people who go with cloth diapers, the average baby goes through around 2,700 diapers in the first year. At 20 cents per diaper you’re looking at $550 for diaper costs in year 1. Yikes!

How to save:

Really, there aren’t a whole lot of ways to save when it comes to diapers. Purchasing off-brand or buying in bulk can save some. Including diapers in your baby registry is a good idea. Look at Costco or Amazon for savings opportunities.

Childcare

Childcare costs is something I’m sure you’ve thought of and are aware of. Once maternity and paternity leave is done, who will care for the baby? Will you or your spouse be a stay-at-home parent? Will you need childcare? For how many hours?

Costs:

Check out the national average cost of childcare. Prepare to have your mind blown if you haven’t looked into this yet.

A tip here is to, once again, have a plan. Most reputable childcare facilities are in high demand and often have a waiting list. Best to call around now and find a place you feel comfortable. Will you go to a daycare center? An at-home childcare? An in-home nanny?

How to save:

Family childcare centers seem to be least expensive. You might also see if there is a friend or family member who could watch your child at least part time. This could save you hundreds in the long run.

We hope you’ve found our list helpful. Preparing for the arrival of a new child is an exciting time. If you properly plan for it financially, it can help relieve a lot of stress in that first year, and you will be very thankful you did.

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