Having a baby is a huge life change! Just about every part of your life adjusts, including your finances, when you welcome a new life into your home. It still amazes me how such a tiny person can have such a big impact. There is a good reason why adding a baby to the family gives you an extra tax deduction. Preparing for your baby financially is just as essential as preparing physically. Here is a list of key things that you can do to prepare for your baby on a budget:
10 Money Moves to Prepare for Baby
1. Start or add to your emergency fund
Since we know that babies cost money, make sure to have an emergency fund just for your baby. Pregnancies can get complicated and kids can get hurt. It’s important to have an emergency fund to cover anything unexpected.
How much should you have in an emergency fund? According to a 2014 USDA report, you will spend about $12,000 the first year of your baby’s life. Plus, it is recommended to have enough savings to cover 6 months of income in case of a loss of income. Use those figures to determine what works best for you.
We had a small emergency fund for our first son that we kept in mutual funds that were easy to liquidate. Our first boy was healthy, and everything went as planned. Then, by the time I was hospitalized during my twin pregnancy, our whole emergency fund was spent. That twin pregnancy cost us much more twice a normal pregnancy. We are now working hard to replenish and increase our emergency fund.
2. Get life insurance
Discussing life insurance may be difficult, but I cannot think of anything more important. You want to make sure that your family is not destitute in case you or your spouse passes away. Life insurance is more than peace of mind; it is essential.
The first thing we did after we found out we were expecting our first baby was get life insurance for my husband. My biggest regret was that we didn’t get more. He was young and healthy at the time, so a term policy was so cheap. Our son’s birth triggered some mental health problems for my husband, so he later did not qualify for more at the same rate. After our twins were born two years later, he needed more coverage. While I was pregnant with our twins, I spent ten weeks on bed rest in the hospital. This was an extremely hard and stressful time for my husband as he worked and took care of our first son on his own. Through that experience, we realized that we needed life insurance for me too! We originally did not get insurance for me because I planned to stay home with the kids, and my husband was the “bread-winner” of the family. We quickly realized that we would want for him to afford help and time to mourn if I were to pass away.
I applied for life insurance through Haven Life, and the process was so simple and easy! If you don’t have a personal financial advisor, I highly recommend getting insured through Haven. You can quickly complete the application online and have an affordable policy. Start a free application with Haven Life here.
3. Figure out how much you will have to adjust your budget
- How much will you spend on diapers and clothes?
- Will you breastfeed or formula feed?
- Will you need childcare?
It’s best to figure out as many of your expenses as you can before your baby comes, but I know how unpredictable babies are! It’s okay to need to adjust your budget every once in a while. I use two free tools to track my expenses and create a budget: They are SpentApp and Personal Capital. I love how easy it is to categorize expenses with SpentApp for Android (there’s an app for iOS too). First, I just swipe right or left to track my personal and business spending habits. Then, I go to Personal Capital to create my budget, track my net worth, and make a debt pay-off plan.
4. Get your financial life and debt in order
I long to go back to the days when I didn’t have so many bills to pay and so much debt to worry about. Bills are the last thing that you want on your mind when you are adjusting to your sweet newborn in your home. We are working hard to eliminate debt. The biggest help in reducing and paying off debt has been consolidating and refinancing our debts. My favorite company for good loans in SoFi! They offer debt consolidation loans and student loan refinancing. If it’s going to take you more than a few months to pay off all of your debt, it’s a really good idea to get a personal loan to save money on interest.
5. Make extra income with side hustles
There are so many great ways for stay-at-home moms to make money from home! I have dabbled in everything from micro tasks to delivering flowers to freelance writing and design. My favorite side hustle of all is this blog. I get to make money writing about helping others make mom life easier.
Related Article: 7 Ways to Make Extra Money from Home
6. Be realistic about what your baby needs & buy secondhand
With each of my pregnancies, I have been obsessed with creating baby registries full of every single cute baby thing that I can find. It can be so tempting to buy every baby product ever created, but it’s so important not to! There are so many things that registry guides will say you need that you can get by without.
Plus, there are many items that are just as good secondhand. Accept hand-me-downs from friends and family. Shop for gently used clothing from local secondhand stores and sites like ThredUp. You can even make a bit of money by selling your clothes to them. Here’s $10 to spend at ThredUp after you sign up for a free account. You’re welcome.
Related Article: Baby on a Budget – 8 Things You Don’t Need
7. Master meal-planning and prepare freezer meals
I have always struggled with meal planning, but I’m getting better! I have two strategies that help me feed my family. The first is to prepare freezer meals ahead of time. Once a month, I get together with some friends and prepare about ten meals each. It is such a lifesaver for me to already have meals ready in the freezer. All I have to do is put one in the oven or the Instant Pot, and then I have dinner ready in 30 minutes to an hour. This strategy saves me so much time and money since we don’t have to scramble to get takeout when it’s been a hard day.
The second strategy is to focus on just dinners a few days at a time. In a given week, I’ll plan on making about three of my freezer meals and then easy recipes or leftovers for the rest of the days. Quick meals for me to prepare are tacos, homemade pizza, or chicken in the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot pressure cooker is my lifesaver, and I don’t know how to live without it anymore! It can prepare a meal in 30 or 40 minutes that would normally take 6 hours to cook in the slow cooker.
When I make this weekly dinner plan, I leave it as a list instead of assigning meals to a specific day. That way, I can be flexible and choose the night’s dinner based on what the family is in the mood for or is most likely to eat.
- 8 Freezer Meals that Make Delicious Dinners
- 15 Budget-friendly Kitchen Gadgets that Make Meal Prep Easier
8. Use Amazon Family to Save Money
Amazon Family is another resource that I can no longer live without. I get 20% off of diapers, wipes, and baby food and get them shipped to my doorstep for free. I love that I can get diapers at the lowest price every month without worrying about it. You can start a free 30 day trial of Amazon Family here and get all the advantages of being a Prime member.
9. Take advantage of freebies for moms!
One of the best parts of having a baby is that so many companies are ready to give you free stuff and baby samples! My very favorite freebies are baby registry welcome boxes because they are 100% free. I love Amazon’s Baby Registry and Target’s Baby Registry the very best. They are both easy to use, and the welcome boxes come with great stuff!
After you get your actually free things, you can get other products by just paying for shipping. First, you can get a free trial from Honest Baby with diapers, wipes, and baby bath products. Honest Company seriously makes the best products! All of their products are safe and natural, and their diapers are the best! Definitely get the free trial; then, if you know that you will love Honest Company, you can get $20 off a diapers and wipes bundle.
Next, you can get even more freebies! There is a company called Mother’s Lounge that is the parent company of many baby and mom products that you can get for free. I have a promo code just for my readers that will eliminate the full price of any of their products that you want. The downside is that they charge an outrageous amount for shipping (like $15). But, if you only pay $15 for a $60 product, that’s a pretty good deal!
Use the promo code READY4MOTHERHOOD at any of the following stores for your free stuff:
- Carseat Canopy ($50 value) carseatcanopy.com
- Nursing Pillow ($40 value) nursingpillow.com
- Udder Covers ($35 value) uddercovers.com
- Breast Pads ($35 value) breastpads.com
- Custom Pacifiers ($30 value) custompacifiers.com
- Hooded Towels ($35 value) hoodedtowels.com
- Little Wanderers ($60 value) littlewanderers.com
- Milk Bands ($35 value) milkbands.com
- Baby Leggings ($50 value) babyleggings.com
- Seven Baby Sling ($40 value) sevenbaby.com
- Babsy Books ($40 value) babsybooks.com
- Pregnancy Pillow ($50 value) pregnancypillow.com
- Ruffle Buns ($60 value) rufflebuns.com
For more details and pictures, visit 17+ Free Baby Essentials for New Moms.
10. Create a will.
Talking about a will may be another difficult subject to think about during this time of your life. Even if you don’t have many assets or belongings, think about who you would want as the guardian of your children in case both parents passed away. Do you want your children to be the sole beneficiaries of your assets and life insurance, or do you want to leave some financial assistance for the guardian? These are just a few of the things that you can think about.
Now that you’re all set financially, you can focus on the wonders of welcoming a new bundle of joy into your home. Congratulations! I’m sending lots of love to you and your family.