All you seasoned parents know that babies are quite expensive. Adding a new member to the family means additional furniture, food, clothes, and insurance costs (and a whole lot more!). But what we often fail to compute is the cost of little extras that come about simply because we’re stressed, ill-prepared, or in a rush.
Here are a few tips for new parents looking to bring home a baby without breaking the budget.
6 Tips for Saving Money with a New Baby
1. Pack ahead for your stay.
It all starts at the hospital. Those little bottles of mouthwash and shampoo provided by the hospital cost a small fortune. Even a Tylenol can cost over $8! Prepare ahead and over-pack; you can always lug it home if you don’t need it. Include toiletries, over the counter medications, prescriptions, and comfort items like soft blankets, slippers, and decent coffee or tea.
2. And pack ahead for dad, too!
The hospital costs don’t stop with mom’s bill. Dads can also run up quite a tab while hanging out and waiting. Trips to the snack machine, cup after cup of coffee, and pay-phone calls to friends and family (if your hospital still doesn’t allow cell phones) all add up over two to three days. Plan ahead by packing a Daddy-To-Be bag filled with snacks, reading material, drinks, and a prepaid calling card.
3. Don’t buy diapers ahead of time.
Instead of stocking up on diapers before the baby arrives, plan on making a trip to the store soon after the delivery. You may need premium diapers, or in the case of a 10+ pound arrival, you may skip the newborn size all together. Dad, grandma, or a trusted friend can run to the store for the proper size to avoid wasting diapers. (If you plan to use cloth diapers, this is mostly a moot point.)
4. Research the cost of photos before your due date.
While those adorable newborn pictures taken by the hospital are tempting, you can often get higher quality pictures at a local studio for less. Family and friends can snap informal shots of the new arrival to document the event, and you can schedule an all-out family photo shoot as soon as you’re comfortable taking your little bundle out in public.
5. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
If your doctor orders a test or procedure that you aren’t sure your insurance company will cover, ask your doctor about your options. Sometimes, if they’re not absolutely necessary, routine procedures can be eliminated to save money.
6. Talk to other parents for real-life advice on how to save money when bringing home a new baby.
You may be surprised to find that many of the things you thought you need are a waste of money. On the other hand, you may also find great tips that could save you a bundle.
While sticking to a budget is important for families, don’t forget to splurge a little by purchasing something special to help capture the memories of your special day. A new camera, a bouquet of flowers, a handmade blanket, or even a few minutes of alone time for the family can make a world of difference in how your new baby’s arrival is received and remembered.
What tips do you have for bringing home baby without breaking the budget?
Btw, there's a pretty nifty tool that motivates your kids to do chores. It's called MyJobChart.com. With a free account, they can earn points for finishing jobs you assign them, good towards free merchandise. Give it a try. It's completely free!