Of course, there are some hidden costs beyond the delivery. A birth center stay is typically shorter and may not include meals. But if complications arise at either the hospital or birth center, you may end up staying longer and paying more. Other incidental costs such as induction, prolonged anesthesia, excessive monitoring, or a stay in the NICU may be added onto your bill as well. Your birthing facility should be able to provide you with a breakdown of expected costs.
Just be sure to check with your doctor and insurance provider to confirm your actual out-of-pocket expenses. Diapers are a need, but baby knee pads? Not so much. But a hand-me-down crib from your sister, a used baby monitor from a consignment shop, and baby clothes from a garage sale are just fine.
Ask your pediatrician for samples you can try out, and always be on the look out for manufacturer coupons. Or, nurse your baby for as long as you can.
Many insurance providers will supply you with a free pump. Make your own baby food! You may be thinking, Who has time for that? If you and your spouse both work, then child care will be a cost in your budget somewhere. Finding an in-home day care or a stay-at-home parent to watch your child can be a major budget saver. These are great items that friends and family will most likely gift to you.
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But if you want to save on them in the meantime, gather coupons and look in secondhand consignment shops. Having a baby will make you see things in a whole new light. We get it, baby clothes are so small and so precious—but can be so expensive. Buy secondhand whenever you can. You might notice your water and electric bills going up from all the extra laundry costs. Okay, so talking about cloth diapers can divide people almost faster than any political debate.
While cloth diapers have come a long way since the s, it might not be your cup of tea. Prefer to use disposable diapers? No problem. Did you know many of the top, well-known diaper companies have their own rewards system? You can rack up points every time you buy a new pack of diapers or wipes. As your child journeys throughout the land of diaper wearing, you can cash in those points for things like baby books, toys and yes, even free diapers!
Did you know your favorite grocery store probably has its own line of generic diapers? Oh yeah, even Aldi. You might have to go through some trial and error to figure out if the diapers are dependable. But after a while, you might find a brand you like for a fraction of the cost. More employers than ever are offering paid maternity and paternity leave for their employees.
How many weeks will you take unpaid? Can you use banked-up vacation time or sick leave to cover some of it? Will you be able to live on one income throughout the leave? Can you work from home? Can you earn some extra cash to fill in the gaps? Are you already living on a budget? Trust us. Can it get expensive preparing for a baby?
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But having a budget in place will help you manage those expenses and be able to prepare for them well in advance. You need that budget now more than ever! Before your bundle of joy arrives, start your baby-friendly budget using our free app, EveryDollar. In the wild and wonderful adventure of all things baby, this might just be the easiest step of all. Even though you'll need to cut costs and make sacrifices, there are two things you shouldn't give up: paying off any debt you may have accumulated and saving for retirement.
Bahr recommends that the first 10 to 15 percent of household income go into a retirement fund. Work with your spouse to create a budget that allows for those expenses, as well as for your weekly and monthly bills.
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Then figure out the most comfortable way to divvy up what's left of that single paycheck. Whatever you do, don't fall into the trap of having to ask your husband for money every time you need to get your hair colored or buy a new pair of jeans.
One strategy is for both of you to agree on a monthly sum each of you can spend for discretionary items clothes, haircuts, gym dues, and golf outings with no questions asked. Then you deposit that amount into two individual checking or savings accounts. Use your joint account for paying bills and buying things for the house and the kids. Another option is to keep all funds in a joint account but to set a dollar limit on the amount one partner can spend without consulting the other.
A caveat: The agreed-upon amounts need to be realistic, so there's no temptation to use credit cards, hide spending, or secretly dip into the household funds for personal expenses. Financial planners say one of the most common mistakes SAHMs make is blowing off life insurance, or if they do get it, not buying enough. But remember: If you weren't around, your husband would have to hire someone to cook, clean, shop, and care for the children so he could work. So life insurance is essential for both of you. Premiums would depend on your age, your overall health, and the length of your term coverage.
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Disability insurance is also important since there's a much greater chance of being injured or becoming seriously sick. Your husband may be covered through his workplace, but if he isn't, insist that he buy a disability policy. Since you don't have a job, you aren't eligible for coverage. But Stifler advises building a reserve fund that your family could rely on for six months or so if you become too sick or disabled to take care of the house and the kids. You should also make sure that your family has good health insurance. If you and your children aren't covered under your spouse's policy at work, or if your spouse's employer does not offer insurance, it's key that you buy coverage on your own.
One of the most affordable options is a plan with high co-payments and a big deductible. If you go this route, see whether your husband's employer offers a Health Savings Account, which would let him put aside pre-taxed earnings that can be used for healthcare costs.
If you simply can't afford to buy health insurance for your family, check to see whether you're eligible for the free or low-cost health plans that many states offer for kids so at least your children will be covered. For information, go to www. You and your husband should have joint savings for things your family may want in the future: a bigger house, for example, or a college education for your kids. But it's also important for SAHMs to have some savings in their own name. If you don't already have one, open an individual retirement account IRA.
Talk to a tax planner to determine which option is best for your family; it all depends on your age and your income. You should also have at least one major credit card not a store card in your name alone. Be sure to use it -- and to pay your balance on time every month. This will establish your credit history, which is essential for taking out a mortgage or a car loan.
If you only have a card on your husband's account, he could easily cancel it if you ever get separated or divorced. Finally, make sure that your house -- typically a family's biggest asset -- is in both your names unless there are unusual circumstances, such as special tax considerations or a prenuptial agreement. Right now, you love being able to spend your entire day hanging out with your kids.
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But there may come a day when you'll want -- or need -- to work. Here's some bummer news: You're likely to find that your time at home has cost you more than you'd planned. A study by the Center for Work-Life Policy, in New York City, found that women lose an average of 18 percent of their earning power 28 percent if they're in a business field when they leave the workforce temporarily to raise children. To increase your odds of getting a decent salary when you're ready to return to work, make the most of your time at home.
If you were already established in a career, be sure to stay connected to former work colleagues.
Go to lunch with them a few times a year, and shoot them an e-mail if you come across a work-related article you think they'll find useful.
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