They’re cute, they’re cuddly, they’re . … incredibly expensive.
In 2014, CNN Money reported that it will cost about $245,000 to raise a baby born in 2013 until he or she turns 18.
That quarter of a million dollars doesn’t include the cost of the pregnancy itself, nor does it include the cost of college. The high costs of starting to your family makes budgeting during pregnancy seem even more important. Whatever your financial situation is now, there are a few adjustments you can make to help cover the additional costs of bringing a new life into the world.
Review Your Current Budget
Before you draw up a pregnancy and baby budget, it helps to take a look at your current budget. Examine what you’re earning and what you’re spending each month. It could be that you’ll need to start cutting back on certain expenses to make room in your budget for the costs of a new baby. Make a plan to eliminate the non-essentials, such as going out to eat for lunch or dinner, movie nights, and the like. Commit to paying off your debt before the baby arrives, so that you have one less thing to worry about.
Budgeting during pregnancy also means taking all the added costs of a new baby under consideration. While some costs are one time things, such as purchasing a stroller, others are recurring, such as buying diapers. Other common costs include food and formula, clothing, babysitters and daycare, and a crib. The Bump has a handy list of the typical items baby needs and how much those items can cost.
Making Sense of Insurance
How much your pregnancy actually costs depends on the type of health insurance you have. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can’t look at pregnancy as a pre-existing condition or charge you more for insurance when you are pregnant. Your insurance plan should also provide coverage for prenatal care without added cost you. But, not all healthcare plans provide full coverage for delivery or the hospital stay that comes with it. When creating your pregnancy budget, make sure you understand how much you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket for delivering the baby.
Having a baby doesn’t can also mean a reduced income, if you or your partner take time off from work. Even if you only plan on taking a few weeks off after the baby is born, it helps to have some extra money set aside to cover you during that time, unless your employer offers paid maternity leave. Determine how much income you’ll lose during maternity or paternity leave and create a plan for setting aside that amount throughout your pregnancy. It might mean setting aside an extra $100 or so a week, for example.
Getting Things for Less
If you’re concerned about the high price of getting all the things your baby needs, there are ways to do it for less money. Secondhand can be the way to go when it comes to baby clothes and other accessories. Often, if you have friends or relatives with children who are slightly older, they will be more than happy to pass along the clothing their kids have outgrown to you. If you live in a child-free world so far, thrift stores and consignment shops can help you outfit your little one without busting your budget.
A new baby will mean you need to make a number of adjustments. But, in most cases, the joy your child brings will make all your financial sacrifices worth it.
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