When we decided to have a baby, we originally calculated it would cost thousands of dollars between medical care, supplies, increased grocery and clothing costs, etc. My husband is still in school and I decided to stay at home after graduating to prepare for baby, so our income isn’t exactly abundant. It was pretty daunting, but we decided it was worth it to have a little babe in our family 🙂
However, I have yet to see the bills rack up that high because of a lot of small, simple tricks that I’ve found over the past few months. So here you go, use what you can to help make having a baby affordable for your family!
- Government help. *Please note that I am not an expert in this, but I am sharing what I do know/have experienced. In nursing school, I saw so many patients who were on Medicare or Medicaid and thought there was no way I would ever use either of those programs, but here we are folks! Medicaid is for those who have an income below a certain amount per month depending on your household size. Your state’s Health Department or Department of Workforce Services can help you find out if you qualify and help you apply. Here are some tips and programs I have found really helpful in Utah:
- Baby Your Baby: This is a program that puts moms on temporary medical coverage until they receive official qualification for Medicaid. Just call and they will be happy get you started!
- Medicaid: Baby Your Baby can help you with the application process for Medicaid. Once you qualify, you have to select a provider (they will give you the options for your area). This was unexpected to me, so now it won’t be for you! Make sure to call any provider you currently see or will see (OB/GYN, Dentist, Hospital, Pediatrician, etc.) to make sure they accept the provider you sign up for. If you already have an insurance plan (generally you can still be on your parent’s insurance until you are about 26 yrs old), then Medicaid will become your secondary insurance. Meaning, they will first bill your primary insurance, then Medicaid. Fortunately for you, Medicaid means you shouldn’t receive ANY bills for your prenatal, hospital, or delivery care. If you still qualify for Medicaid after your baby is born, then they can be added to your plan according to your state’s policies. Just call the medicaid office and let them know that you had your baby and they will tell you what to do (I haven’t done this yet, but can update it once I do know). This is really helpful because your parent’s insurance will generally only cover your care, not your baby’s care, so Medicaid will be your baby’s only insurance once they are born.
- WIC (Women, Infants, and Children): WIC is a program that helps supplement your grocery bill with healthy foods, basically. Once you qualify, you will receive checks for a couple months at a time (usually 3) that you can use to purchase certain items. Some examples include 100% juice, milk, cheese, fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, and yogurt. If you cannot breastfeed, they can help you buy formula. The checks you get change depending on your children’s age, health status, and your health status (for example, you get different foods once you start breastfeeding). You can apply for WIC once you find out you are pregnant. If you qualify for Medicaid, then you qualify for WIC. However, if you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you should ask anyways if you qualify for WIC because their income limits may differ from those for Medicaid, depending on your state. The only thing you have to do in return for the grocery checks is attend educational classes and meet with a dietitian every few months so they can monitor your health status. So far, their classes have been super helpful, like their breastfeeding class!
- Be thrifty. I love that this is one of the Boy Scouts’ mottos because it is so important to learn how to be thrifty with everything in life. When I think of thrifty, I think of thrift stores. You can go the second-hand stores, like Deseret Industries, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. When using second-hand stores, I try to avoid any that are for-profit because they tend to jack up prices too much. Or, you can go to stores that sell new products for cheap from other companies, like Ross, TJ Max, etc. Yet another option is online buy/sell groups, like KSL, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. You shouldn’t ever be afraid to ask for a more reasonable price wherever you go, especially if you know the product has been damaged or is priced above retail value. Usually the stores will work with you. I have found amazing deals on high-quality items at thrift stores over the years, from furniture to clothes to puzzles! When I get rid of items at home, I usually try to sell them online first, especially items like textbooks, furniture, etc. You can usually get at least something for what you are giving away. Like they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure! It’s so true!! Although it’s nice to get some cash off your “junk,” I always like to donate my clothing because it’s my way of giving back to the community. All of these places are great resources for baby items. You just may have to look a little harder for what you need.
- Ask around/borrow items. If you are needing specific baby items, make sure to ask around! Lots of people have babies, so who knows! Your next door neighbor might be wishing someone would come take her old pack and play :). If you think you might need something, but aren’t sure (for example, a pack and play or baby carrier), ask if you can borrow one from a neighbor to try it out. That way you don’t end up spending unnecessary money on items you won’t use. I really enjoyed being able to babysit a lot growing up so that I could try out different baby items. For example, the little mesh food holders for toddlers that I thought were so cool were actually a huge mess! Good thing I learned that before buying any for my baby!
- Get free baby samples! Lots of baby stores offer a free baby box when you create a registry with them. I used Target, Amazon, Buy Buy Baby, and Walmart and got a bunch of diapers, wipes, pacifiers, baby lotion and soaps, nursing pads, etc. from my free baby boxes. It was great! Just a FYI, you do have to go in to the physical store to get your baby box from pretty much everywhere except Amazon. Another place that offers a free baby box is BabyList, but you have to pay about $5 for shipping. I decided not to pay the $5, but you might decide to 🙂
- Have a Baby Shower. Chances are, someone you know will want to throw you a baby shower. It’s a great time to let people know what you are still needing and get a couple fun gifts for you and baby! Plus, you get to have fun spending time with friends and family! If having a typical baby shower sounds boring to you, try doing a girls night in celebration of baby. For example, do nails, face masks, and watch a movie. Or, go get pedicures or ice cream together.
- Wait to get certain things until after baby comes. In my other post about having a baby in a small space, I made a list of the essentials for mom and baby right at first. If you resist the urge to get more items than necessary, two things will likely happen. One, you will spend less money (less things=less money!). Two, you will be able to figure out what you actually need and what you can live without.
Hopefully this list has given you some ideas of how to save money with having a baby. I hope I can help more people understand that having a baby really doesn’t have to be expensive with the right planning and resources.