Did you just get the wonderful news? You’re pregnant?? Congratulations!! I can vividly remember the moments we found out we were expecting our first, second, and third children because they were all life-altering events. Having a baby is a huge commitment mentally, physically, and, especially, financially.
© Oksana Kuzmina – stock.adobe.com
While I do not believe that having a child costs an arm and a leg, it does require some money. And if you want to go from two incomes to one, it’s imperative you start planning for those costs as soon as possible. You will have so much peace of mind if you can save all the money for the first year and not have to worry about spending any of the money you earn during your child’s first year on any of that stuff. If you’re a planner, you’re going to love doing it this way.
I remember going out with my friends one evening when I was pregnant with my first child. One of my friends asked me, “So are you guys able to save a lot of money for when your baby comes?” I answered yes, but I knew, deep down, that we weren’t saving as much as we probably could be. Sure, we saved more than $5,000 by the time she got here, but I know we probably could have doubled that amount or more. We got through her first year just fine, but it would have been nice to have a little padding, ya know?
The Baby Budget
Before we jump into how you’ll build up enough savings, let’s discuss the baby budget. How much do you need to save for your baby in the first place? It’s a very good question, but one that I cannot answer for you. This is going to be very specific to your own circumstances.
I’ll go ahead and list most of the expenses you’ll run into in your baby’s first year.
- Life insurance for you (in the event that you or your spouse died, your child would be protected)
- Hospital bills
- Health insurance on child (there may or may not be an increase, depending on your plan)
- Nursery items (crib, sheets, rug, rocking chair, decorative elements, picture frames, etc.)
- Diapers & wipes
- Breastfeeding items and/or formula and bottles
- Clothes (you will likely get plenty of clothes from your baby shower, if you have one)
- Baby food and feeding items
- Books for baby and books for you (on parenting, perhaps)
- Baby tub and other bath items (towels, toys, soap, etc.)
- Car seat (and possibly a bigger vehicle if you don’t already have one)
- Swing, bouncer, toys, etc.
- Baby monitor
- Child care
- Any baby and mom/dad classes
Go through this list and decide what you will likely need for your child’s first year, and then estimate how much all of these items will cost. The total of everything will be your budget for the first year.
Next, set a goal that states when you’ll have all the money saved for your baby’s first year fund. Make sure you calculate how much you will need to save each month in order to reach that goal.
For example, if you calculate that everything for your baby’s first year will cost $13,600, and you want it saved by May (the month your baby is due), divide that cost by how many months are left until that time. Right now it’s October, so you have about 8 months to save that money. You will need to save $1,700 a month to get there. While that’s just an example, it may not be too far-fetched depending on where you live, the amount of stuff you want for your child, and more.
Now that you have a rough budget and a specific financial goal with a date (most likely around your due date), how are you going to save that much money? It’s possible, even on a very low income, so read on!
5 Brilliant Ways to Save Up Money for a New Baby
Ready to start setting money aside for your new tiny family member? Do all 5 of the following methods or choose one or two at first, but you should be able to reach your goal from above if you are diligent and serious about it. With all of these ideas you need to transfer the money you save into a savings account, almost immediately. Never leave the money in your checking account or you will use it.
And…the money you save will only be good if you actually keep it in your baby savings account. If this could be a struggle for you, I suggest “out of sight, out of mind.” In other words, open a savings account separately from your bank or credit union and never look at it. I personally use Capital One 360 online (referral link) and have now for over a year. It’s easy to use and the interest rate is a whole lot better than my credit union’s rate!
Save Half of Your Income
If you and your spouse are both working, I’d say that you could probably pull off this one…easily. If you are like we were before we had our first child, you’ll say that there is not much wiggle room. But, if I could go back to my younger self, I would slap her silly and say that we could absolutely make more room in our budget to save more money.
I’m certain we could have saved half of our combined income each month, especially now that we’ve lived on less than half of just one of our incomes for nearly two years now.
To be successful at saving half your income, make sure you set up direct deposit with your employer. It makes the most sense to save the money before you use it on your expenses, or there may be nothing left for you to save. You could always save half of your income and half of your spouse’s so it doesn’t feel like one of you is working for nothing, but just do it!
Put Away Any Money Saved by Shopping Sales or Using Coupons
Do you have a knack for saving money on the stuff you buy? If you use coupons or shop sales often, consider saving the money that you save on your purchases for your baby’s first year.
As an example, pretend you bought some clothes and the total came to $38.50. The full price of all those clothes, however, was actually $156. Put the difference, or $117.50, into your baby fund as soon as you get home.
Do this for smaller purchases, like groceries, as well as large purchases, like couches. You could save a lot this way!
Earn Money on the Side
If this is your first baby, you probably have some extra time to earn a little cash on the side. I know, I know. I used to think the same thing: But there is no extra time! Actually, I’m certain that you can find extra time without kids, because I have 3 kids and I can almost always find time to work on this here blog. If it’s important to you, you’ll find the time!
It’s not necessary to go job-hunting to earn extra cash. If your goal is to earn just $100 extra a month, you can easily do that by filling out surveys. I used to take one survey every two weeks, and each survey took me about 15 minutes. When I went to cash out from all my surveys, my average amount earned per survey was $3. That’s $12 an hour! So don’t discount surveys.
You can earn extra money so many other ways these days, it’s not even funny. Try starting a small shop on Etsy, a dog-walking business, or even tutoring. The possibilities are truly limitless!
© Konstantin Yuganov – stock.adobe.com
Cut Back on Expenses and Save the Difference
Listen up, this might be the easiest way to save money for your precious babe: cut way back on the luxuries. Cable, fancy phones, expensive date nights, cute purses and shoes, etc. These things can all be nixed from the budget and the money that you don’t spend on them could go straight to that baby fund. Obviously, don’t try to sacrifice too much in the name of the baby fund because then you might resent having a baby in the first place. And that would be no good! But try to keep only the expenses that you truly believe make your life better.
The best way to actually save the difference is to put the money into your savings at the beginning of the month, if at all possible. You might figure that after many of your luxuries are cut out that you can save an extra $500 a month, so make sure you automatically deposit that amount into your savings at the beginning of the month, or right after you get paid. Otherwise, that money will get eaten up by some other expense if it just sits in your checking account.
Here are just some ideas to get you started on this way of saving:
- Get rid of your gym memberships and start working out outside or in the comfort of your own home. Get a workout DVD or search for workouts on YouTube.
- If you live really close to work, consider riding your bike instead of driving. Or if you have public transportation that passes by work, take that instead. The year before my oldest daughter was born, I got a free public transportation pass from my work and used it nearly daily. The only times I drove into work were when I woke up late!
- Pack your lunches
- Every other date night, make it a free one
- Start using VidAngel (referral link) to watch movies
Make It a Fun Challenge
The final way to save some cash for your baby’s first year is to make a fun challenge out of it. For example, you could dub a certain word, like “baby”, as the savings word. Each time one of you says “baby” you have to put $5 into a savings jar. At the end of each month, put all the money in the jar into the baby fund account. You could make the stakes even higher to reach your goal faster, too. I’m certain you can come up with your own challenge and make it lots of fun!
Once you pick one (or a few) of these money-saving methods, be sure to track your progress. You will get there much faster if you have your goal clearly written somewhere, preferably in life-size text, that also shows you how much you’ve saved. It will be incredibly motivating!
You’re going to get this savings thing down, mama! (or daddy!) You’ll be so glad when you don’t have to worry about spending your current income on diapers!
How will you save for your baby’s first year?
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