As a mom-to-be, you have a lot to learn. You've never done this before, so it's okay you're not an expert yet!
How do you budget as a new parent? What tips should you follow? When should you splurge and when should you save?
Thankfully, we have the resources to guide your parenting journey. Today, we're talking about budgeting - and we have the answer to all your questions. Read our ultimate budgeting guide for new moms below...
FYI Before We Jump In...
We now offer Shop Pay here at Parker Baby Co. so you can buy your baby must-haves today and pay in installments. Shop Pay is perfect for building credit, gaining financial stability as a family, and handling finances at your pace! Take control of your budgeting and try Shop Pay next time you shop with us
With budgeting in mind, let's get started on a few budgeting tips you can use as you step into this new season with baby...
Budgeting Tips for New Moms
First, we wanted to start with a few practical budgeting tips for new moms, divided into each trimester (so you can follow a few steps at a time without getting overwhelmed). Let's dive in!
With big news of baby on the way comes all the feels: excitement, joy, nervousness, worry, and everything in between. Take a deep breath - we're here to help! Here are a few tips for your first 3 months:
Be on the Same Page with Your Partner
The number one thing couples fight about? Finances. It is so important to be on the same page about budgeting, what expenses are priorities, and exactly what you're both spending money on. Sit down and talk with your partner about how you'd both like to discuss, spend, and save money as a family.
Identify Your Wiggle Room
The best way to budget your money to prep for baby is by dividing your income into three categories: necessities (like house payment, car payments, groceries), savings, and disposable income (the money you spend on extra things like date nights, a Netflix subscription, and fancy lattes from Starbucks). Once you have divided the three, you can see how to tighten up your disposable income or potentially increase your savings category. Categories should (ideally) reflect 50% towards necessities, 30% toward disposable income, and 20% toward savings each month.
Discern Between Baby Needs Vs. Wants
Just like above, it's important to discern between baby needs verses baby wants. Baby products like a diaper backpack, diapers, nursing equipment, clothes, and swaddles are more necessary. Nursery decor, that high end rocking chair you've been eyeing, and more expensive, nicer versions of what you already have can wait until money isn't so tight. Check out our section below to see what products you'll need verses the ones you can put on the backburner.
Pay Off As Much As You Can Before Baby Arrives
Babies are expensive! If you're able to, pay off as much debt as you can before your baby arrives. Take some of the money you typically spend on stuff you don't need and add it to your monthly payments. You'll have less stress hanging over your head once baby is here, which will put less stress on you and your partner when you're transitioning into parent life!
Baby's growing, your body is changing, and anticipation is building for baby! Here are some tips for the middle stretch:
Never Spend Money You Don't Have
As a general rule of thumb as you buy things for baby, never spend money you don't have. Even if you take on debt for a larger purchase, always make sure you have that money set aside in full before you agree to those payments.
...But, Try to Build Your Credit as You Go
Conversely, sometimes it is wise to take on a monthly payment if you have the money to do so. Any form of debt paid off consistently will boost your credit score and save money. But always make sure you have the funds for your purchase set aside beforehand! (With, of course, the exception of a house payment! Because it is an appreciating asset, signing up for a house payment you don't have all the cold hard cash for isn't unwise.)
P.S. Parker Baby Co. now offers Shop Pay, so you can buy your baby products now and pay for them in monthly installments (which boost your credit score). Make sure to try out our new Shop Pay system the next time you need baby products!
Don't Buy What You Don't Need
It is so important to decide which baby products you will really use and need before baby comes! Obviously it's hard to predict the future, but there are a lot of resources to help you. We recently wrote an article about all the baby products you won't need for your new baby - check them out here!
Invest in the Products You'll Use A Lot
Think of the three baby products you'll use daily - whether it be your diaper bag, stroller, or changing table. Invest in those items, knowing you'll get more use out of them. For products you'll only use a short time, or stuff your baby won't need forever - it's okay to get the cheaper versions.
Think to the Future
Your baby will grow fast, so it's important to look ahead! Don't buy tons of newborn diapers or newborn clothes - your baby won't fit them forever. Also consider if you're planning on having more than one kiddo - if your family will grow, opt for more gender neutral baby products so you can pass them down to your future babies.
So you're getting the hang of this pregnant thing, eh? You're doing awesome mama 👏 Here are a few more budgeting tips to guide the final stretch of your pregnancy:
Okay, decorating and preparing your baby's nursery has to be the most fun thing ever. But it's also easy to get swept up in the nesting magic and spend a little too much. Try to DIY anything you can! Even if you aren't handy, YouTube has so many resources to learn. Design your own nursery decor, find and refinish old furniture, and build your own closet organization.
Research Lesser-Known Hospital Expenses
Many first time moms aren't aware of the hospital add-ons you don't really need, but end up paying for them anyway. Skip the private birthing room - requesting a private room can cost anywhere between $30-$500 per day (which adds up). You don't have tons of privacy in a private room anyway - nurses come in and out constantly. Another hospital hack? Ask your nurse for coupons or samples - they typically have a selection of free baby products you'll need, but rarely offer them unprompted.
Prioritize an Emergency Fund
Keeping an emergency fund is essential in all seasons of life, but especially when you're bringing a little one into the world. Life is unpredictable! As a general rule of thumb, keep 3-6 months of living expenses (in other words, your necessities spending category) saved for any potential emergencies.
You did it! Baby is here, and everything is different now (in the best way). As you navigate postpartum and the dynamic of your growing family, follow these budgeting tips:
Log All Your Expenses
As you discover new expenses with your baby, keep track! If you want to be super detailed, I recommend the free version of Everydollar. You have to input expenses manually, but it sure helps you stay on top of your budget! If you want something more hands-off, try YNAB (You Need A Budget). Their app connects directly with your bank, so all your expenses are logged automatically for you to review at the end of each month.
If your little one has older cousins, or you have friends with older kids, embrace their hand-me-downs! Even if they aren't the cutest, if they keep your baby comfortable, safe, and warm, they do the job. Plus, as fast as your baby grows, they won't be wearing many of those hand-me-downs for long.
Do a Babysitter Swap with Friends!
Babysitters get expensive. To save money, try a parent swap with your friends. One night, you watch their kids while they go on a date. Another night, they swap and take yours. Your kids will get play time with friends, and you'll still get that much needed date night in.
Cost-Effective Baby Products You Need
So we've discussed a few budgeting tips for new moms to guide you on this crazy parenting journey. But you still need to prep for baby with all the baby products they'll need, and you might not know where to begin.
we've broken down an extensive list of baby products into the essentials, the nice-to-haves, and the fun (but not so necessary) stuff to help you discern what to invest in as you budget for baby. Here they are:
These are the products you and your baby will need! Keep these at the top of your shopping list:
Diaper Bag: You will use your diaper bag every. single. day. So make sure you get one that makes your life simpler! We truly believe our Birch Bag Diaper Backpacks are your best option - they are affordable, aesthetic, super functional, and practical for parents with kids of any age.
Safe Car Seat: A car seat is a good product to invest in - you want to make sure your baby is secure and safe on the road. Check out this guide for the best and safest car seats in 2023. For car seat safety tips to prep for baby, read our safety blog here!
Changing Supplies: This includes diapers, wipes, and diaper rash creams! If your baby is average, you'll go through 70 diapers a week and 280 per month. Just keep in mind they will grow, so don't stock up on one size too much.
Sleeping Arrangement: Whether you go with a crib, pack-and-play, or bassinet, you will need a safe and comfortable sleeping arrangement for your baby.
Pumping Supplies: You will need a breast pump, as well as other pumping supplies like bottles, nursing pads, and nipple cream. Check out these best breast pumps for 2023 to find the right one for you. (pssst! Make you to check out our pumping supplies hack below so you don't have to pay for one!)
Essential Baby Accessories: Pacifiers should be a necessity on your list! Bibs are also a must - your baby will spit up a lot when they are little, and once they transition to teething, they will drool buckets! You will need trustworthy bibs to weather the storm - we recommend our Drool Bandana Bibs.
Good Childcare: Depending on your situation, you'll want to research good childcare in your area before your baby is born. You'll be able to develop a good plan ahead of time, and you can take your time researching all your options.
Clothes: Your baby's got to wear something - so whether it's hand-me-downs or fresh off the rack onesies, you'll need to set aside some money for outfits as your baby grows.
These are the products you don't need need - but they are really nice to have and you'll probably use them a lot, possibly daily. Prioritize these expenses over any of the other fun, less necessary options.
Diaper Organization: It's not necessary to have your changing table organized, but it makes your life so much easier if it is. Our Felt Diaper Caddies are best selling among new moms for a reason - keeping your changing station organized and on the go is huge!
Stroller: You don't need a stroller, but it's one of those items you almost need. You'll use it a ton! Follow this guide to find the safest, easiest to use, most bang-for-your-buck stroller.
Toys & Books: Toys and books aren't necessary when your baby is first born, but they are definitely something you will want to invest in as your baby grows. But if money is tight during those first few months, feel free to wait.
Hamper: Again, not necessary, but annoying when you don't have one. We suggest our Felt Laundry Hamper - perfect for your baby's nursery, collapsable, soft and safe, and oversized for all your loads.
Nursery Storage: It's not essential to keep your nursery organized, especially when you might not have many things to organize to begin with! But if you want to feel less stressed about the space, invest in some organization. Felt Storage Cubes are perfect for books and toys, a Rope Storage Basket is ideal for blankets and stuffed animals, and any one of our Caddies can organize any space! See our nursery organization options here.
Nursing Chair: Of course, you can use your couch or bed as your nursery "chair" for a while - but it's definitely not as kind on your back. If you want something that will stay in your baby's nursery and feel more comfortable, invest in a nursing chair! Check out 2023's best nursing chair options here.
The Fun Stuff
The fun stuff - the baby products you don't really need, but you really really want. And there's no shame in that! You are free to buy these as the money is available - just make sure to prioritize the necessities and nice-to-haves first;)
Cute Seasonal Outfits: Seasonal outfits for babies make me melt! But they are often expensive and hard to find cute hand-me-downs for. Definitely not necessary - but so adorable.
Aesthetic Nursery Decor: You have your dream nursery all planned out, and now it's time to make it a reality. But sometimes your incredible vision is expensive, especially with trending decor costing a pretty penny. Don't put these at the top of your priorities, as hard as it is to wait!
Non-Essential Baby Accessories: You can't deny it, baby bows and headbands are the cutest things that really pull an outfit together. But they are definitely not necessary. Neither are newborn shoes or baby hats!
Seasonal Books and Toys: Again, if they are seasonal, don't make them a priority. Your baby won't remember the toys you got them when they were 6 months old, so only buy that yard sprinkler or Christmas themed board book if you have the extra money to spare.
Dirty Diaper Holder: Many moms don't even use a dirty diaper holder, and regret buying one! Honestly, it's not that difficult to take your baby's dirty diapers out to the trash each time. Plus, some dirty diaper holders can make your nursery smell over time - no thank you.
Lesser Known Budgeting Hacks for New Moms...
Now that we've covered the basics, it's time to get into the weeds. We bet you didn't know these lesser known budgeting hacks! Check out our 9 hacks below...
1. Don't Buy Crib Pillows, Toys, or Bumpers
If you didn't know already, it's unsafe for your baby to sleep with anything! Blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, and bumpers can suffocate your baby in the night. If you're worried about your baby staying warm, invest in a sleep sack. Your baby will sleep better and safer without all the extras!
2. Don't Buy Newborn Sizes
Let's be real - you do not know what size your baby will be when they pop out. A lot of babies are already too big for newborn sizes when they're born, or they quickly outgrow them within a few weeks! Instead, buy 0-3 month sizes - they will likely fit just fine, and your baby can use them longer.
3. Make Your Own Baby Food In Bulk
It's not that difficult to make your own baby food, and doing so could save you so much on expensive baby food pouches or jars. The key is to make your baby's food in bulk, so you're not boiling fruits and vegetables every day.
4. Save Money On Diapers!
Sam, Parker Baby Co.'s founder, has basically mastered the art of saving money on diapers after having 4 kids. He shares his secrets in this article - make sure to check it out if you don't want to waste a fortune on diapers.
5. Don't Hurry to Buy a Breastfeeding Wardrobe
Maybe your maternity clothes fit you perfectly, but don't think a breastfeeding wardrobe will be the same. Breastfeeding bras are often more expensive, and you can find regular bras with clasps for much cheaper.
6. Don't Buy Infant Shoes!
As cute as those tiny shoes are, your baby has no need for them - they don't walk! You really don't need to buy your baby shoes until they start walking, which will save you tons.
7. Buy Multipurpose Baby Products
If you can buy multipurpose baby products, do it. For instance, try to find a stroller/car seat combo, so you can easily snap your car seat in. Another example is our Multi-Use Covers - they quadruple as nursing covers, car seat covers, grocery cart covers, and high chair covers. That means you'll buy one product and save money on purchasing all 4 - mom win!
8. Keep a Car Caddy
Accidents and blowouts happen on the go too, so it's important to be prepared. Instead of spending extra money on last-minute items at a convenient store, keep a car caddy to hold all the essentials: an extra set of clothes, diapers, wipes, cream, snacks, and bandaids.
9. Breast Pumps Can Be Covered By Insurance!
As you're hunting for the perfect baby products for you and baby, keep in mind: breast pumps can often be covered or refunded by insurance. Contact your health insurance and they can most likely cover you for the breast pump you need! Another mom hack - pumping supplies can also be covered by insurance later on, so when your equipment inevitably wears out you won't have to pay for supplies or a replacement ;)
Learn As You Go!
You are a new mama, and you are doing amazing by wanting to budget your money wisely to begin with. You're going to make mistakes! And that is okay. Sometimes you might spend money on something you regret, and other times you'll wish you bought something sooner. It's all a learning process, so give yourself some grace as you prepare for your little one
We Now Offer Shop Pay!
At Parker Baby Co., we're here to make your life easier as a wonderful mama, which is why we now offer Shop Pay, a way to pay for your baby products in monthly installments. You'll be able to pace your spending and boost your credit score by taking on a payment (double mom win)! Try it out the next time you buy from Parker Baby Co. 🙌
Before you go, check out our best selling baby products - approved and loved by new moms everywhere!