I know you will enjoy this guest post from Emily Graham of Mighty Moms!
Growing your family is one of the most exciting journeys you’ll ever make. Of course, preparing for the arrival of a new baby involves numerous decisions, like what to include in your diaper bag, whether you’ll breastfeed or use formula, and where to deliver.
Pregnancy and parenting also bring many new expenses. As every parent already knows, babies aren’t cheap. The average cost of a baby during the first year alone is an estimated $12,000 to more than $17,000. According to David Weliver of Money Under 30, far too many parents make the common mistake of “[having] a baby first and [asking] questions about the cost later.” By being budget-conscious when preparing for your pregnancy, you’ll be less strapped for cash when the baby arrives.
Here are some ways to prep without breaking the bank:
Diaper Bag Essentials
One of the most crucial tools to have on hand is a diaper bag. As your baby grows, your diaper bag contents may vary. Aside from the most important and obvious (diapers, of course!), here are some standard essentials you don’t want to forget to include in your diaper bag checklist:
A wet bag. Not all first-time parents are familiar with the concept of a wet bag. Your wet bag can be as simple as a small, waterproof bag with a zipper. You can use wet bags to store everything from disposable or cloth diapers to soiled clothing. They make meltdowns, messes, and dreaded diaper blowouts a little more tolerable.
Parental must-haves. Who says every item in your diaper bag has to be for your baby? As a parent, you’ll never know when you might need some hand sanitizer or a hair tie. Extra T-shirts for yourself and your baby can save the day in case of unexpected spills or accidents. Meanwhile, bobby pins and clips let nursing mothers pull hair out of the way or quickly find pacifiers without having to search.
Many parents are tempted to wait until the baby arrives before packing a diaper bag. However, you’ll have enough on your plate when the baby gets here. Instead, plan ahead while you’re still expecting. Start looking for deals on these items, including searching for coupons online to help save some extra money.
One of the most fun aspects of preparing for your new baby is planning how you’ll decorate the nursery. If you’re on a budget or have a small home, you might consider sharing your bedroom with the nursery, rather than devoting it to an entire room.
You don’t have to splurge on the furniture. Forego the changing table and secure a changing pad to the top of your dresser instead. You can also buy furniture at IKEA, where you’ll find plenty of inexpensive but safe options.
Other Ways to Prepare
Having a baby is one of the most monumental and life-changing decisions you’ll ever make. It’s also a considerable expense that requires some financial planning in advance. Because you have several months before your newborn arrives, start preparing now. The sooner you start saving money and making affordable purchases, the more relaxed and less stressed you’ll feel.
According to Parenting.com, resist the urge to “shell out” large sums of money on items you could find at a consignment store, such as a crib, or clothing your child will quickly outgrow. By remaining budget-conscious rather than purchasing the most expensive, top-of-the-line items, you can use the money you saved for any unexpected doctors’ visits, college funds, or other expenses that might pop up while raising your new child.
Look for ways to save on non-baby expenses as well. You can ditch cable and look to streaming services like Hulu and Netflix. Prepare meals ahead of time to avoid unhealthy and pricey takeout options for dinner. Utilize free yoga videos on YouTube and start an at-home yoga practice. You can even save on full-coverage auto insurance if you haven’t received any traffic tickets, currently insure two cars under the same policy, or don’t drive more than 12,000 miles annually.
As you prepare, take time to pause and enjoy the little moments. Your baby will grow up quicker than you could ever imagine. Although parenting is tough sometimes, you’ll be grateful that you cherished each day while your child is still growing.