Baby on Board: Our Budget with a Baby

Baby on Board: Our Budget with a Baby

My husband and I just had our baby girl this summer and it has been wonderful so far (now that we’re getting some sleep). Before she arrived we had asked family and friends for their advice and their opinions on what we needed to do to get ready. We received some wonderful suggestions, but as you probably know actually becoming parents has been a big adjustment and one thing we have had to do is prepare for our budget with a baby.

Something I’ve heard repeatedly was how expensive kids can be.

For those expecting their first baby (congrats!), I’d like share a snapshot of our family’s budget from before we had the baby and our budget now as parents. I hope it can help you be better prepared financially.

Our Pre-Baby Budget

Here’s a snapshot of a typical month before we were pregnant last year:

  • Housing: $1140.75
  • Utilities: $135.66
  • Food/Groceries: $480.08
  • Cell Phones: $149.40
  • Student Loan: $156.63
  • Auto/Transportation: $234.01
  • Health Insurance: $202.12
  • Shopping: $97.12
Total:$2,595.77

Our expenses remained fairly steady since we bought the house a year and a half ago with the exception of baby supplies we’ve bought.

Baby on Board

Looking at the previous 2 months, here’s what our expenses looked like according to Mint:

  • Housing: $1,140.75
  • Utilities: $196.38
  • Food/Groceries: $422.88
  • Cell Phones: $149.40
  • Student Loan: $156.63
  • Auto/Transportation: $227.83
  • Health Insurance: $386.66
  • Shopping: $214.02

Total: $2894.97

As you can see most of our bills have remained the same. However, some bills have changed to accommodate our little one such as health insurance. I want to mention that I’m not including the labor and delivery medical bill for 2 reasons:

  • It’s a one time expense.
  • We were reimbursed for the majority of it.

As an added bonus, we managed to a 15% discount on the total bill by paying it all promptly. After getting our reimbursement, our out of pocket expenses for the doctor and hospital bills was less than $200.

Keeping Our Baby Expenses Reasonable

I want to quickly review the biggest changes we noticed in our monthly budget and what plans we have on keeping it reasonable.

Health Insurance

This expense has gone up considerably with our daughter being added to my husband’s policy. The premiums for our family plan is now $93.33 each paycheck instead of the $101.06 my husband had deducted. That’s an extra $200 each month, but the good news is that our policy covers the baby’s well visits 100%.

I don’t see this expense going down in the near future. We’ll continue to look for ways to reduce our out of pocket expenses like we did with the hospital bill.

Food/Groceries

The amount is approximately the same, but the allocation has changed up a bit. I didn’t notice how much we ate out last year, but looking back I saw we spent $150 or so each month for dinners out. Now most of our food budget is going towards groceries including our weekly produce deliveries.

Since I’m breastfeeding, we have to make sure my diet is full of healthy calories. We still eat out, but it’s definitively different now with many evenings in. We enjoy spending more meals at home, but as the baby gets older we’ll be going out more. My hope is that we take advantage of specials and coupons to those expenses down.

Shopping

Our biggest recurring expense will definitely be diapers. To keep them reasonable, I’ve signed up for Amazon Mom. I’ve heard good things from other blogging parents and saving 30% on diapers is significant.

Though we’re using disposable diapers now, we are considering doing a test run of cloth diapers. We are not only looking at the affects of that on our finances, but would also like to be more environmentally friendly.

Thoughts on Babies and Family Budgets

As we get into the swing of things, we’ll discover what advice and tips have proved helpful for our family’s finances (and more). So far our friends and family has been a tremulous help by sharing their experiences. I hope we can do the same for other new parents.

I’d love to hear from you. How many of you are parents? What has helped you save money and/or time with the baby?

This is an article written by Elle who authors the site Couple Money.

29 comments to Baby on Board: Our Budget with a Baby

  • Zero Passive Income

    Wow it’s interesting that you grocery bill actually fell by just a little bit. I would have thought that this would have increased dramatically with a child on board.

    Kudos for your budget!

    • ZPI We’ve had less time to go shopping on whims, so I think that’s a factor with our lower grocery bills. We have to plan our grocery list and move in and out quickly at the store before our daughter gets cranky.

      I’m curious to see how this changes through this first year.

    • Jon -- Free Money Wisdom

      I am with you there! I, too, would have thought the grocery bill would have sky-rocketed. Perhaps with little time on your hands you don’t have the time or energy to consume food? Haha. That encourages me to hold off on having a baby for awhile. :)

  • I agree – health insurance and diapers are our only additional expenses. Our baby is 7 mos. old and doesn’t really need anything. Our “going out” expenses are probably a lot lower now too, because, well, we go out a lot less.

    So it all evens out…if you want kids, you find a way to make it work. I never heard of anyone who really wanted a child and decided not to because of financial reasons!

    • I’ve had some conversations this past weekend about the cost of raising kids. There are situations where their upbringing involves a big adjustment in the budget (health problems for example) . However many frugal couples seem not to notice a big change.

      We’ll be recording our baby expenses on our site to hopefully get feedback from other parents and their experiences.

  • Yes the two best times in our child’s life (financially of course), when they got out of diapers and out of child care. Big money drains those two are :)

    • Haha, I can understand! We are amazed at how many diapers she’s going through! Using Amazon Mom has been a big help at keeping the expenses low.

      • We’re using cloth, not a disposable in sight.

        My inlaws gave us 6 weeks of diaper service (they pick up the dirty ones and replace with clean / laundered inserts) and we added 2 more weeks so we won’t have to deal w/ poopy diapers for a few months.

  • The Amazon mom tips were awesome! Even though I’m a future dad (no rug rats yet) this seems like a really quick and easy way to save some serious cash.

  • Great post. Mrs. YFS and I were just talking about this today. We plan on having a child next year and we were wondering how our budget would change.

    • We saved up during the pregnancy to smooth out any rough patches in our budget since we didn’t have any idea how it would go. So far, so good. We know it can change at any time so we’re keeping the money in savings for a bit.

  • Lead Generation

    Great lesson learns from experiences.. Budgeting is really not easy especially that you have babies in the house..

  • With a baby, the major expense initially will be diapers. I would not expect much change in your monthly expenses. As the baby grows, your expenses will also increase. You will eventually spend more money in clothes, food, education, vacation, toys, etc. You should save now if you can.

  • USM, We saved a bit for unexpected expenses. It’s our intention to keep tracking expenses so others can get an idea of how a baby can affect budgets.

    Being the first grand-baby, we’re fortunate to get some goodies from our parents :)

  • Congrats on the new baby!! I will have to pass along Amazon Mom to some friends of mine that are due next week, I have heard about the expense of diapers, so that may be useful for them!

  • Romeo

    The one thing that I noticed about parenting, at least in the beginning, is that most of the expenses come from the things that we “want” for our children. Because they grow out of clothes so fast, the Goodwill or hand me downs are a great option. Also, kids play with anything, so toys are not necessary.

    • Good point Romeo. We did get some new items (like furniture) for our kid that we thought would last for years. For items like clothes we did get a lot as gifts, some we bought, but we also have a huge amount of hand me downs and consignment items. Our daughter has already outgrown some things so spending top dollar on clothes doesn’t make too much sense for us.

    • I agree. Babies don’t ask for anything, just love, food and sleep. The expenses are because we get carried away. Great job on sticking with your budget Elle.

  • Justin; congrats to your friends. I hope the delivery goes well!

  • Bob Kwan

    Regarding the diapers:

    We used washable cloth almost exclusively with our first born for the first year. We washed them ourselves. We probably save a considerable sum of money, but more importantly, we save a ton of disposable diapers from ending up in the landfill.

    For our second child we used it less, as it became increasingly difficult to find time to do it. But we still tried.

    For our third child we used it for two weeks and then decided it was just too much work.

    So for one child like you, it might be worth trying out.

    • Interesting points Bob – it does get more difficult to find time when you have additional kids. I think we are hoping to have another child in time so hopefully the investment in diapers pays itself off 3x-4x. If we have 3 kids we may need to reconsider our choices. Perhaps they will have biodegradable diapers by then. One can hope.

  • That actually makes sense that the food bill will fall. Great job on the budget – I didn’t know about Amazon Mom in Canada?

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