When Ben & I got pregnant with our first, I was a private piano teacher making approximately $26,000/ year (before taxes) and he was a full time graduate student. Then I landed a public school teaching job that was a slight pay increase with health insurance. Sugar momma + baby daddy.
When we got pregnant with our second (surprise!) baby, we were living 100% on student loans while Ben was in a super intense 1-year masters program and I was staying home full time.
We are now pregnant with our 3rd and Ben has a job that pays him a salary. But, in order to pay off all that aforementioned student loan debt, we’re living on quite a bit less than we make. And by we, I mean ‘he.’ Sugar daddy + baby momma.
All that to say, when I say it is possible to spend very little on a baby, I am speaking from experience 😉 times 3.
There are of course, some non-negotiable costs to having a baby: diapers, wipes, carseat, maternity care copays, deductible, some clothes, a bed. Really, that is all you need.
There are MANY flexible costs to having a baby: extra outfits, professional photography, different convenient gadgets, nursery decor, etc…
So, how much does it cost to have a baby? What do I really need?
And how do I budget for it?
I’m so glad you asked
How much you want to spend on a baby is really up to you. I wrote about my favorite newborn essentials over here. There are a few non-necessities on the list, but having become a kid-stuff-minimalist, these are the only things I would buy if we were having #1 all over again.
The important part is to have a plan and make a budget that is within reach for you.
The bottom line strategy to budget for baby is this: list every item with the price; divide the total by the number of months you have to save.
This is actually the strategy for every single thing you might ever need to save up for. This type of savings fund is sometimes called a sinking fund, and I’ve written more about it here.
Know you’ll need to replace your car in 2 years? $10,000 new car in 24 months = $417/ month.
Want to be debt free in 3 years? $30,000/36 months = $834/month (plus some extra for that darn interest)
Want to do a kitchen remodel next year? $12,000/12 months = $1,000/ month.
You get the point.
Like the true budgeting nerd I am, I made a google sheet that you can download and use for free to help you with your planning and budgeting for baby. Enter your email below and I’ll send it to you!
This budgeting guide includes recommended items in every category, low and high end price points, and a spot for you to enter your own prices. It’ll even add up the totals for you.
There are further instructions on the google sheet. Hope you find it helpful