OMG, I'm pregnant! How do I budget for THAT?!
So first - I'm very happy to be pregnant after 14 months of infertility. This will be my husband & mine's first child. After 6 years of marriage I have FINALLY fine-tuned our budget so naturally, it's time to throw it into chaos. I would REALLY like some YNAB-ers examples of how to set up a budget for a family. Do baby and adult clothes come out of the same Clothes category? I'd buy baby food and diapers at the same time as groceries, so do I lump it all under the same category? Maybe I'm just too fixated on the nitty gritty details.
Congrats! Find a moms group or mommy and me. Gets lots of tips and maybe gently used equipment (crib, changing table, etc.). Our children didn't effect the budget that much really. I wasn't using YNAB, but I was budgeting. Diapers were about the most expensive add to the budget. I didn't create a new category, just increased laundry (made sense to me at the time). Tried cloth diapers, not worth the hassle for us. Didn't need super high quality diapers until babies were on baby food and cereal, then you'd better not be cheap with diaper brands. Don't invest a lot in clothing up front, the babies grow fast. We ended up with unworn clothes because of skipped sizes. Formula is expensive, would avoid as long as possible or altogether, lots of benefits of avoiding it besides saving money. Baby food is also expensive and doesn't taste good. We did a mix of baby food and home proceed food (small hand crank device for cooked veggies). We were lower income, so signed up for WIC and visited church charities often (free yard sale days for clothes). Lots of choices, experiment, see what's works for you!
Worse thing we ever owned was a diaper genie, just FYI.
I mean, that's entirely up to you. I have kid categories, but I also have lumped together categories. Like, clothes - we share one pool. For a baby, I'd probably do a little research to see how much stuff costs (I don't remember, I'm 100 years old with teenagers now). Like, newborns go through X many diapers a week, which costs somewhere around $X, create a category for it OR add that to your weekly groceries budget. You'll probably need a gear budget too. And eventually childcare? And, congrats, how exciting!!
Hello, This is a very exciting time for you. Congratulations!! If I was having another baby now, I would have a separate category for diapers and formula. I would just want food to be just food. For the rest of the budget anything that your baby will only use I would use a separate budget for. For example, laundry ( for more laundry use), water bill ( for additional bath users), car gas (for more trips for doctor visits, or kid classes) would be combined. I would just add more to the budget. Your childs' clothes, toys, baby food, or educational items would be separate. I hope this helps
Budgeting for a first baby is hard to plan because you don't know what it's really going to be like. (The same is true of sleep, socializing, sex, and pretty much everything else you care about. You have no idea. Whatever you're imagining, it's not going to be that. It will be better, worse, and completely different than your expectations.)
The main things you spend on when you are pregnant and when you have a new baby are: medical care, maternity clothes; baby gear (stroller/car seat/crib/ baby carrier/ breast pump/ etc), baby clothes, and diapers. Formula if you're going to use it, or if you want to have money set aside in case you decide to use it later. Some of this stuff you can plan for. If you have the kind of medical plan where you can find out what your copays will be for prenatal visits, labor and delivery, and newborn care, budget accordingly (leaving a hefty cushion for unexpected expenses). Look at maternity clothes online and in stores to get a sense of what you can get for how much money; take into account hand-me-downs and thrifting; and set a budget just like you would if you were shopping for a new fall wardrobe. Price out the gear you want/ need/ can afford, and budget for that too; adjust as needed if you get hand-me-down gear, find some thrift items, or get things at your registry (all of which are strongly recommended). Clothes, diapers, and formula are harder to estimate, and your best bet is to ask friends or look at mommy forums online to help you guesstimate for these. (With clothes, btw, I strongly encourage you to rely heavily on thrifting, discount stores, and gifts/hand-me-downs. It's so tempting to buy piles and piles of adorable little clothes, but the baby will wear them a handful of times before outgrowing them, and you'll need that money later. Splurge on a couple of super cute new things for photos or meeting new relatives if that's meaningful for you.)
I also suggest having a miscellaneous category for "prenatal + baby" which is heavily funded, for unexpected expenses, which will absolutely occur. If money is left in that later, you can move it other places.
Some of these categories will stick around for years. Gear is one - you might eventually want a potty, training pants, equipment for making or storing baby food, bigger or different baby carriers, baby gates, etc. You will also need a bed that's not a crib, a bigger car seat, etc. Clothes will be a neverending expense for the next 18 years. Some categories will go away, like formula and prenatal clothes (unless you get pregnant again ;) Some new categories will be added, like food, and activities or toddler classes if you're into those. So basically, you'll have to keep revisiting these categories every 6-12 months and making changes. When you do, you'll once again have to do research to help you figure out how much to budget for each category.
I highly recommend doing as much of the newborn budgeting as possible before the baby comes. Now, you are excited and energized, and planning how to spend money on your baby will feel good - like financial nesting. Later, you'll be too sleep deprived to do even the most basic math, and when you have two hands free at the same time you will want to eat a sandwich, not open YNAB.
Good luck, congratulations, and enjoy this time!
Purple Piccolo said:
Do baby and adult clothes come out of the same Clothes category? I'd buy baby food and diapers at the same time as groceries, so do I lump it all under the same category? Maybe I'm just too fixated on the nitty gritty details.
Not sure if anyone actually answered this part of the question - the answer is that it depends on how you want to track your spending. If it's important to you to know how much you're spending on baby clothes specifically, then make it a separate category. I'd suggest making it a separate category at first, because babies need new clothes so often and you will probably want to be paying attention to this as its own thing. Does that make sense? As the kid gets older, this will change - mine is 6.5 and her clothes are part of the family clothes category now. Diapers should definitely be separate, because that turns out to be a huge budget item. Baby food ... worry about that later. You won't need it for a few months post-birth; you might never need it at all (seriously, we never bought a single article of baby food, it's really not necessary).
Hope this is all helpful!
Keep in mind that my kids are tweens. I have a master category group for kid expenses. I have 19 categories within that. Some of mine will not apply to your situation. I'd have a formula/pumping supplies and a diaper category if I were you (we did cloth and reused diaper covers and prefolds). Once the kids graduate to real food, I'd just boost the groceries category; mine didn't eat much until they were 4-5. I separate kids clothes from our clothes categories, I group their toiletries and over the counter medications with ours, and I would increase the categories for utilities, household goods, etc as they will use electricity, water, etc. Budget more petrol/gasoline as you may be doing more driving. Hint: new car seats are less expensive than a larger car. We fit three kids in carseats in the back seat of an old Honda Civic for years; $600 of carseats (ouch) was much much cheaper than the cost of a new vehicle.
We skipped spoon feeding entirely, we did something that is more common in non-American countries I think, called baby led weaning. It's not about weaning from bottle/breast, it's about providing small soft pieces of food that the child can pick up when he/she is interested and gum on them when they want to. Think soft potato, ripe pear, cooked apples (or apple slices cut into match sticks). It has to be super soft or you need to cut it into match sticks so baby cannot choke. None of my kids ate infant cereal. Anecdotally, they all like most fruits and vegetables because they were offered one or more at every meal once they started playing with food at about 7-8 months (they weren't interested before that).
I have categories for kid necessities (might be furniture, might be toys, might be ??), one for kid activities. The kids have their own cell category so i can save for new/replacement - you're a few years out but it moves fast. We have categories for Christmas gifts, one for birthday parties, one for birthday gifts. Summer camps when the kids get older, allowances, orthodontics, swim/sports fees, school supplies, college funds, teacher gift category, museum membership category, and bikes category. Many of these you are 5-10 years out. You might need one for baby furniture/transportation. Baby carriers are awesome. Umbrella strollers are awesome. I wore my kids until they were about 10-15 kilos. Many baby 'necessities' are conveniences for the parents, babies need food, appropriate environments, a place to sleep, love, clothes, and medical care.
Good luck! Enjoy what sleep you're getting! Our oldest did not sleep through the night until he was 9 (not typical, but you're going to have years where you're not sleeping well). Get your spouse/partner involved early if he/she hasn't jumped in. Understand that they may not be as excited as you during pregnancy because it's not as immediately real until birth. Even if you're at home with baby, you should not have to do it all. The only thing my spouse could not do was lactate or gestate. He got up at night, changed babies and brought them too me, did laundry, scheduled doctors visits, he did his share because I could not and would not do it all (I'm a lousy martyr). Sometimes I fed the kid and handed baby over for him to get to sleep because we realized that I got mean when I didn't get a minimum of 4 hours of sleep a day (we learned this after I was up with baby all night, he got up after a nice night of rest, I handed him the kid and told him I needed sleep or someone was going to die and it wasn't going to be me.)
Do you have friends or family that have a baby (1-3 years old)? If so, you definitely shoud be able to get everything you need from them for free. Or you may buy all the stuff on sale and don't stock too much of anything in particular. Request diapers/wipes for your baby shower (if there is going to be one). The only new thing I've bought for my newborn was pack’n play with changing table as I couldn't find any on sales. Trust me, once your child is born you won't be managing it to the budget - you will do whatever it takes for that child 😉
Local BST groups for clothes, Craigslist for big items like stroller,bassinet, cribs.
swap.com for baby clothes you can’t find locally. Pennies on the dollar.
breastfeeding to save a s-load of money. If it works for you! If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
no such thing as “baby food.” Don’t buy into the marketing of Gerber et al who want to sell you tiny jars full of preservatives. Food is food. Babies can eat anything adults can eat. Google “baby led weaning.”
cloth diapers are great for the environment and really not that hard to was as long as you have laundry on site in your home. I haven’t crunched the numbers but conceivably they save you money as well.
Food and clothes are just in with the family budget. Things which are particular for the child (mine is 10 now) go in a separate category. So if I'd been using YNAB when he was a baby I'd have had a category for 'Baby stuff' which would have included a cot, pushchair, high chair... that sort of thing. A lot of it you can sell after and get a bit back.
Currently I have separate categories for him which include Fun (taking him to the museum or a show or whatever), books, educational (swimming classes, music, sometimes books), pocket money, his next laptop, birthday present, and so on.
So basically, day to day stuff is part of the family budget and kid-specific stuff is in a separate group.
Also, remember to start saving now for the future. I've been saving a little every month since he was born and it adds up. :)