When we first fell pregnant, I will be completely honest with you – it was a total shock.
Not because it was unplanned – we just didn’t think it would happen so quickly. We had just got married, bought our first house and I had just begun a new job that very month.
It was not really the timing we had in mind and with the new financial stress of having a baby on top of our new mortgage and me only just having started a new job – it’s safe to say we felt a little bit overwhelmed.
I also had no close friends who had kids so it wasn’t like I really had any idea at all about how much kids cost. We had just used all our savings to buy our house and had plans to renovate straight away.
I clearly remember the week I found out I was pregnant. We had already ripped out part of our kitchen that weekend – so there was really no turning back!
I knew going into it that we had to be smart with our purchases. Not to mention, we really needed to have a realistic idea about what we could and couldn’t do once we were on just one income.
I had no idea about maternity leave, what I was entitled to and how long I’d be off work.
Starting a family really is a huge shock to the system – emotionally, physically and of course financially! Especially for us, both still in our twenties and not nearly established in our careers.
But as scary as I know it seems – we made it work!!
Here are my top tips for budgeting for a baby…
Know Your Employer’s Policies
I think regardless of whether you are pregnant, or even thinking about children down the track. Get educated about what your employers’ policy is. I was in fact very lucky as I worked for a bank that had a very generous leave policy. I had only worked within the company for a matter of months, however, I was entitled to their maternity leave scheme.
However, should you not be entitled to paid maternity leave then make sure you do your research on what other payments you might be entitled to.
Start Living On One Income
When we found out we were having a baby, we instantly decided to start living on just the one income, and saving 100% of mine.
We just figured it got us into the mind frame of living on that wage and also gave us a buffer should anything happen.
As I mentioned earlier, we had begun renovating so we wanted to make sure we still had money to continue and at minimum, get the kitchen completed!
While it was hard at the start, I realised after that as childless young adults we had been wasting a lot of our money and what we really needed to live was a lot less than what we were spending. It was a great way to force us to save and manage our money during my pregnancy.
Don’t Go Crazy Buying
Okay so I will admit, I did have Annabelle’s nursery pretty much complete by week 12 of my pregnancy. But in saying that I was very savvy about my purchases and it was by chance that a major baby retailer was actually going into administration at the time.
One night, my mum rang me and said she’d found a Boori Cot and matching drawers and change table going out at 70% off. I’m sure many of you would know that Boori is a rather expensive and well-made brand so of course, I told her to grab it.
However, only a few months later I ended up selling the drawers and we just didn’t need them with our wardrobes. Making a profit from them on eBay. Then shortly after Annabelle was born we sold the change table as we never used it (totally not a vital purchase if you ask me).
You soon realise, especially after your first bub, that a lot of the things you buy are not a necessity! Babies actually don’t need much and really if you find yourself needing something then you can just wait till after the baby is born and get it once you know you’ll use it!
Also, don’t be shy to buy thing second hand. Even just from my story above, two people grabbed themselves a bargain of some new expensive items! A lot of baby items go unused or unworn. Be smart and check out local buy swap sell pages, Gumtree and eBay for things before you buy new!
Is Bigger Really Better?
When we became pregnant with my second daughter, a lot of people started asking us if we were going to get a bigger house.
We live in a three bedroom, one bathroom house. It’s small but it’s cosy – and most of all it’s home!
Truthfully we did start to think in this mentality, and even found ourselves perusing display homes on the weekends for a few weeks there. But you know what – kids don’t care and neither do we!
They don’t always need their own rooms or playrooms full of ‘stuff’. Sure maybe one day down the track we will outgrow our little house but for now, it’s what we can comfortably afford and means we have a lot more financial freedom.
Getting Back In The Work Saddle
So I remember thinking I’d easily have a year, maybe two off work to be a totally devoted earth mother who made homemade food for her child and played and did crafts with them day-in and day-out.
Fast forward to around six months and I was itching to get back to work. It wasn’t about money, but more sanity for me.
In fact, I had to be careful about what capacity I came back to work and the hours I did as childcare costs can quickly outright the money you make.
Make sure you do your research on childcare options and find something that is suitable for your circumstance. Otherwise, it can make it seem like you’re working for nothing – because you are!
Another great idea could potentially be starting your own business. With the accessibility provided to us by the internet now, it’s never been easier to re-invent your skills into something you can run from home.
I intentionally see beauty & lash therapist who has a salon set up at home, she works around her kids’ school hours, naps and works evening hours. It works for me as a mum too and I know I’m supporting another mother!
I hope that these have been some great starting tips to help you feel more confident about budgeting for a baby. I personally think having kids has taught me a lot about money and being conscious of our financial situation.
But with a little bit of research and knowing where to find the right tools to help you navigate your circumstances – it is definitely not as scary as you may have once thought!