5 easy steps toward saving money as a new parent

If you're a new or soon-to-be mom or planning to grow your family, you've probably thought about the expenses involved with having a baby.

If you haven't looked into it yet, hospitals can charge a vaginal birth anywhere between $3,200 and $34,000, while a cesarean birth can range anywhere from $4,000 and $70,000 depending on insurance and facility costs. Plus, the average yearly cost of $12,500 for your child between medical care and the material goods needed, such as diapers and clothing. Little ones are bundles of joy, but growing a family can be expensive.

Many new parents wonder: How can I care for my newborn on a realistic budget?

It's crucial to find ways to eliminate or reduce expenses so you can afford your new bundle of joy. Here are five ways to get your finances in order and help you save more money.

1. Create a personal budget

First, you must have a general personal or household budget, to begin with. Whether you use a pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or an app, monthly expenses and income will help you know exactly where your money is going. By doing so, you can identify the spending areas in which you can save.

If you tend to buy too much food and throw a lot of it away, you'll be more aware of it as you track your spending. If your partner has a tendency to buy the latest tech as soon as it comes out, consider waiting to do so.

Your budget will allow you to become more aware of whether you shop frivolously and how you can either keep the habit without spending as much or adjust your spending habits.

2. Reduce monthly expenses

Once your budget has been completed, try to reduce your monthly expenses. You can save on utilities and entertainment fairly easily—— every dollar you save is another buck you can put towards baby expenses.

For example, take shorter showers or reduce the temperature in your house by a degree or two in the winter, and cut back your reliance on air conditioning in the summer. Unplug rarely used lights and appliances to reduce their impact on your electric bill (plugged-in appliances do drain electricity, even when switched off), and contact your gas and electricity suppliers to inquire about more ways to save on those expenses.

3. Pay down any debt

Eliminating debt is a great way to clear up your personal finances. The "debt snowball" strategy is one option, where you work to pay off your debts with the smallest balances first, regardless of the interest rates.

The "debt avalanche" is another strategy, where you pay off debts starting with the ones with the highest interest rate. This latter strategy costs less in the end, but the debt snowball may be preferable for folks who need the motivational boost of seeing the total number of balances minimized in a shorter period of time.

Once you've reduced or eliminated various debts, it opens more room in the budget for baby—just be sure to organize your approach so you stay on track.

4. Cut back on discretionary spending

The next time you want to go out to a costly dinner or see a movie, consider staying at home to watch Netflix or invite a few friends over for a potluck. Entertainment can quickly eat away at your budget, but only if you let it.

Also, consider holding off on upgrading to the latest new phone or flat-screen TV—you'll be in a much better position to make such purchases a few months down the road once your finances have settled down a bit.

5. Don’t overspend on baby

Budgeting for a new baby is only one part of saving money. It's also important to reduce unnecessary baby-related expenses, such as buying shoes for your newborn that they won't need for a few months. Avoid expensive department stores, and consider asking for hand-me-downs or visiting consignment or used clothing stores.

Always return any unwanted gifts received at baby showers or other celebrations so you can get store credit to purchase what you know you'll be using. Some moms make their own baby food rather than buying jars of it at the grocery store, while others explore different childcare options, such as having a family member step in or nanny-sharing.

When you plan and prepare for your new baby from a financial standpoint and save what money you can, you'll ensure that your little will enter the world in a sound and stable financial environment—something that will benefit him or her for years to come.

Victoria Lemm is a British expat and mother of two and a half children—her third is due February 2019!

You might also like:

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.

Keep reading Show less

Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play