If you’ve been following my posts on Money Crashers, I revealed a couple of months ago that my wife and I are expecting our first baby! We’re really excited, but just like all new parents, the fear of the “unknown” is always there. Will I be a good parent? Will our baby be really fussy? Will the day-to-day parenting stuff come naturally once he arrives? Was it the right financial time to have a baby? The last question wasn’t too big of an issue for us. We’ve been trying for our first for a long time now, so we’ve been putting away a “baby fund” for a while now to cover both the expected and unexpected baby expenses.
There’s always a lot of talk about how much extra money it costs to bring a new life into the world and the hundreds of things you’ll be buying and receiving as gifts, but I want to focus on the five major expenses that you might want to start saving for now if you and your spouse have begun the journey of trying to conceive a child:
1. Health Insurance Costs – $1,000 to $2,500
The amount is arbitrary, because it can vary a lot depending on your particular health insurance plan. But, you can be sure that there will at least be the individual co-pays for each of the many doctor’s visits and the lump sum co-pay for the two days that you’ll be in the hospital during the birth. Some of you will pay more than this because you have a deductible to meet or you might have co-insurance which typically charges 20% of the cost of the hospital stay and doctor’s fees.
2. Baby Furniture – $500 to $1,500
This number can obviously fluctuate quite a bit as well depending on where you buy your baby furniture. Some people don’t want to buy used baby furniture for fear of safety issues; however, I was recently at a nice baby consignment shop that had great looking cribs, dressers, and rocking chairs that looked barely used.
We purchased a new Baby’s Dream crib since the crib is convertible to a toddler bed and a full-size bed, so we hope that we can at least get 5 to 8 years of good life out of it. This is a very big expense you need to consider, because it’s also typically not something that people will give you as a baby shower gift. But if you want new furniture and you don’t have enough money to pay for it, consider using a financing plan to pay for the furniture, and then make it an option for baby shower guests to put money towards the purchase of your baby furniture. This way, they’re contributing towards a baby shower present that parents will actually use.
3. The Stroller – $150 to $900
The prices of strollers have gotten a little ridiculous lately with the invention of high-end strollers like the Bugaboo, which retails anywhere from $600 to $900. However, after testing quite a few different types of strollers in the past few weeks and getting thoroughly frustrated by how hard they are to open, close, and customize, I can understand why many people are dropping some serious coin on higher end strollers. Still, I think $800 for a stroller isn’t necessary unless you plan on having multiple kids and using it for more than 2 or 3 years, but even so, a decent, durable stroller will only cost $200 to $350 new. Like with cribs, strollers are something that you can find at HUGE discounts at garage sales and consignment shops. But, at the same time, strollers are probably used and abused more than any other baby products, so it’s hard to find a good, used one for a newborn.
4. Breast Pump – $200 to $400
It’s become very popular again for women to breast feed, and why not, it’s FREE food for the baby! But, the initial investment is nowhere near free, and the cost is usually more than most people are willing to spend at a baby shower, unless some people buy a breast pump as a joint gift. The Medella hands-free pump we registered for is $379, and that still doesn’t include all of the other accessories we’ll need, which we hope to get from our two baby showers.
5. Room Decoration – $200 to $500
You can get creative with this, and the craftier you are, the more pennies you can pinch in this area. But when it’s your first child, frugality tends to take a backseat when it comes to making your new baby’s room look perfect. When you add up new paint, bedding, drapery, wall hangings, rugs, accessories, and lamps, the cost will quickly add up. If you have a close family member that’s good with a sewing machine, take advantage of them, because when you say “baby,” they’re usually more than willing to crank out some great stuff. My mother and her pastor’s wife are going to make all of our bedding and drapery. Blankets, pillows, and stuffed animal accessories are also good things to ask around to see if friends or family can make them.
Parents and soon-to-be-parents, what am I missing here? Remember, the purpose of this list is not to detail the ONGOING baby expenses like diapers, baby care products, and clothing. Rather, the goal of the list is to help parents-to-be know exactly what major expenses they can expect upfront. I also recommend having two baby showers, because that will cut out the need to buy much of your initial “smaller” items like clothing, baby care products, and other accessories.
Don’t worry, even though it sounds like a lot of money, you’ve got 9 months. Remember, as soon as you start trying to have a baby, you need to start putting money aside for all of the initial expenses. Being a little more prepared financially will free up your thoughts for sharpening your new parenting skills!
(photo credit: almoko)