Two couples share their advice for coping with added expenses of a new bundle of joy.
Preparing for the arrival of a newborn is an exciting time! But you don’t want to go overboard with your spending, especially when it comes to those little plastic cards.
Here are some tips from some new parents on how they maneuvered those heady we’re-having-a-baby days without going wild with their credit cards…
Start with the bare minimum
Travis and Alesha Sinks of Delray Beach, Fla. welcomed baby James in August of 2015, and they did it without acquiring a single penny of credit card debt.
Instead, they waited and shopped smart — no impulse shopping, especially on bigger-ticket items that James would not need for awhile.
“We waited on a booster seat. We waited on a crib because he was going to be in a bassinet,” says Alesha Sinks, 25. “Someone ended up giving us a crib.”
Family and friends pitched in with gifts and gently-used hand-me-downs.
“Sometimes it’s nicer stuff than I would have bought if I went out bought new myself because I am on a budget and trying not to spend a ton of money,” Sinks says.
But waiting was key in their own shopping ahead of James’ arrival.
“We waited. We comparison shopped around for deals so we could figure out what we wanted and find a way to get it cheaper.” Sinks says.
They shopped for deals on Amazon and in the baby section of Craigslist. They decided that a brand-new high chair wasn’t needed, but a new car seat was.
“I really like Amazon,” Sinks says. “They carry pretty much the same stuff as the other stores. The reviews that people leave are really good and really helpful.”
They only bought what they thought they would need right after his birth.
“Before he was born, we decided to buy just the bare minimum essentials and we’d try and wait and see. Because you don’t know what kind of parent you’re going to be beforehand,” Sinks explains.
She advises other expectant parents to “Wait and see it you need it. Don’t assume you’re going to need everything.”
Begin saving at pregnancy
Joshua Crum, 35, of Alton, Ill. welcomed baby Liberty with his wife, Jeannie, in October.
Before Liberty’s arrival, Crum, who also runs RebuildRepairCredit.com, worked hard to build up emergency savings in advance. That was needed since his daughter was born with an emergency C-section and his wife needed additional time to recover before heading back to her job.
“My goal was to save three to six months of expenses, as soon as I found out she was pregnant,” Crum recalls. “That’s definitely important stuff. You’ve got to start saving immediately. I was trying to get to six months but I only hit three. I am so glad I saved up what I did.”
He also called up credit card companies and asked for hardship programs and lower interest rates so more of his money could be put into savings for his daughter’s arrival.
Crum hasn’t been shy about seeking as many other resources for help as possible, getting his power bill deferred, seeking food assistance.
“Even if it’s just temporary, it’s good to lean on something like that when you need it,” Crum explains.
Since Liberty’s arrival, the family has been on a tight budget, living on savings.
“We have to stay very strict on our budget. We’re going through our savings very quickly, avoiding any unnecessary expenses at this time, not going out to eat or out anywhere,” Crum says. “I’ve been trying to find more income as well, little side jobs, trying to catch up on the income gap.”
Having a baby isn’t cheap, but the more planning and preparation you do, the better off you and the baby will be.