A baby is expensive! What can I do to reduce these costs while still providing a good upbringing?
Being a parent is enough hard work without having to worry about financial strains as well. This is where forward-looking arrangements come into play. In the United States, maternity leave benefits last up to six months, in Canada it can be up to one year. Consult your workplace regarding any company-provided benefit plans that have to do with infant care and pediatric coverage. This can significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenses, and lessen the worry when and if your child needs medical attention.
If you are expecting a child, that automatically gives you at least nine months to make a realistic and reasonable financial plan. A smart way to reduce costs when expecting or raising a small child is obvious. Hand-me-downs and thrift store items are a great way to cut costs and can offer discounts on anything from cribs to clothing to toys. Besides, your baby will not know, nor care, if his or her crib has had a previous owner, neither should you. You can make your own baby food (which is also healthier), and make your own baby furniture (nothing says I love you like a home-made mobile!). If you need day care, find out if there is a less-costly (but certified) childcare provider in your community. This will be cheaper and more convenient for you on a day-to-day basis.
Truth be told, any expense you spend on your baby can be easily justified and will always be worth the price you pay for having a baby (the same can be said for childbirth, but let’s not go there!). What is most important to decide is what the baby needs versus what you want the baby to have. Spoiling your child when you do not have the means to do so doesn’t help anything and is actually a common cause for debt problems, so don’t let it happen to you.