Being a mother is one of the most rewarding jobs anyone will ever experience. But it is also one of the most expensive (yikes!). The good news is that with just a few simple adjustments to your financial habits, you can breathe a sigh of relief and get back to more important matters - like bonding with your new baby!
iCASH has put together six money management tips for new moms:
#1: Make a budget
We really don’t mean to sound like a broken record here but, making a proper budget should always be the first step in any changes to your finances. And your new bundle of joy will definitely mean major changes to your monthly finances! Between diapers and baby clothes and furniture, the costs can add up very quickly.
So, before the spending gets completely out-of-control, it’s important to jot down a realistic budget. If you need some help creating a proper budget, you can learn more about making a proper family budget here.
#2: Expect a drop in income
Here in Canada, we are fortunate to have great maternity and paternity leaves and benefits. The one downside, though, is the drop in income. However, with the proper planning and budgeting (there’s that word again!), the income drop can be quite manageable.
The first step would be to see which expenses can be cut from the monthly budget. For example, for the duration of your parental leave, you can be cutting in transit costs to and from work. Perhaps you can also cut back on dining out for a while. And, as any new mom knows, beauty spending goes completely out the window for the foreseeable future! Your best bet is to go through your recurring expenses and see where you can trim some excess spending temporarily.
#3: Choose needs over wants
A classic mistake that many first parents make is over buying things that baby “needs”. The truth is, babies don’t “need” all that much “stuff”. There are a few essentials, such as a crib, a car seat, clothing, etc… but there are baby stores filled with a zillion other items and it can get confusing as to which items are necessary and which are just nice to have.
A great place to start would be to talk to other moms in your circle of friends and ask them which items they found absolutely necessary and which ones they felt were less important. Then take a minute to jot everything down in order of importance.
Next, take another minute to figure out a timeline of when these items are important. For example, a car seat is both necessary and needs to be purchased before baby arrives. But a stroller, while also very important, won’t be needed for at least several weeks after baby is born since you might not be taking walks for at least a few weeks.
Making a comprehensive list of what items need to be purchased and when is a great way to stay on track and on budget!
#4: Seek out second-hand
When it comes to baby clothes, opt for second-hand. Babies grow so quickly during the first year that, not only is it very expensive to keep up with their growth spurts, but most of the clothing barely even gets worn! Which means that second-hand items are often so gently used that they are like-new!
So take a minute to check out your local second-hand stores and say “yes” to your mom-friends that are offering you bags and bags of hand-me-down clothing. You can always buy a few new outfits for when you want to show baby off to your friends and family but, when just chilling around the house, you will be grateful for the extra, inexpensive clothing!
Baby clothes aren’t the only items that can easily be found in second-hand stores and thrift shops. Big ticket items such as strollers and cribs are also much less expensive when purchased second-hand. Just be careful buying used items such as car seats and mattresses. Car seats, for example, have expiry dates so, if purchasing second-hand, make sure you check the expiry date to make sure it is still up to code in Canada.
#5: Sign up for free stuff
From baby food to diapers, formula to shampoos, there are many items up for grabs - completely FREE! It doesn’t get less expensive than that! Sites such as Canadian Free Stuff have grouped all of the different coupons and free sample items by category.
So you can simply type a word like “diaper” in the search bar and find all of the diaper companies sending free items and samples. Pampers, for example, will send out a “newborn diaper kit” to all new moms that sign up on their website.
Another easy way to save some money is to use coupon apps such as Checkout 51 or Save.ca, which have entire sections devoted to “baby” items like formula and shampoo. With a few simple clicks, you can reduce your grocery and baby paraphernalia bills significantly.
#6: Make your own food
Baby food is one of the top-most expenses (next to diapers!). Formula is extremely expensive. If at all possible, plan to breastfeed. It is free and will reduce enormously on monthly expenses during that first year!
Once baby starts on solids, making homemade baby food is much easier than many people think. It is just boiling and pureeing vegetables and fruits. That’s it. And don’t be fooled into thinking you need to buy that expensive, fancy baby-food pureeing machine. A simple blender does the trick just fine!
Becoming a parent is one of the most joyful and exciting times you will ever experience. It is an exhilaration that shouldn’t be shadowed by financial stresses.
These tips and tricks are meant to ease the financial difficulties of being a first-time parent but, if you need to borrow money for baby expenses, iCASH.ca is available 24/7 (even during a 3 am feeding!).
We are secure, easy, and our applications can be completed quickly before the baby wakes up again!