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Updated on Friday, September 11, 2015
When you’re expecting your first child, you’re likely to fall into one of two groups. The first group is the family that has planned for this moment their entire lives. They know what they want, they probably already have a stash of baby items, and they’re ready for all of the excitement that comes with adding their first child to the mix. The second group involves the family that either didn’t plan to have a child or who planned to have a child but feel lost when it comes to buying items, setting up a nursery, and taking part in baby shower traditions as a whole
Fortunately, regardless of which group you may find yourself in, having your first child comes with excitement, the unexpected and ultimately a new bundle of joy. Whether you were terrified of becoming a parent or have fulfilled your life dream, you’re probably feeling like a hardened veteran at the end of it all. And what’s more is that many of us fell in love with the sheer terror and excitement of it all enough to go through the process all over again!
While you may be tempted to wait for that sweet spot in your financial life to expand your family even more, even a well-endowed savings fund doesn’t offset the fact baby number two can be financially overwhelming.
You may get the benefit of a second baby shower to help prepare for our second baby, or elect to reuse the first child’s goods and purchase any new items a baby will need. You probably even determined some of the items you felt were a necessity with baby number one are a superfluous for baby number two. Plus, you now have the benefit of knowing which items you have, which ones you need, and which ones you’re able to reuse.
If you’re looking towards the birth of your second child (whether you’re pregnant at this time or not), then now may be the best time to take a look at some of these money-saving hacks to help ease the financial burden of a second child.
Reuse and Recycle
With your first child, you likely received a multitude of items that lasted throughout their infancy. Diaper pails, changing tables, cribs, bottles; these items can all likely be used again for baby #2! If your first kid has already grown into a toddler bed, then he or she may likely be potty trained as well, freeing up many of the infant essentials for your second bouncing baby. For those who are having their second in quick succession, you may need to invest in some of these basics for the second time.
In the case of duplicate essentials (like the crib, changing tables, etc), then consider taking a trip to your local consignment shops. Many consignments now solely focus on baby items, and what you may have been willing to spend full price on before, you may be more comfortable with buying ‘used’ now. While cribs, car seats, and other safety items are largely items you’ll want to purchase new (for safety purposes), items like changing pads, changing pad covers, diaper pails, and even bed sets are great when purchased second-hand. You can save up to 50% or more on these items simply by purchasing them used, and you have the benefit of knowing what to look for in a quality item since you already have experience with your first child.
Budgeting Medical Bills
With your first child, you may have been overwhelmed with the medical bills you’ve received. For those who take few trips to the doctor’s offices regularly, you may have had a shock when you were required to understand the intricacies of your deductibles, copays, and in-network providers. For the second time around, you have the benefit of experience! Make sure that your doctors and providers are in-network (as these can change at the drop of a hat), and budget your medical bills based on your deductible, as you’re likely to, once again, hit it when you go to the hospital to birth baby #2.
The hack here is that you’re able to utilize your experience and plan for the costs ahead without having to receive the shocking bill. You can’t escape the costs of healthcare, but you can budget appropriately. Even if you can’t pay all of your bills as they arrive, you can use different payment methods – and some with little to no interest – to pay off your debt in a timely fashion.
Accept the Help
Your first time around, you may have been hesitant to accept much help. Not only were you getting comfortable in your new role as a parent, but it may have felt rude to ask for help when you weren’t sure if you really needed it. Many of us now know that accepting the help that’s offered to us can really cut down on our stress levels, and there’s a financial benefit to this all as well!
Instead of feeling obligated to continue to make every meal yourself or opting for take-out for the first few weeks of your child’s life, accept meals from family and friends. Many of these meals can be frozen and thawed for later consumption, helping to cut down on your grocery bills and your stress levels at the same time. Similarly, when family and friends offer to spend some time with your tots, take them up on it! The cost of childcare – even for a night out – can eat into your savings. Consider pairing up with trusted families in the neighborhood who also have kids to establish a ‘baby-pool’ of sorts, allowing an exchange of babysitting hours amongst the group so that everyone can get a chance at some free-time that’s actually free.
Baby #1 gave us the tools we need to better prepare financially for baby #2. By reusing items, budgeting medical bills, and accepting the help that’s offered to us, we’re able to cut down on our costs associated with adding another member to the family (for now, at least!).