Being a Smart Shopper During Maternity: Tips for Expectant Parents
Guest article by Emily Graham from MightyMoms.NET
Somehow it doesn’t seem right that it costs so much money to have a baby. Between diapers, formula, clothing, and furniture you can easily find yourself thousands of dollars in the red even before your child arrives. It’s a time for budget-conscious thrift, fiscal restraint and planning ahead. Fortunately, there are lots of opportunities to save money along the way. You just need to be diligent in watching for them.
Start saving as soon as soon as you know you’re pregnant. Set a target amount, say $50 every two weeks, for your baby fund. If you begin saving right away you can save nearly a thousand dollars by the time the baby arrives. That will pay for dozens of boxes of diapers and wipes, a good start for any new parent. Saving ahead is one of the most budget-conscious things you can do, but be sure to keep your baby fund in a separate interest-bearing savings account.
Take advantage of hand-me-downs
People love to give away maternity clothing, baby furniture and anything else they’ve been saving for someone in the “family way.” It’s a much-anticipated opportunity for a friend or family member to benefit a loved one and to declutter their home. If you’re lucky, you know someone who has clothes in storage and, while many people get rid of larger objects like a crib and changing table, they might be able to help you save money on equipment as well. Take full advantage of hand-me-downs.
Comfort in clothing
Comfort is extremely important to expectant mothers, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t be comfortable after your baby’s born as well. Make sure you’ve got a comfy bathrobe and some comfortable pajamas. You may even consider investing in nursing pajamas, which really come in handy for moms during late-night feedings. Nursing pajamas are soft, loose-fitting and make it easy to feed your baby.
Make it yourself
If you’re handy with needles and yarn, why not use some of your free time knitting items for your baby? Things like hats, gloves and even sweaters can be easy to create. And it’s a budget-friendly move when you compare the cost of fabric and supplies with the high price tags at the mall and many retail stores. Hobby stores like Michael’s or Jo-Ann Fabric are great places to pick up materials, and they usually have online coupons and promotions that’ll save you even more.
Check your insurance
You probably know to expect a bill from the hospital after your baby is born, but the amount doesn’t have to be a surprise. Check into your health insurance policy so you’re aware of how much you’ll pay out of pocket. Most hospitals will let you set up a payment plan if you’re unable to cover the full amount upon leaving the hospital.
While you’re in the hospital, keep an eye out for the free samples that manufacturers often provide to maternity wards. Most hospitals are happy to help out new mothers with whatever freebies they have on hand. You can do pretty well, depending on your nurses’ generosity, but you may need to ask first. With a little luck you could take home a healthy supply of diaper ointment, lotion and even coupons.
Watch for alternatives to retail
If you have a nose for bargains and love to save money, this is the time to follow your instincts. Yard sales can be a real jackpot for young parents-to-be looking to save on pregnancy and baby clothing. You never know what you might find. Someone may have a top-of-the-line baby stroller or baby car seat that’s been gathering dust in the basement. There are usually plenty of excellent deals to be found at yard sales.
Having a baby is an expensive proposition, but the real expense begins when your little one comes home. Anything you can do to save money on supplies, clothing and equipment will pay dividends later. If you’re not accustomed to shopping online, make a point of watching for sales and coupons on maternity and baby-care items.
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