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Baby Expenses

My husband and I had our baby girl in 2011 and I’ve decided to track the baby expenses on Couple Money as we’re going through this process from pregnancy to graduation. Some wonderful bloggers have decided to join in the fun and share their own stories, tips, and advice on what works, what doesn’t, and what’s not worth stressing over.

Join In the Baby Expenses Series

Are you a parent or a parent to be with some helpful advice or stories? Please go ahead and join in on the fun, there are 4 ways you can be a part of it:

  1. Leave your tips in the comment section. I  love reviewing thoughtful comments from readers. Some topics have several ‘right’ answers and I think sharing different view points can be helpful.
  2. Submit your stories for future posts. As you know, baby and expenses can cover a variety of topics. If you have a short story or some tips you want to share, please submit them. If you’re a blogger, please share your site’s address with the email so I can credit you if you want.
  3. Write a blog post about your experience. Please include a link in your bio for your site and if you have a relevant post on your site, please link to it in your post.
  4. Share you favorite posts with friends. If you have a favorite post, please share them with your friends who are expecting. I’ve included share buttons for Facebook and Twitter to make it easier and you can always email them your favorite posts as well. If you think it’s a great for them, please encourage your friends to sign up and receive updates through RSS or directly to their inbox. It’s free and an easy way for them to keep up with the latest posts on Couple Money.

If you’re expecting or raising a newborn, I wish you and your family the best!

How to Budget for Your Baby

couple money baby girl

Even though it’s still a few months away, we’re counting down the arrival of our second daughter this winter. Having gone through this a few years ago, we’re not as stressed with getting ready. Becoming parents has been a wonderfully big change in our lives and we’re eager to see what will happen next as we become a family of four.

Speaking of finances and family, I’m excited to mention that Daily Finance interviewed us for their new Lifestage Lesson series about how we prepared for our first baby and what we’ve learned for our next one. The team spent the day at home and getting a close-up view of how we manage. Come check us out in the video!

elle baby fund daily finance

If you can’t see the video above, here’s the direct link

Why Have a Baby Fund?

What expenses can you expect? Every family is different, but here are some bills we’re expecting for our upcoming arrival:

  • Hospital Bills: Our insurance changed with this next child, so we will be having a higher hospital bill. :( The good news is that our OB appointments are cheaper this time around, so we aren’t feeling too squeezed.
  • Baby Gear: Though we plan on having all the essential ready, we want to have some buffer in case we’re misisng anything (every baby is different).
  • No Work for a Month: Based on the last time around, I’m estimating that I’ll be away from work for about a month.

There’s no way we can anticipate every expense, but we have some peace of mind knowing that we have a system in place.

Tips on How to Save for Your Baby

You can get more details in the video, but I just want to highlight some tips to help you get ready for the arrival of your little one.

  • Start an Automated Savings Plan: For us automated savings is a wonderful solution to not only keep us on track for our goals, but it saves us time. We’re using Capital One 360 to build our fund.
  • Let Your Network  of Family and Friends Help: It does take a village to raise a child, so welcome help  whenever you can. We were grateful when loved ones offered their talents and helped us get ready for our little one. Several friends contributed to preparing the nursery including painting, decorating, and even giving handmade art pieces.
  • Examine Your Work Situation: Childcare can be a huge expense, so sit down before the little one arrives to see what would be best for you and your family. Being self employed we had to look at whether I could finish my work while having her with me.

Thoughts on Savings for a Baby

Whether or not you start a baby fund separate from other savings, the important take away is having savings can help you with this big transition. You can focus on your bundle of joy instead of sweating over the finances.

Baby Girl on the Way!!!

baby girl parents again

I’m excited to announce that we are expecting another baby girl! We just had the ultrasound this week and we were so happy to get another look at our baby. We took our little one (can’t believe she’s 3 already!) with us so she could watch the ‘baby tv’. Watching her reaction to the baby that was on the screen was priceless.

We’ve been asking her if she wants a baby brother or sister and most times, she’s said sister. So happy the new one obliged, lol :) (I think it’s because of Frozen that she wants a little sister. She calls the baby Elsa or Anna, depending on her mood.)

I wish I could say this pregnancy has been smooth sailing, but it hasn’t. Like the first time, morning sickness has been a constant companion and there have been quite a few days I’ve been so sick and exhausted that I had to stay in bed. I dropped some weight and the doctors have been keeping an eye on me. Thank goodness for Ensure, or else I would’ve starved. :P

After trying out both over the counter and prescriptions to help, we’ve found something that has allowed me to start living and eating again. I still have bad days, but I don’t have to hide anymore when food is around. Hopefully things will subside and I can enjoy the rest of the pregnancy. The important thing is our baby girl is healthy and growing.

Don’t Trust Those Baby Gender Myths

Like last time, people were eager to share their guesses on whether the baby was a boy or a girl. I think I’m a little more laid back with the whole thing, so I’ve been writing down what people have been saying. Apparently I gave off the impression that I was having a baby boy by some of my symptoms, such as:

  • Carrying low
  • My skin has been great
  • Big sweet tooth (on the days I did eat)
  • Narrow face (think that’s due to the weight loss)
  • Prefer to rest on my left side (huh?)
  • Dry hands

What’s funny is that some people say the opposite with these symptoms (like the sweet tooth one). Meh, I guess it’s one way to pass the time. Even with being interrogated by some experts, most people guessed the wrong gender.

Oh well.

For us, our big concern was the baby being healthy so we got our wish and we’re so excited to meet our little one come wintertime.

Tracking Baby Expenses Again

One of change that they baby will bring is the return of baby expense series. When we first found out we were going to be parents, we had no idea how big of an impact a baby would be to our (financial) lives. Happy to report the first go around wasn’t a huge change.
We built a baby fund to handle an big expenses like the hospital bill, but we had some left over. That money ended up going towards the car replacement.

We’re doing the same thing with this little – building a baby fund and if any is left over, putting it towards another goal. Unless something comes up it will be going towards paying off the student loan.

Share Your Stories

So happy to share our big news; I’d to hear yours. How are you doing so far? What has been the big events of 2014 for you and your family?

How Much is Our Toddler Costing Us?

One of popular series here on Couple Money is the Baby Expenses series. I started it when we first found out that we were expecting a little as a way to track our spending and to get other parents’ expenses with their little ones. As we shared the changes in our finances, we had many parents share their stories and tips on how to keep the bills in check.

I decided to do an update since our baby girl moved from a being a baby to transitioning into a toddler. While some expenses have been fairly consistent, we have learned a bit more about how to optimize our expenses.

Diapers and Wipes

After our little one turned 1, we decided to try mixing up disposable diapers with clothe. I ordered a pack from Fuzzibunz to get us started (about $60). I wish I could say we made the switch to completely clothe, but that didn’t happen.

I’ve used clothe around the house with her and she hasn’t really noticed a difference. However, cleaning the clothe diaper is holding me back from using it full time. I waffle back and forth between clothe and diaper, hoping to get more comfortable with the clothe. When we go out, though, it’s just convenient to use the disposable ones. We’ll still keep using clothe (at least until she’s potty trained).

That debate aside, the cost of diapers have been fairly insignificant in regards to our budget. We use Amazon to subscribe and save on our disposables. We order about a box every 2 months for about $38 which is very affordable. As for wipes, we found that Costco’s own Kirkland brand wipes to be a great deal. For about $20/box we have a couple of months of wipes covered.

Sharing Foods with Our Little Ones

One of my favorite parts of being a parent is sharing new things with our daughter. Since she started eating solids we have tried to keep her menu similar to what we eat as a way to share meals together. She loves a little bit of spice with her meals. While she has preferences for certain foods, she will at least try something.

As far as finances go, we’ve only seen a bit of a bump in our food budget – when she is watched by others I have a lunch ready for her. The good news is that having a little one has pushed us to eat healthier a bit more. Using The Produce Box has helped us to have more fresh foods in our diet and reduce our stops by the stores to pick up snacks (usually the junk food kind).

Looking Cute While Saving on Clothes

Like many parents, we love to dress our little one up in cute outfits. I’ve been guilty of grabbing some clothes from the store that I thought would look so adorable with our girl.

One option that has worked well for us is picking up gently used clothes over to a consignment store. The wonderful thing about baby and toddler clothes is that they are hardly used as many little ones outgrow them in such a short period of time.

I’ve had outfits where it was a bit big one week and the next time she wears it, she’s already outgrown it. Most of her clothes are practically new. Using the consignment stores lets us get several outfits and some shoes for the price of a couple at the store.

We also are extremely grateful to our friends who have shared their kids’ outgrown clothes. It’s perfect since we have plenty of play and dressy clothes. Not having to buy all of her clothes allows us to grab the little extra something when we’re at the store and still stay within budget. It also allows us to use the money saved for other items that she needs now and for the future.

Who’s Watching The Kid?

Childcare can be a huge expense for parents. For us, though, we have bypassed this bill for now. One of the decisions we made during the pregnancy was that I was going to try to watch our baby girl while being self-employed.

Part of it was due to my desire to spend time with our baby girl during the day. Having decided to try to keep our necessary living expenses until one income meant that we had the flexibility to try it. So far it has worked out – adjustments have been made as we tried to find a schedule that balances my work and my childcare responsibilities.

Thoughts on Raising a Toddler

I’d really love to hear from other parents about the joys and the challenges of raising their little ones. If you can, please share the numbers. I’m the main care provider for our baby girl, so I’d appreciate parents who use daycare, nannies, and other options to share their expenses.

Anybody Looking for Baby Clothes?

As part of my to do list of small goals, I’ve started cleaning the house room by room. Right now I’m in the middle of cleaning and reorganizing the nursery. I’m amazed at how much stuff our baby girl has. Being the first grand-baby we have received a tom of gifts from family and some great hand me downs from friends.

The problem is that as our baby gets older, we’re stuck with boxes of stuff that she can’t use anymore. That means we have to decide what to do with all of this stuff. I’d hate for it to be simply stored when there are so many alternatives.  baby clothes and gear

Consign Baby Clothes

One option that is looking good for me is taking some of the gently used clothes over to a consignment store and see if I can earn a bit of money. The wonderful thing about baby clothes (and the sad part as well) is that they are hardly used.

I’ve had outfits where it was a bit big one week and the next time she wears it, she’s already outgrown it. Most of her clothes are practically new. Consigning some of the clothes could give us store credit that we can then use to on future clothes and gear.

I could also throw a yard sale in theory, but practically speaking I don’t really have the space or energy to run one.

Share with Friends

One option I’m really looking at it continuing the sharing. I do have a couple of friends with baby girls a bit younger than my little one that could use clothes (or not -I’ll call and find out). Besides the outfits I also have items like a like new swing, stander, and toys.

I think I’ll give a heads up to my friends first to see if they could use any of this baby gear before I do anything else.

Donate Baby Stuff

I can also donate the baby clothes and gear to a local charity or a bigger outfit like Goodwill. Besides getting a tax deduction, I’d also be doing some good.

Sell It on Ebay

Finally I’ve also thought about selling a few bags on Ebay, perhaps grouping it by size so other parents can get a bundle in one shot. I’d call my sister as she’s been an Ebay seller for awhile and has had some good success.

Thoughts on Handling Baby Gear You Don’t Need Anymore

Once everything is cleaned up and I’ve contacted my buddies, I’ll update here. I’d love to hear from other parents. For those who have had to deal with old baby clothes and gear, what did you do?

 

Wills, Guardianship, and Estate Planning

I’m happy to report we’ve made some real progress with one of our big goals this year. Last week we consulted with a local attorney about getting our wills created and we discussed our wishes on estate planning and guardianship.

This is something that had to get done (and done right) and I’m a bit embarrassed that we took so long to get to it. Part of my problem was that I was worried about finding the perfect lawyer and used that as an excuse to not get this important stuff done.

Who could say no to a smile like this?! Love my baby girl :)

With some encouragement from fellow personal finance bloggers, I consulted the NC bar site and used their referral service to find a specialist.

Getting Our Wishes Down for Our Wills

The appointment itself went pretty smoothly. It helped that my husband and I discussed some of our big wishes. That didn’t mean we had all the answers though. What is nice with working with a qualifying attorney is that you can sit down with them and go over different scenarios and they can explain all of your options.

We learned quite a bit about what a will can cover and what it can not. Basically a will:

  • Name executor(s): Besides naming each other as executor, we also named back-ups should we both die. It’s an important decision and we listed people with whom we have complete trust. We also asked them if they’d be up for the task, which they said they would.
  • Name guardians for our daughter: This by far was the most important part to us.

I learned that a will doesn’t cover some things, including the proceeds of our life insurance policies and IRAs that we’ve already named a beneficiary.

Much of the process was simply getting every thing down in writing. In case one of us dies, the other is formally named as the beneficiary. Should both of us die, we named beneficiaries the primary,of course, being our baby girl.

Naming Guardians for Our Little One

For us, naming the guardians for our little one was the biggest decision in this process. It was something we really discussed (you can click on the link above and see our thought process on picking a guardian) and make sure we and they were both happy with.

We’re happy that our first choice accepted and we wanted to make sure that our will reflected our intentions to help make the difficult transition a bit easier for everyone involved should both of us die. That meant leaving a small lump sum to take care of any financial expenses with the guardianship.

Thoughts on Wills, Guardianship, and Estate Planning

For those who are parents, how many of you have updated your will and financial planning for your little ones? How was the process for you? Did you go with a local attorney or did you do it yourselves?