If you’re a mommy to be, or a new mommy, who is worried because you’re a little on the tight side financially or if you are seriously lacking in the wallet, I wish I could invite you over and give you a big hug! Girlfriend, I have been there. I remember moments of panic when job losses, sickness and the crazy of life made me put my hand over my growing baby inside of me and wonder if I was crazy to think I could handle the cost of raising a little person when things were already so bad financially. I remember crying in the shower because I was so scared and felt alone and overwhelmed that I had no clue where to start. So, if you’re in that kind of place, just know that you aren’t alone and that there are many, many mommas out there who have been where you are and we now have healthy little people who grew up just fine. Sometimes the hand-me down clothes my babies got were worn even though they had stains or showed some signs of wear, and it turned out just fine. The Lord has a funny way of providing whatever you truly need for your baby.
1.Ask your hospital about financial assistance ahead of time. Sometimes this requires paperwork and documents that you might not feel like hunting down three weeks after you have a baby and you get that first bill.
2. Go on a tour of the hospital and ask lots of questions about what they provide, and if they charge for it. With Autumn, my hospital had so many things like diapers, Tucks pads, non-skid socks, some snacks in between meal times for new mommies, and I wasn’t charged a la carte for any of that. Apparently that isn’t normal at all hospitals, so even if you don’t feel like you need to see the facilities, it’s worth it for the financial knowledge. There is a great post I found on Pinterest that talks about questions to ask on a hospital tour that I found really helpful overall for my hospital where I’ll be having Logan.
3. Talk to your doctor about services you can forgo, but still do your research. My midwife in my OB’s practice suggested I get a pap smear done because I hadn’t had one since my pregnancy with Autumn. I asked her what it had to do with the pregnancy and she said it had nothing to do with the pregnancy, they were primarily checking for cervical cancer. I told her that exams made me very uncomfortable even without a baby in there, and that they made me spot, she said there was no reason I had to do one. There are a lot of little things that we did, like doing a fasting blood sugar test instead of the horrible glucose test, that saved us money without compromising my medical care. We also opted to avoid the extra screenings to see baby Logan’s likelihood for things like Downs, because my husband and I agreed that we didn’t need to know.
I highly encourage you to look at the whole picture before saying no to a procedure. Do your research and don’t just look at the money involved. Your health and your baby’s life, aren’t worth risking just to save a few bucks. Trust me on this, your husband would rather shell out more money than to lose one ,or both of you when it could have been prevented by talking to your doctor and doing research. Our medical decisions were decisions we made before looking at the finances, the fact that they saved us money were nice perks. We don’t play around with health here, and neither should you. That being said, you should also read this article for more information about services you can say no to at the hospital, for
4. Know what dollar amount you’ll be facing by estimating your costs. I wrote a whole post when I discovered that there were places you could find out the average cost of a delivery. Thank goodness for the internet! Knowing what you might be facing in practical terms, instead of an ominous unknown amount, is half your battle. You can’t plan for it unless you know what you’re planning for!
5. Read up and educate yourself! My blog isn’t the only one out there talking about how to save money, there are lots of smart mommas who know way more than me like these ladies:
- How to Save Thousands on Pregnancy Related Medical Bills – Live Like You Are Rich
- 11 Pregnancy Tips That Will Save you Thousands– Live Like You Are Rich
Buying Baby Gear and Supplies on a Budget
Okay, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel and spend paragraph after paragraph retelling you what dozens of bloggers have already written about, so first, here are a few posts that talk a lot about what your baby does, and doesn’t, need and ways you can be prepared without spending a lot:
- Having a Baby on a Budget: What a Baby Really Needs from Thinking outside the Sandbox
- How to Prepare for a Baby on a Small Budget from Double the Batch
- Having a Baby without Breaking the Bank from Money Saving Mom – one of my favorite blogs!
- …and read more as I find them on my Pinterest board dedicated to getting ready for baby, click here or follow it below.
So now – let me give you the skinny from one momma to another. There are two major ways to approach saving money on baby stuff: going reusable things and getting second hand things or going super frugalista and doing the disposable route. There is no shame in either approach. Let me say it again just in case: there is no shame in whatever you decide to do, as long as your family is taken care of.
If you’re staying at home with your new little one and have the time to learn how to coupon and do the drugstore game for diapers, then go for it! If you’re working outside the house (or heck, if you’re just not a couponer!) then reusable items and is the best way to go. For example, in my experience washing cloth diapers isn’t as time consuming as the time you will take figuring out deals, making calculations, shopping and driving to and from the store to get the best prices on disposable diapers. Does that make disposables better? In my situation right now, yes. Have I used disposables when I got them at rock bottom prices? Absolutely!
The same goes for breastfeeding vs formula. Now, I’ll say that breastfeeding is far cheaper than formula, but it is far from free. There are costs associated with breastfeeding, just like there are with formula so make sure you read up and really know what you’re getting yourself into when you decide to give it a go.
The next biggest expense you’ll probably have is baby clothes, if you don’t have hand-me downs coming from friends or doting grandparents who want to shower your kid with clothes at the drop of a hat. I personally don’t have a good kid’s consignment store in my small town, so I use Swap.com to buy my used stuff. The good thing is that there are a lot of great clothes that are mostly cheap and some of them are super trendy, which is nice. I also resell my used clothes back that I don’t decide to save for future kids to Swap and get credit, they pay the shipping and otherwise I would just donate it because I really don’t want to spend the time to manage one more thing like selling baby clothes on Ebay like some moms do. If that interests you, then by all means, have at it! You go girl! But it’s just not for me at this stage. I have gotten a lot of clothes credit on their site by sending them Autumn’s old clothes or things that were passed to her as hand-me-downs that weren’t her size or weren’t appropriate for how we choose to dress her. I may have also donated some of the onesies that were given to us for Logan because some of them were hideous and you can only use so many onesies in one size, so rather than have him wearing clothes I hated I sent them in and got credit for them to get something I wouldn’t cringe when I saw him wearing it. (Can you tell I’m not sentimental about gifts? My husband is so horrified sometimes, but that’s just me – practical when it comes to stuff.)
The Cost of Breastfeeding: It’s Not Free
It drives me crazy when people say that breastfeeding is free. Unless you have teeny tiny boobs and you’re happy to wear a sports bra all the time to accommodate little one when they want to nurse, you’re going to need a nursing bra. And realistically you really need two to make it by because, well, milk happens and you have to wash your bra sometime.
Seeking Help: My Experience with Medicare
I’m not looking to start a debate on Medicaid, who gets to use benefits, etc. I can only share my experience, which was that Medicaid saved us from financial hardship more than once when we really needed the help. When Autumn was born, my ex-husband had no job and since I’d been planning on staying home with the baby I also had no income. I had health insurance through my parents, but because of our low income we also qualified for Medicare. My parents’ health insurance had a very high deductible, but Medicare picked up the rest that we could not hope to afford. I know we ended up spending less than $1,000 in total medical care coverage for her hospital charges and mine for delivery. We also had one overnight hospital stay that was free to us when her bilirubin levels were too high and she needed to be admitted for fluids and the lights.
With baby Logan, I am also very glad we have the coverage. I have insurance, but it has a very high deductible which resets in December. Since there is no way my family will be maxing it out by February, we were looking at some pretty steep out of pocket costs for the birth. I have taken a step back from a lot of my work, reducing my income a lot, so things were pretty tight. Our new insurance also left us with some big expenses, our normal OB visits are $135 a piece – ouch! Since I’ve got a ton of those left to go, not to mention charges that will be there for ultrasounds and blood work, we were really starting to feel the pressure before I found out our income left us eligible for Medicare. Talk about a life saver! Luckily, my doctor was already in the network so I didn’t have to switch and Medicare covered the remainder of the costs for my doctor’s visits.