Welcome to part 2 of getting ready for baby! It’s a wonderful time when you are expecting but there is still lots to do. Maybe you’ve dreamed about this day for years and have been preparing for awhile, or maybe this baby was a surprise blessing so you are getting ready quickly. Either way, congratulations! Every baby is cause for celebration!
Whatever the case, once you find out you are pregnant, you have a quick 9 months to do all you can to be prepared for this new baby. Whether this is baby one or baby five (or more), your life will be forever changed after this little one arrives. Planner that I am, I want to be as financially prepared as I can be.
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I remember being overwhelmed (at times) with all there was to do to get ready for this new baby. Now that I’m pregnant again, I realized it doesn’t have to be very complicated. Babies will come whether you are ready or not! That said, I’ve learned that tackling a couple big tasks while I am pregnant, make those first months much smoother. This is especially true when it relates to finances and a baby.
If you haven’t read my tips for financially preparing for baby before you are pregnant, go ahead and read those. All that advice still is true. If you haven’t tackled those tasks yet, start there. Then, in addition to those five tips I shared previously, I’d like to add five more tips to help you get ready for your baby.
1. Bump up your savings. You have 9 short months to get financially ready for this baby so do everything you possibly can to be prepared. How’s your emergency fund looking? Have you paid off your debt? Do you have money set aside for delivery costs and insurance? Make a list of your financial priorities and start tackling them as aggressively as you possibly can. There’s no time to delay any longer!
2. Adjust to living on one income. This is especially important if baby marks the transition from two incomes to one for your family. If you haven’t already, start living on one income and put the rest of the money into savings for baby or other household expenses. Prior to the birth of our son, we used my income to build a savings account for bills, car repairs and house projects, in addition to saving for delivery costs. Not only did this make the transition easier but we knew we had a bit of a cushion for unexpected bills.
3. Shop on a budget for baby. Yes, it’s time to start preparing for your baby but remember – babies don’t need as much as the stores try to sell you! Your little baby doesn’t need dozen of outfits (as adorable as they may be) or the top of the line newest stroller – especially if it doesn’t fit into your budget. If this is your first baby, changes are you will have a baby shower or two. Grandparents will likely be showering this new baby with gifts, too. Gratefully accept any and all hand-me-downs. Visit your local consignment shops and watch for children resale events (often in the spring and fall).
My personal recommendation would be to buy as gender neutral as possible especially for large items like the car seat, stroller and crib. Do your research and ask friends for their recommendations. You might find that certain purchases are not worth the money while others are worth the investment. You might also be surprised who has a bassinet to loan you or an extra pack-n-play to give you! My friends and I have borrowed each other’s baby items – and some maternity clothes, too.
4. Stockpile diapers. Yes, I mentioned this before you were pregnant, but now is the time to step up your diaper game. The last thing you want to do in those first weeks is have to run out to the store for diapers because you ran out in the middle of the night. I recommend start watching the sales and stocking up on diapers and wipes when you see a good price. My stockpiling for diapers article contains some links to the recommendations for how diapers for each size. I found them pretty accurate.
I know some women who have taken a simpler route and simply pick up another pack of diapers or wipes every time they go to the grocery store. Whatever you do, now is definitely the time to stock up on diapers for your new bundle of joy! If you are planning to cloth diaper, start buying those supplies as well. It might still be handy to pick up a package or two of disposables for those early days…or just in case!
5. Fill your pantry and freezer. Not only will this help you financially, but it will also help you in a very practical sense after the baby is born. Let’s start with the freezer. Watch for deals and start stocking your freezer with meals so you don’t have to cook once baby is born. If you are looking for ideas, check out some of my favorite freezer cooking recipes. When sleep is at a premium, it’s nice to have meals already prepared for you. This is a great nesting / 3rd trimester task! I’d also watch for deals on prepared freezer meals (ie Marie Callendar’s, PF Changs and frozen pizza) because those will prove a life-saver, too.
In addition to filling your freezer, I’d recommend filling your pantry so grocery shopping isn’t on your to-do list once the baby is born. Buy paper plates to save yourself time at the kitchen sink. Make sure you have enough toilet paper and kleenex, shampoo and conditioner, soap and deodorant to get you through that first month (at least). Also, stock your pantry with quick snacks such as granola bars, nuts and chocolate, for a quick treat. These little things will make a big difference in those newborn days!
These are 5 simple tips that will save you time and money once your precious baby is born. Do what you can now so you can enjoy those fleeting newborn days! Experienced mamas, what planning tips would you add to this list?