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Budgeting for Baby

You may have heard people say that if you waited to have a baby until you could afford it, you'd never have children at all. While there is truth to this statement, there is also something to be said for being fiscally responsible in planning for your children. A new baby doesn't have to break the bank. The first step to success is knowing what expenses to expect. Then, a little planning can mean the difference between an anxious mom and a confident one.

Pregnancy Expenses

During pregnancy you will want some extra money for a variety of needs. Childbirth classes are one expense, and class fees vary widely depending on the class and its location. The fees for your doula may be covered by your insurance, but if not, you'll have that cost to consider.

Question

Can you borrow baby furniture and car seats?
Yes. You can use borrowed or previously owned baby equipment to save money. Just be sure to ascertain that the equipment meets the most current safety guidelines, doesn't include lead paint, and hasn't been involved in a previous accident.

In addition to paying the medical professionals for their services, you'll also have to buy a few basics during pregnancy. One of these is maternity clothes. This can get expensive, as your shape and size will change fairly rapidly after the first trimester. However, a good way to save money is to buy secondhand maternity clothes, borrow maternity clothes from friends, or even make them yourself. An occasional pregnancy massage might also be on your list of expenses. Keep these things in mind as you're saving up.

Unfortunately, you can't put your wallet away yet. There are several costs associated with the birth itself. A normal, uncomplicated vaginal birth costs about $5,000, including prenatal care. If you require anesthesia, such as an epidural, that will add another $1,200, and a cesarean costs about $3,000 extra. This total doesn't even include an additional nursery stay for your baby. However, there are a few ways to save money here. If you are low risk, a less expensive option for birth may be to use a midwife or birth center instead of a hospital. These options tend to report higher patient satisfaction rates than hospitals do, in addition to being more cost effective.

Saving Up

If you plan to take a significant duration of unpaid leave from work, it's wise to accrue some savings to be used while you do not have income. Try to figure out your minimum budget. Decide how long you will be out of work and how much you will need to cover that time, then budget in that amount for the months remaining in your pregnancy. Remember to add about 10 percent extra for emergencies or an early birth. It's great if you have a paid leave, but setting aside some money for this time will create a nice cushion in either case.

If you will be leaving work for good, or if you'll be returning to work while your husband stays at home, it's a great idea to use those final months of income to build a nest egg. If you are able to bank vacation or sick days, do this too. Spend your final months in the working world thinking about how you can adapt to life on a single income. Talk to others who've done it, and heed their advice. Preparing for being a stay-at-home parent while you still have the extra income can help pad the pitfalls.

More on: Family Finances

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From The Everything Mother's First Year Book Copyright © 2005, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

To order this book go to Amazon.


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