July 30, 2019

Budget-Friendly Baby Prep

Posted in: Debt-Free Living, Story of Us

There’s really no way to fully prepare yourself and your family for a new baby – especially financially.  Babies can be expensive!  Part of the reason we waited 5 years to have kids is because we wanted to be debt-free to make it a little easier to prepare financially for a baby.  I can’t speak to budgeting after the baby arrives yet, but I can tell you what we have done to prepare financially for our little one’s arrival.

Baby Fund

The moment we found out we were pregnant, we looked at our budget to see how much we could allocate toward a baby fund.  All of my income is disposable income, so really it was just figuring out which sinking funds would get less each month in order to create a baby fund.  Once we figured out the amount, I set up my bank account to automatically transfer said amount to our baby fund savings account every pay check.

We weren’t sure what baby-related expenses we would have at the time, but we wanted to have money set aside just in case.  Weston was worried that we would have tons of medical expenses.  Thankfully, we have not had to pay for one doctor’s appointment to date because insurance has covered everything.  We are still unsure about medical expenses for the actual birth, so we are trying not to use the baby fund for anything that’s unnecessary.  Any money that is left in the baby fund after Baby Mason arrives and hospital bills are paid will be used to start her 529 Plan.

Maternity Clothes

One expense that I didn’t even consider was maternity clothes.  It didn’t cross my mind that I would need new clothes until I actually needed them.  It was also not something I wanted to use the baby fund money on.  I decided that I would just buy a few things here and there with my “spending money” that I give myself from each paycheck.  I really lucked out with maternity clothes though because two of my close friends had babies last year and they let me borrow some of theirs.  Most of my regular clothes still fit even at 8 months pregnant, so I continue to wear those.  I mainly needed maternity pants to accommodate my growing belly.  Ideally, you would get a few pairs of maternity pants and shorts to rotate throughout your pregnancy.  No need to go crazy and buy an entire wardrobe!

So far, I have only purchased clothes for special occasions such as our pregnancy announcement, gender reveal party, maternity session, and baby showers.  Each dress cost around $20-$30 from Amazon, except for one that I bought on clearance at Target for $10!  I did not want to spend a ton of money on clothes that I may only wear once.  I have actually worn each dress a few times after each event (with the exception of my maternity session dress).  The best part is that each dress can be worn after pregnancy, so I will most likely wear them again.  Set a budget for how much you are willing and able to spend on maternity clothes each month and don’t exceed that budget.

Gender Reveal Party

Some people choose to do a gender reveal party and some choose to make a simple announcement on social media.  Decide what is the best fit for your family and own it!  Weston and I have always dreamed of doing our own gender reveal party, so we said we were not going to spend more than X dollars on the party.  We quickly found out that amount was not realistic because the confetti cannons ate up half of that budget.  We doubled our budget and carefully watched what we were spending.  Our total amount spent was actually under our budget!

For your gender reveal party, my recommendation is to keep it simple.  Decide how you want to do the reveal and don’t buy any useless decorations.  Our centerpieces literally cost $2.25 each.  They were super cute and definitely didn’t break the bank!  The only other decorations we had were balloons (about $10.00) and a tabletop chalkboard sign (also about $10.00).  Less is more.  The only thing people actually care about at a gender reveal party is food and finding out the gender.

Nursery

Weston and I are probably one of the few couples that didn’t immediately start buying baby stuff when we found out we were pregnant.  I’m not sure if it was because we didn’t know the gender, we were clueless about what we needed, or we just didn’t want to spend money.  Maybe it was a combination of all three.  We didn’t make our first purchase until I was 27 weeks pregnant and we bought our baby a book (see it on Instagram here).

Now that we are actually decorating the nursery, you may be surprised that I am not going overboard.  We chose a flamingo theme (Weston’s idea!) after we found out we were having a girl.  However, I use the word theme very loosely here.  I wanted minimal clutter and minimal decorations.  Most of the decorations we have in the nursery were either made by me, purchased at a discount, or gifted to us (Nursery blog coming soon!).  I also didn’t want to invest in a ton of flamingo items.  Like I said before, less is more.

You need to decide in advance what your budget is for your nursery.  Our budget for everything in the nursery INCLUDING all the furniture is less than some people spend on just the crib or just the bedding!  You can find nice decorations and furniture without spending a fortune.  The only furniture we aren’t buying new is the bookshelf because we already had it in the guest bedroom.  We painted it to match the nursery and it looks brand new!

Contentment

I think the biggest struggle being pregnant is being content with what you have.  There is so much pressure from family, friends, and even strangers to do and buy certain things.  I can’t tell you how many people have tried to get me to buy clothes from them.  Some were even moments after we announced the gender!  It’s so exciting to welcome a new baby into your lives.  I have been tempted to buy ALL the things.  Many pregnant mamas have given in and purchased way too many baby clothes.  Babies grow so quickly and you have no idea how big they will be when they arrive.  If you learn to be content with what you have, it becomes easier to tell people no or that you are waiting until the baby is born to get such and such.

Social media also breeds discontentment because you see what other people have and want it for yourself.  We’re debt-free and this is our first baby.  We could have easily spent thousands of dollars on decorating an Instagram-worthy nursery.  What good would that do?  It might make us feel good temporarily, but ultimately it doesn’t matter.  All that matters right now is a happy and healthy baby.

Do you have anything to add to the list?  What did you do to prepare financially for your baby?

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