During a recent baby boom at my workplace, I thought about how first time mothers adjusted to a new baby. The nine months of preparation make you very conscious of the fact that it’s not about you anymore. Instead of budgeting solely for yourself, you have to start short-term budgeting for a baby. My plan, when that time comes is to stick to the basics and not go overboard. (PS. I’ve been told that many have said that and many have failed.)
Short-Term Budgeting for a Baby
There are many things to consider when you are preparing for a baby. In addition to the pre-natal doctor’s visits and taking care of yourself, there are other factors to consider. Some of the financial costs of having a baby that you have to account for include:
- Baby’s birth
- Baby food
- Furniture and bedding
- Baby toiletries
- Baby gear
This can be expensive, but if you have health insurance, most of your costs might be covered by the insurance company. In Barbados, you can have your baby at a reasonable fee, if you go the public route. However, a work colleague explained that if you go the private route, you pay for everything – delivery room, recovery room, the delivering doctor, anesthesiologist, nurses and medication.
Formula and baby food are must-haves if breastfeeding is not an option. Formula alone is not cheap and you have to prepare for this cost.
Maternity wear for mum and clothing for the baby are also on the list. I’ve always heard that you should buy the baby’s clothes a bit big because the baby grows rather quickly and you would not have to constantly buy new clothes at each new growth stage.
Furniture and Bedding
The baby’s crib, playpen, mattress and changing table are some of the first things that people buy when expecting a baby. These items should last your baby until he/she reaches the toddler stage. And if you plan on having more children, you can store them away until they are needed again.
Diapers, wipes, baby powder, baby oil, wash cloths, towels, changing mats are things that you will be using on a daily babsis. If you’re going the route of disposable diapers then you should be prepared. I’ve heard the stories about how the cost of diapers can add up. Baby bottles, warmers, bibs, a diaper bag and a bath tub are one-time expenses and also last for several years.
A car seat, stroller and baby carrier are also necessity for ease of mobility with your baby. But if you choose the right type of baby gear from the beginning, it should last you for many years.
I’ve merely touched on a few items that should be on your mind when budgeting for a baby. There are also medical costs which will continue for many years to come. But during the first few months of your baby’s life, there will be follow-up doctor visits, check-ups and shots. Another cost that should not be overlooked is child care. When you go back to work, and there is no one to take care of the baby, you will have to send your child to a nursery.
By creating a budget for your baby before your bundle of joy arrives can save you some shock. You will have a good idea of what to expect. Following the short-term budgeting, you can engage in long-term budgeting which also includes medical costs, education, and extra-curricular activities, to name a few.