As I noted in a recent review of our 2011 financial goals, we’re going to have some big upcoming expenses that we need to prepare for. It’s happy news – we’re expecting our first child!
Of course, aside from the emotional, mental, and physical preparations, we’re also looking at our finances so we can be ready as possible for the baby’s arrival. We know you can never get completely ready, but it’s important to us to do our best.
For all the new parents to be out there, I wanted to get a baby list ready.
Little baby – big expenses
Who knew babies required so much? I was reviewing baby costs on Baby Center to get an idea of what to expect. It’s based on a survey of 1, 000 real mothers, whose expenses as you’ll see below can vary greatly.
While we’re planning to transform the guest room into a nursery, I was amazed at how much stuff is suggested for the baby’s room. I’d like to investigate and see the quality difference between some low, medium, and high end models since the price difference appears to be huge.
- Crib & mattress: $200-$910
- Changing table: $80-$250
- Bouncer: $30-$70
- Playpen: $25-$80
Baby showers are, of course, a great way to check of some of the items on your list, save you money, and give your friends and family a chance to help you out with some practical gifts.
Many blogs and sites emphasize that you don’t want to go overboard and shop for a bunch of baby clothes. Children grow rapidly, and small baby clothes won’t be worn long.
The site suggests that $59/month is normal for mothers to spend. We’re going to play this one by ear. While having new clothes can be nice, we have no problem using good hand me downs. I don’t think the baby will notice, do you?
Looking to go broke? From what I’ve been reading, diapers can be a big expense, though you can make it more manageable with a bit of elbow grease. It depends on whether you choose disposable or cloth diapers. If you’re going with cloth diapers, you have to decide if you’re going to launder them yourself or sign up for a service.
- Disposable diapers: $72/month ($864/year)
- Cloth diapers: $19/month ($228/year)
- Cloth diapers & service – $76/month ($912/year)
We haven’t made a decision yet on what we’re going to do. I’d love to get your feedback on what you’ve decided and how it worked out.
Traveling and living with the baby takes effort and some gear.
- Car seat: $60-$150
- Diaper bag: $25 -$200
- Sling: $29-$60
- Stroller: $70-$900
- Infant Bathtub: $20-$40
Food and feeding gear
This is another huge expense if you’re going the formula route. Breastfeeding does have some upfront costs, but month-to-month you can save a significant amount of money.
- Bottles: $60
- Formula: $105/month
- Manual breast pump: $30
- Electric breast pump: $150-$350
- Nursing bras: $75
- Highchair: $60-$250
- Plates, utensils, and bibs: $45
Besides the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding, many people and books have pointed out the economic benefits.
Money for hospital bills?
A big bill that we’re looking at is the delivery. While it’s few months away, it’s going to be a significant chunk of money. Early estimates for our insurance coverage would put it around $800-$1, 000.
Since things can vary a lot based on where you are, you should consider asking friends who have recently have had babies to get an idea of their out-of-pocket expenses at your local hospital, a birthing center, or at home.
Common mistakes parents can make
We’ve had a lot of conversations with family and friends to get their much-needed advice. They’ve been kind enough to reflect and share their thoughts, and their feedback has been invaluable to us.
- Don’t get obsessed with new stuff. It’s very tempting to assume that your baby needs the latest and greatest gear that you see on TV and the web.
- Babies don’t need big rooms. We’re in a 3 bedroom townhouse and for the nursery, we allocated the current guest room. It’s the smallest of the three bedrooms, but we’re confident it’ll be more than sufficient for the baby.
- Babies don’t need a ton of toys. Well meaning friends and family have a tendency to flood your new baby with toys, so don’t stress yourself by getting more toys.
I have a feeling we’ll be asking many more questions in the future.
Your thoughts on baby expenses
I know I haven’t even come close to covering all of the possible expenses – childcare for example – but I wanted to hit some of the early expenses that we’ve considered.
Do you have kids? If so, what did you do to prepare (financially) for their arrival? Do you have any tips and tricks to share?