Bringing a child into the world is a beautiful thing, it is a gift, however, it is a gift that can carry a lot of financial anxiety if you are not well prepared beforehand. Social media and street corners are rife with stories of parents who’ve struggled with diaper and baby formula expenses that rival national budgets in size (at least that’s how the parents see it); woe unto you if you carry the ‘extreme appetite for expensive baby formula’ gene and have passed it on to your little one. Street rumours aside, good planning before your child is born can make things easier for you financially. Here are four practical tips to help you prepare financially before your baby is due.
- Start Shopping Early
Start buying things for your baby early, months before your due date as a way to spread the financial burden of buying baby clothes, carriers diapers, oils etc. over a longer period of time. It will be much easier than scrambling back and forth to the supermarket after the baby comes. Early shopping gives you enough time to look at all the available options and, hunt for discounts and sales without the extra pressure of having a newborn in your care. Ask friends who are/have been parents for recommendations, some of them could even have their baby’s old clothes stored up somewhere; a 2017 study found that 7 out of 10 parents held on to clothes their children had outgrown. Plus newborns have a growth sprint that makes them outgrow their clothes quickly, so the ‘old clothes’ might actually have been worn for only 4 weeks.
- Cut Your Spending Early
Decrease the amount of spending you do on a normal month in preparation for the baby, take stock of the essential expenses and determine what you can eliminate. A 2017 Cost of Care Survey, showed that a third of families spend more than 20 % of their annual household income on children, while nearly half of families spend more than 10 % on childcare. Having a baby will often put you in a situation where you will have to cut or divert your traditional spending, remember that in a baby, you will get an extra mouth to feed but your income remains the same. Finances: 5 Simple Ways To Save Money Every Month
- Establish a Fund For Your Baby
One of the biggest costs a new parent will incur will be pre-natal care costs and the cost of delivery. Identify early on, the hospital you would like to deliver in and get a cost estimate of how much it would cost to give birth normally and how much a CS would cost if that’s the way you want to go. With a target amount in mind, open an account and commit yourself to contributing to your baby fund, if it surpasses the target the better, as extra costs for things like gynaecology visits, are bound to increase the amount needed.
Depending on your budget you will have to decide whether to go to a public or private hospital. Public hospitals offer free child delivery services, but the question to ask is; is it is really free. “The problem with delivering in government institutions is the customer care, how you are received and treated, that’s why most people if they can, prefer going to private hospitals even if it’s costly.
“For instance, if I have developed complications and have to undergo an emergency Caesarean Section (CS), a government hospital may have only two theatre rooms and if they are occupied I have to wait, by the time I get to the theatre I am messed up or the baby has been lost”, says Christine, a new mother who’s had prior experience working in a government hospital. “Either way, it’s expensive to have a child right now, why lie,” she adds.
- Get an Experienced Parent as a Mentor
Christine, the new mother, shares that one of her friend’s babies uses two cans of baby formula a week costing Ksh.1, 700 per can. The friend does not produce enough breast milk and has little choice but to use it over Ksh.3, 000 a week on baby formula. On the other hand, there are parents who chose this route of their own accord, breastfeeding can feel uncomfortable for the first few days, especially for new mothers. This makes some moms stop breastfeeding their babies and switch to baby formula, and this has cost implications and health implications for the baby.
Having an experienced parent as a mentor is helpful for such decisions, they will guide, encourage and answer most of the questions you are bound to have, you might be confused about simple things like which size of diapers to use, what to do when your breast milk is just not enough etc. They can give you the best advice on what to do, and also help you prepare financially.
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