Babies cost a shocking amount of money.
Along the lines of $250,000 to be precise.
Not only do babies require adorable onesies and squeaky toys, but they also land like an asteroid on our own financial goals and priorities.
When parenthood hits, suddenly the stakes are much higher. We need to make smart financial decisions not just for ourselves, but for this new tiny creature who’s depending on us.
In addition to making me paranoid about the waft of second-hand smoke headed for my baby on a walk, my new mom hormones also made me more motivated than ever to make sure I could always provide for my baby. And at some point, I wanted to save for college and her future, too.
Getting our finances in order is one of the many things on our to-do lists when we become mothers. Doing so is like taking a prenatal vitamin for our future financial health.
It can help guard against some of the unexpected challenges that might crop up and ease the transition into parenthood.
Here are 6 easy ways to start off making strong financial choices for your family as you become a new mom.
1. Flex those money muscles.
Sign up for any available flex-spending programs through your workplace for child care expenses, health care expenses, and commuting costs.
Sure, clipping a coupon for a crib or baby toy can save you money at the checkout register, but signing up for workplace tax benefits can have an even bigger impact on your long-term savings.
The great thing about flex spending is that it gives you tax advantages that can pay off year after year.
2. Find your recipes for success.
Develop a few easy-to-make, family-friendly meals that everyone enjoys. You can use cookbooks by other moms like Weelicious for inspiration.
As your child develops, he will grow up enjoying family meals—and may even learn a thing or two about cooking!
Eating simple meals at home will save you tons in the long run compared to eating out—and it’s usually healthier, too!
One of my family’s favorite dishes, chicken tortilla soup, not only saves us money, but inspires the whole family to gather around the table for a few minutes of quality time during our hectic days. Bonus: Leftovers make life so much easier. 😉
3. Optimize your insurance.
Review your current health insurance plan and make sure you’ve selected the optimal type for your family.
Having a child is generally considered a life event that allows you to re-examine your current insurance choices and make new ones.
You might find that it makes sense (and cents!) to select a different family plan than the one you’ve been using for yourself.
4. Be a cognizant consumer.
Research, compare prices, and save for any big child-related expenses, including cars, cribs, and even homes.
Many new parents find that when they bring a new baby into their lives, they also need a bigger house or car, so an expanding family often coincides with these major purchases.
yourself plenty of time (and sleep) to make the right choice.
5. Neutral colors are your frugal friends.
When you are shopping for new baby items, try to stick with gender-neutral colors, which makes it easier to re-use for future children. Plus, gender-neutral colors make baby gear twice as easy to sell (or donate) to others when you no longer need it.
Considering gender-neutral ideas for baby’s nursery? Check out aqua, mint, or teal, with a pop of orange for a refreshingly fun scheme for a boy or girl!
6. It never hurts to ask.
Ask friends and family for gently used clothes, furniture, and toys.
Although you may choose to buy certain things new for safety purposes, such as a car seat or crib, you can use many other baby items that have been passed down from friends and family.
Alternatively, check second hand stores for adorable (and inexpensive!) baby clothes, toys, and gear. Heck, babies grow so fast, half the clothes for sale may still have the tags on!
Pro tip: Find out if you have a neighborhood listserv or local Facebook exchange for baby gear. If so, you can share that you are open to receiving items that others no longer need and you might significantly cut down on your shopping list.
Baby might not notice all of your money-saving efforts right now, but it’s only a matter of time before your child will thank you for all you have done...especially if you teach your little protégé a trick or two about saving for her own future family!