Baby Budget Basics
Children are priceless, but they can be expensive. Fortunately, expenses can be managed. Here are 10 tips suggested by the online bank ING Direct to balance your family budget without losing focus on the joy of your new baby.
1. Talk to experienced parents. Before you buy baby supplies or sign up on a baby gift registry, consult experienced family members and close friends about what is truly needed for your newborn versus what is “nice.” You might discover that a $400 bassinette will only last you for two months and isn’t worth the money.
2. Create a registry wish list. Two things will come out of this: You can research the best prices for items you want and provide friends and families with gift ideas.
3. Accept hand-me-downs. Borrowing, receiving, or purchasing barely used items for your baby is a money-savvy idea. If you must buy new, be conservative. Your little one will have many years of needs ahead!
4. Buy generic. Off-brand diapers, wipes, medicines, foods, and other baby essentials work just as well as the more expensive brand-named items.
5. Save money on food and formula. Research cost-effective food options for your baby. Cooking your own baby food and breastfeeding are two choices that will save you money.
6. Examine your health care plan. Know the details of the maternity coverage in your health plan. Co-pays, sonograms, and other maternity care costs can be overwhelming and expensive if not managed.
7. Utilize your flex spending account. Most companies have flexible spending or pre-taxed accounts that allow you to contribute an annual amount in pretax dollars to be used for medical and other expenses. Maximizing this option could cut your daycare expenses by as much as one-third.
8. Research day care rates. Finding a day care facility for your child is a tough task. Talk to moms in your area and visit facilities to find quality care within your budget.
9. Create a baby budget. Use online budgeting databases to help you set up a family baby budget to plan for your anticipated baby expenses.
10. Save for your baby’s future. Open up a high-yield savings account or 529 college savings plan for your little one to begin saving for his future.