Congratulations â€” you’re expecting a baby! As thrilled as you are, once the excitement wears off â€” and reality (and morning sickness) sets in â€” you’ll soon realize what generations of parents before you have learned: raising kids costs money.
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According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it will cost a middle income couple around $233,610 to raise a child born in 2015. So when it comes to be saving for a baby, the sooner you begin, the better!
Here are six things to start doing right now to start saving for a baby:
1. Cut Your Extra Costs
Take a red pen to your household budget and look for ways to cut expenses. For each item, think carefully about whether it’s a “need” or a “want.” For example, meals out, entertainment costs, such as concert or sporting event tickets, and cable television bills aren’t necessities for most families.
Research the ongoing costs of things you’ll need once the baby arrives. These may include items such as diapers and formula (if you aren’t breastfeeding). Start living as if you had these costs now so you can get used to living on the revised budget before baby arrives.
2. Save for Medical Costs
Child-related costs start adding up before he or she even arrives in the world. Though it varies from state to state, the average medical cost to deliver a baby is $8,775 for a routine vaginal delivery and $11,525 for a Cesarean birth.
Check with your health insurance provider to see exactly what you’re covered for when it comes to labor, delivery and hospital care for your infant. If you don’t have health insurance through work, begin researching your area’s potential labor and delivery medical costs. Start setting aside money from each paycheck to use toward these costs now.
3. Sell Stuff You Don’t Need to Pay for Stuff You Will
Use the next few months to sell things you no longer need and help pay for your upcoming baby-related costs. Not only will this help raise money â€” it also clears clutter to make room for baby-related furniture and equipment.
Look around your attic, basement or garage for gently used items to sell online. These items may include:
- Clothing and shoes
- Sports equipment
- Small electronics and small appliances
Use the money from these sales to save for the bigger things you’ll need for baby, such as a car seat, crib and changing table.
4. Find Sales on Expensive Baby Equipment
While getting used baby clothes saves money, think twice before using second-hand baby equipment. Car seats, playpens and high chairs are best bought new to make sure they meet current safety standards. Keep your costs low by looking out for store sales, or add the items to your baby gift registry.
Apply credit card rewards points toward the most expensive baby equipment you need. And don’t forget to check out the current Discover Deals for more options to save money and earn extra cash back while you’re saving for a baby.
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5. Replace Maternity Leave Lost Income
If you or your spouse plans to take time off when your new baby arrives, start saving now to replace that lost income. In addition to cutting costs, you could save more for baby by replacing some of the lost income if one of you gets a part-time job or starts a side hustle.
6. Open a Savings Account
Keep baby savings organized by opening a savings account. Encourage family (especially grandparents-to-be) to contribute cash as gifts. Be specific about what the cash will be used for. For example, “At this time we are saving all cash gifts to use toward a new crib and nightstand for the baby.”
Welcoming a baby is expensive. So, as soon as you know that a little one is on the way, start reviewing your finances and make a plan to cut costs and boost your savings.