Becoming a parent is exciting and filled with so many new experiences, like first smiles, first words, first steps, and of course no shortage of laundry, dishes, dirty diapers and… worrying. While you may be thrilled to be welcoming a new child into your life you may also be wondering how much a baby costs per month on average. It’s a very real and worthy concern for new parents to have.
You’ve come to the right place to make a household budget planner that fits your lifestyle as a new parent, one that will help get you on the path to success. You’ll soon have more information about what to expect and how to plan so you’re prepared when your new bundle of joy arrives.
Understand the Costs and Start Saving
Knowledge is power when it comes to planning for the cost of a raising new baby. Learn more about how much money you need to get started and then begin saving. Research the average cost of baby items and create a newborn baby shopping list to help you sort through the details.
Reach out to friends and family who may have estimated costs (or used baby items they’re ready to part with!) and don’t forget to plan out how much time you’ll be taking off of work. If you’re thinking about starting a family soon, start by establishing an emergency fund with at least six months’ worth of living expenses. It’ll give you peace of mind after the baby is born.
Think Through the Various Expenses by Category
Another household budget planning piece of advice for new parents is to think through the various expenses and categorize them. The following list will give you an idea of what to consider:
- Medical costs (to give birth ranges from $4,000 – $20,000)
- Nursing and feeding expenses (formula averages $1,100 per year and breastfeeding averages $950 per year)
- Extra childcare costs (around $12,597 annually per child in Wisconsin, $14,000 annually per child in Illinois)
- Temporary loss of income (for when you take FMLA when your child is born)
- Health insurance coverage and costs
- Bigger home or car
In addition to looking at new expenses, take some time to review your current budget to see if there are areas you can cut back or be more frugal to help with the expenses of a new baby.
Hold off on Making Any Major Financial Decisions Right Away
You’re better off holding off on making any significant financial decisions right away as you think through your household budget planning approach. Having a new baby is a major life transition and it’s wise to focus on adjusting to your new budget before you start spending your money.
Consider holding onto more cash than usual the first few years until you feel comfortable with your new living situation and circumstances. Use your current vehicles and wait to purchase a bigger/different one until you really need to, etc.
Tips To Help You Plan
Take your time and plan your registry wisely as you think about your household budget planner strategy. Resist the urge to buy a lot of items while you’re pregnant and instead put them on your registry. Research opinions about which items to hold off on and focus your efforts on the necessities and must-haves.
Also, consider borrowing from a friend or relative or buying used to save money on new baby expenses. There are plenty of good, well-loved items out there if you’re willing to dig a bit deeper and not always have the latest and greatest.
Use the right financial tools such as creating a family budget worksheet and looking into various apps that are available. The sooner you start saving for your child’s future the less you’ll need to put away each month to save up for college.
Think about childcare early on in the process and begin to plan right away. Many fill up far in advance, so if you are expecting now, book a tour at a few of your top choices and reserve your spot now. You want to make sure the childcare you choose is available when you’re ready and affordable.
Stay Calm and Follow a Budget
It’s important to remain calm and commit to planning ahead and saving your money. Create a new household budget you can follow and that lays all the details out for you. You want to have a roadmap you can follow that will ensure you continue to live within your means.
You may have been winging it in the past but now that you’re having a baby, it’s time to get serious. Interested in learning more? Check out our budgeting tips for beginners and how to get started.