As new parents, the one main concern my husband and I had prior to our daughter’s arrival was how could we afford a new baby. For years, our friends and family would tell us that if you wait until you can afford a baby, you will never have one. It is true that a new baby adds some serious expenses to your household budget but with some planning and dedication, your household finances can survive the blessing of your new arrival. To help you budget for your new arrival, I have outline some budgeting below.
Budgeting for a Baby
First, if you do not already have a household budget, see my post “How to Create a Household Budget” to help you create one. Budgeting is the most helpful tool for you to control the inflow and outflow of money in your household. If you have an existing household budget, you will want to add at minimum the following categories to your budget:
Daycare or Babysitter
Whether you are a stay at home or working parent, you will have times where you will need to pay someone to keep you child(ren). If your child is in daycare, expect this category to be anywhere from $600 – $1,200 per month depending on the age of your child and where you live.
Diapers and Wipes
I have this separated from groceries because it is important to see how much you are actually spending on diapers/wipes and if you follow some of my cost-cutting tools, it is rewarding to see this budgeting item drop once you master how to save on diapers/wipes. I would suggest that you budget at least $60 per month for this category unless you have multiples.
If you are feeding your baby formula, I think it is a good idea to separate this from your grocery category. You should anticipate spending at least $70 per month on formula.
Yes, it is important to start planning now for college, I would suggest that you contact your bank and look into investing in a 529 plan. The good news about the 529 plan is that your family members can contribute to your child(ren)s 529 plan and potentially avoid the gift tax. So grandparents… invest away in your grandchildren!
Adjusting Your Existing Budget
Second to creating the new categories in your budget, don’t forget to adjust the following existing categories in your budget for added expenses:
This category will increase for co-pays, medicine and potential hospital expenses if you have a sick baby
I was shocked at our first power and water bill after our daughter was born. Who could believe that all those extra loads of laundry and dishwasher runs for those bottles could make a difference. Also, since I am a working Mom who was on maternity leave, the power bill was hit hard by my A/C running throughout the day when I normally would not be at home. I would at least increase the categories of power by $200 a month and water by $50 a month while you are on maternity leave.
It is important to add your baby to your plan within 30 days of your new arrival. Call your health insurance provided to find out the additional expense to add the amount to this category.
As a new mother who had a beautiful little girl later in life, I had to seriously adjust this clothing category. Most of my friends’ children are going off to college so I didn’t have a lot of people to borrow clothing from. I know… everyone tells me that she will grow too fast so do not spend money on clothing. However, I will only have this opportunity once. If you are like me, increase this category in your budget.
Congratulations on your new arrival. I hope your family can benefit from the budgeting suggestions above. Look for my next post offering some cost-savings tips for new parents.
It is such a blessing to work for the Bond & Botes family, where they understand the importance of family and appreciate the financial struggles that we face as parents. If you are a parent having trouble meeting your financial obligations, don’t hesitate today to call your local Bond & Botes office to receive a FREE consultation to discuss your options.
Mary Pool is a shareholder of the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Montgomery and Opelika, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University at Montgomery, and a Juris Doctorate from Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law. She has represented thousands of clients over her more than 11 years working in the bankruptcy field. Read her full bio here.