May 13 2008

Having a baby changes everything

Right? I’m pretty sure that it will, on about a thousand levels.

Of course, we’ll try to do things the frugal way, but I honestly don’t know what Baby will do to our budget. I’m going to keep track of everything we spend that’s pregnancy-related or baby-related, cuz hey, I’m a frugal blogger and I’ll get a kick out of that!

Here’s what I know for sure:

Our HMO will cover most of our expenses. We’ll have a $30 co-pay for our first doc visit, and the co-pay for labor & delivery will be around $200 or $250. I need to check on what they’ll cover in the event I’ll need a C-section, and how many days in the hospital they cover. We’ll be able to pay those with our flexible spending account, so it shouldn’t impact our regular budget.

Neat side story: Around February or so, I realized that we were putting too much money into our FSA, but it was too late to change it. We would have about $300 left over at the end of the year, by my calculations, assuming we had regular dental exams and eye check-ups. Well…that’s conveniniently the amount of money we’ll need to cover prenatal care and my vitamins! God looks out for us!

If we’re still living in this apartment when the baby is born (I really hope we’re living in another city by then!), then I don’t think we’ll be able to do cloth diapers, like I wanted to try. We don’t have a washer or dryer in our apartment. I do laundry in the basement at $1.25/wash and $1.25 a dry (usually, I hang things to dry on racks in my apt.). From what I’ve seen, some moms put cloth diapers through a rinse cycle then a wash cycle. I honestly don’t know if I’d be able to keep up with the diapers or not. We’ll just have to see.

On the other hand, if we’re living in a place with a washer/dryer, I’ll definitely give cloth diapers a shot. If they work for us, great! And if not, that’s what extra care bucks are for. Heh.

I do plan to nurse for at least the first six months, but probably longer. I realize that things happen, and it can’t always be achieved. We’ll just have to see how it goes, and if we end up needing to buy formula, well, then that’s just what we’ll have to do. Baby’s gotta eat somehow! :)

The only reason that I’m getting back into “drugstoring” is so I can have a huge stash of toiletries by the time Baby gets here. I already have a decent stash, and between now and the end of the year, it should be enough to last us quite awhile. Plus, I’ll be able to use my extra care bucks and Walgreens gift card to buy baby things, if I need to.

Our financial “plan”

It’s not much of a plan, really. Just cut our expenses even further, if we can, and continue to save like maniacs!

You might recall that I recently shared a goal of maxing out our retirement accounts in 2009. Um. Well…we’ll just have to see how that goes. I’m hoping that we can still do it, or at least come really close. We won’t put much extra into those accounts until the baby is a few months old (remember, he or she is due around the end of December or early January). After we can take an assessment of our situation, we’ll be able to decide if we should put our “extra” money into Roth IRAs and my husband’s 401k, or if the money would serve us better elsewhere.

I think that when parents save for their retirement, they’re doing their kids a huge favor. First, they’ll likely have the money to retire comfortably, and not be a burden on their children. Second, they’ll be able to teach their children the importance of saving for retirement, and how to go about it. And finally, we’ll actually be able to retire! It’ll be great to be retired and able to visit our children and grandchildren whenever they’ll have us, rather than not having enough money to do so.

21 Responses to “Having a baby changes everything”

  1. Don’t sweat not using cloth diapers. I used them with my little one up until now that she is semi-potty trained. Now I just roll my ECB into some sort of diaper deal. If you keep your eyes pealed…which I am sure you do, you can find good deals. (BTW,ask you family members for diapers too. YOu can always find clothes, toys, baby stuff at yard sales & thrift stores but paper diapers are a luxury gift to me!) Best of luck to you dear & many heartfelt congrats to you & your husband.

  2. As usual, it all sounds very sensible! :) Enjoy this planning time, it’s so fun!

    Tenille’s last blog post..Planting

  3. I’m so excited to be along on your journey! I’m sure I’ll learn lots for when it’s my turn (hopefully)!

  4. I truly believe the net cost of a baby is minimal (depending on your insurance, that is.)

    Sure, there are added daily costs, but subtract from those the activities you will no longer be doing for a while–movies, eating out at real restaurants, etc.

    The best $ I have ever spent in my entire LIFE was a $75 consult with a professional lactation consultant (NOT a pediatrician’s nurse, a LLL leader or pump saleswoman).

    I was at the breaking point trying to nurse my 2 week old. In fifteen minutes she had him latched on properly, then weighed so that we could accurately measure how much milk he was getting.

    Now that fee is covered by insurance, but I credit that $75 with saving me hundreds over the course of 2 babies alone.

    Meredith from Merchant Ships’s last blog post..Repurposing steel cut oatmeal cans

  5. On disposable diapers – if you watch your sunday ads for coupons, there are always some for diapers. You might not always get the same brand, but you can always save money there. I pair the coupon with the brand the store has on sale and save pretty good that way. My family usually clips baby related coupons as well and sends them my way.
    I also nurse (which is also super healthy for you and the baby).
    The only thing I would really recommend spending money on is a good electric breast pump. If you find you are unable to breast feed the entire time, for whatever reason. Invest in a good pump. You’ll save a ton of time, and be more comfortable yourself.
    Either way, those little babies are worth every penny :)

    Laura’s last blog post..Grocery Scavenger Hunt

  6. Meredith has sme wise words regarding breastfeeding: talk to a lactation consultant. It def. pays. My old neighbor is one and she came to my home free of charge. When the baby was 6 mos old I brought for her to see and told her he was that chuncky thanks to her. Also, educate yourself, read about it as much as you can. but if it doesn’t work out don’t forget to sign up with the formula companies so you can get checks and sign up with all of them even if you don’t know which one you may end up using. You can trade checks with a friend or somebody you know or maybe even someone you don’t. Baby cheapskate has a trading website and so does hotcouponworld. I recommend the later. Also combining formula checks and ECBS you could end up paying little for any formula you use. Same with diapers. I have bought diapers at CVS even when not having an ECB deal. Like Cathy from CFO said, it’s about combining things you need with things you don’t to keep those ECBs rolling. Donate the rest.

  7. I just wanted to add that I agree with Laura, an electric breast pump is a valuable investment. I could write a book about how to do baby for very little money. But so will you after you get in the swing of things.

  8. I’d just like to be the third person to say a good, NEW electric BP is the way to go if you can’t breastfeed full-time. There are so many reasons not to get a cheap one and definitely not a used one. I’ve outlined these in this post if you care to read it:

    We have women come into the shop where I work who are using a friend’s pump that’s been through three kids, and they can’t figure out why they’re “not getting enough.” It can be expensive but one pump can usually take you through at least two kids if you don’t loan it out between babies.

  9. Best of luck. We’re on #3 now! You’ll learn as you go.

    CrAzY Working Mom’s last blog post..Entrecard Tuesday

  10. I think that the cloth diapers are a great idea. Not only for saving money, but for the environment as well. My mom used cloth diapers the whole time when I was a baby. She also made my baby food, breast fed for over a year and even had me at home. I will say that she took a lot of crap from family for all of the “extremes” but I am so glad that she did and hope to do the same types of things when I am at that stage in life (hopefully soon).

    Sounds like you are on the right track as always. Talk to you later!

  11. They say the last act of growing up is having a child. Whether that’s true or not, having your baby will be the most awesome thing you’ve ever experienced. There is nothing on this earth like holding your own child and looking into his or her little eyes, knowing that he or she is 100% dependent on you…that will change you on the inside. It’s scary and exhilarating at the same time.

    I would encourage you to seek the advice and counsel of the women in your life and don’t discount “the old fashioned ways.” So many times I see young parents resort to books or “experts” and forsake the advice of their parents, grandparents, and other relatives. Hey! They raised YOU!

    I’m so excited for you and looking forward to you sharing your experiences!

  12. I’ve heard from some friends that using a diaper service can end up being at least comparable in cost to disposable diapers, and, of course, it’s better for the environment.

  13. Word of warning on the medical costs. I had my first daughter in the US, with a midwife all naturally, but at a hospital. I was working at the time and had an incredible insurance policy (PPO) and a Flex Save. We too thought there would be very little leftover for us to pay out of pocket. Hah! They added charges left right and centre that the insurance did not cover.

    If money is a concern a natural childbirth will keep costs down, no anesthesiologist fees, extra meds etc. Low intervention is safest for Mom, baby and the wallet! You also received some excellent breastfeeding advice. Read up on it in advance, I highly recommend anything by Jack Newman, MD over the LLL stuff. Breastfeeding can be tough for the first two or three weeks, but if you get the right advice and stick with it, you will make it work. It’s the most rewarding experience and again, financially smart! :)

    If I were to do it all again I would have a homebirth (set rate with insurance), but obviously with an appartment that’s probably not an option!

    I’m with you on the cloth diapers. Wanted to try it here in Ireland with DD2 but then I remembered the washing machine takes well over an hour to run without a pre-wash! :) No thanks! :)

    Best of luck Kacie!

  14. I agree with watch out for extra fees from other hospital personell – like the anesthesiologist, that was billed separately for me. I *planned* to have a natural childbirth but my son disagreed, wrapped himself up in the cord and tried to suffocate himself, necessitating an emergency c-section.

    Babies aren’t all that expensive. :) They get more expensive as they grow though, in my experience at least. My 18 month old daughter is still relatively cheap but my almost 4 year old costs us quite a bit now.

    paidtwice’s last blog post..Teaching A Spender To Save ~ More Praise For The Emergency Fund

  15. Hey Kacie! Congrats!! Some tips to share with you…I was able to nurse for 10 months. My electric pump was $200 which more than paid for itself ( I pumped at work 2-3 times a day until the end). It saved SOO much $! In my breastfeeding class they said you could send a family of four to Disneyworld for the cost of formula for the 1st 6 months of a child’s life. (I didn’t talk to a lactation consultant, but I did take this class for $35, and the nurses were pretty helpful at the hospital) Some babies don’t take to it though, no matter what you’ll make it work!! If you don’t use cloth diapers, go for the store brands. In the beginning at least,you change them so often they work just as well. When we got to the point where he was sleeping through the night and didn’t need changed, we do use Pampers at night. They really do provide amazing leak protection. For an 8+ hour stretch at any rate. I got my clothes at garage sales and ebay – what I didn’t get as hand me downs from friends that is. I got a lot of toys as hand me downs too. Also, this store -Once Upon A Child – Rocks!!! We mostly buy his toys there and they are a great place to buy clothes as well. There is one in Monroeville and I think there are 1 or 2 other locations but not sure where. They buy/sell gently used clothes, and they make sure everything is in good condition before buying/selling. You absolutely should have the book What to Expect When you’re Expecting… It provided me with answers AFTER childbirth that the nurses had not. Make sure you sign up on all the websites also – Pampers, Huggies, Enfamil..If you do choose to use disposable diapers and formula, you will get loads of valuable coupons/checks and free samples!!! I also suggest you register at Babies R Us and somewhere economical like Walmart. I also jsut read about where you can register at any store. You should also get a free subscription to several magazines, at least for the first year, such as American Baby and Parents, to name two. Oh another cool thing to keep in my mind to save for….I gave birth at Magee. In December of 07 they sent me a letter for my 2 bills there and offered to settle for half the amount I owed if I paid them by December. Perhaps they try to clear their accounts at the end of the year? But that saved us several hundred dollars! Oh it’s so exciting!!!! Congratulations! Sorry for the long post. Moms just love to share and help other moms out!! :-) Best of luck!

  16. From what I can tell, when it comes to breast feeding, getting a pump (you can rent them, but buying might be less expensive…especially if it’s used but good) can be an excellent choice to avoid needing formula. That way Shane can take a turn if you’re exhausted or if you’re out and going to get home late.

    Oh yeah, and again about the fees. I spend most of my hospital time in perinatal and there’s a lot of things which I’m not sure are covered in the general delivery (circ — though it’s not recommended, shots…)

  17. Congratulations! Since I’m not a mom…I can offer no suggestions – just sincere congratulations!

  18. Congrats on becoming a new mom to be! My mother used cloth diapers for my little brother and we actually had a service that would pick up the soiled (she’d put them through rinse first) and then drop off new ones for a very low fee. It was awesome!

    Don’t forget to look on Etsy for any baby finds! I found that the quality of their products go soooo much farther than those that can be found at stores sometimes!

    Also, be a little stingy on how many clothes you want for baby. They’ll be growing out of them so quickly, sometimes they skip sizes! My new baby brother is an example for he went from 1-3 months right to 9-12 months in a matter of a week! A great way to do this is by cutting off the footsies of the full jumper pajamas that are available, self-hem them, and then invest in a pack of baby socks to cover their feet. It really works!

    DecMeadow’s last blog post..MAY Goals

  19. Congrats. Also look into WIC – do not know your income.

  20. I agree with some of the other moms who have commented about spending $ on a lactation consultant if you do have issues. I had issues and it was the best money I ever spent as well!

    As for laundry…if you do happen to move before baby and have the option of a washer/dryer in your apartment, I would HIGHLY recommend it b/c you will be doing a lot of laundry during the first few months. Who am I kidding..I am still doing a lot of laundry 2 years later! :)

    I’m looking forward to reading about your journey! :)

    Marcy’s last blog post..Works for me Wednesday:Buying Beef Locally & in Bulk

  21. Congratulations!

    Lisa’s last blog post..Cash For My Carpet

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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