I was recently asked for some thoughts on “how to prepare for a baby financially”. I thought some of you internet people might be able to use this information; so, I turned my thoughts into a blog post. Here you go:

First off, babies cost a lot of money. A LOT OF MONEY. I’ve read estimates that you will spend as much as $20,000 by your little one’s 1st birthday. Good insurance, baby showers, and common sense (i.e. designer clothes for your little angel are a waste-she is just going to poop in them, on them, and around them) can cut this number substantially…but you’re still going to be spending a good chunk of change. Here are a few ideas that may not save you a ton of money, but will alleviate a ton of financial stress post-baby.

1. Automate your financial life as much as possible before your due date. Once baby arrives, you will have 1001 reasons to neglect your financial life. If you aren’t already doing so, now is the time to start putting back a percentage of each paycheck into savings. Have this amount automatically moved from your checking account to your savings account every month. Also, check into online “bill pay” services offered by many banks. These services can be great time savers.

2. Start buying diapers every time that you visit the grocery store. Make sure that you buy varying sizes from size 1 to size 4. 9 months of pre-baby-diaper-buying prepares you for the added expense to come as well as lowers your painfully expensive post-baby grocery bill.

3. Shop insurance plans. Call your existing insurance provider to find out what the new rate will be for your soon-to-be larger family. Call around to get quotes from other companies and compare. Calling insurance providers is a boring task now; but, it will be a miserable task later if you wait to call until you are holding your infant.

4. Prepare and freeze meals for post-baby consumption. When you prepare a meal during your last couple months of pregnancy, double the portion that you prepare. Eat half now. Freeze half for later. In the months following your little one’s arrival, it is very tempting to order take-out due to lack of time and energy and patience and will power and sanity. Preparing meals ahead of time will save you money on food in the long run (by lessening aforementioned take-out bill) as well as make post-baby meal preparation less stressful.

5. The best time to focus and get out of debt is always “now”. This is even more crucial with a baby on the way. Any financial stress that you are able to eliminate pre-baby will drastically lessen your financial stress post-baby.

6. If you’ve selected a pediatrician, call his or her office to get an estimate of your impending costs. Knowing this amount will help you determine how much money to automatically move to your savings account each month. Find out if he or she gives discounts if you pay up front.

7. Sign up for offers at Enfamil.com (click here) and Similac.com (click here) and huggies.com (click here) and pampers.com (click here) Enfamil and Similac send out a ton of coupons and free products. Even if you don’t need them, you likely know someone who will. Pampers and Huggies send lots of coupons as well. As you might have guessed…if you don’t like to receive marketing offers, don’t do this.

8. Lastly, if Xcel Energy is your energy provider, take advantage of their energy efficiency program before your baby arrives. Here is a list of providers in the Amarillo area. Call one of them for details on the program. In short, it is a cheap (usually free) way to make your home as energy efficient as possible for your newborn.

So, there you have it. I’m sure that you guys have plenty of tips that are better than mine. Help out my pregnant readers by posting a comment. I hope these tips help! Many blessings to your growing family!