If you’re making more money than you imagined, or you’re both out of work, you’re still probably wondering how you will afford the things you want for your baby. While food and clothes (and diapers) are essential, we all have dreams for our little ones that can include anything from a cozy nursery to private school. Dads aren’t the only ones worrying about how to support his family. When we have a baby, we’re ready to drop almost everything just to provide for them. We want them to have everything we had, and more. How are you going to pay for it??
Getting pregnant can up the ante on fears like this. Especially in economic times like these, most of us are concerned about our financial situations. But there is nothing like getting ready to bring your child into the world to fill you with some pretty serious financial fears. So what is it that you think you need?
If you’re like most of us, you probably don’t have all the money you need to make every dream a reality. So you worry about it – maybe every time you go to the bank; maybe with every paycheck (or lack thereof); maybe every time you pay your rent / mortgage; maybe every morning when you wake up.
We usually let our lifestyles match our finances, instead of the other way around. This means that if you were able to make the amount of money you ideally want to make, you would probably find more things you want for your baby. So no matter how much money you have, you’ll always wish for something you can’t afford. And this leaves us with the almost unattainable ideal for living with life: to want what you have, instead of having what you want.
But what if you’re reading this thinking, “We don’t have enough money to live, let alone buy toys and pay for school!” It will all work out. If need be, you sell everything and move in with your parents. They’d probably never be so happy to have you move back home as when you’re bringing their adorable grandchild to stay with them.
And if all else fails, stand by the freeway off ramp and offer people photos with your exquisite baby for five-bucks a pop.
I was bored over the weekend so I started browsing for nursery ideas. I came across some really cute things at BabyGap.com. At this stage in the game I’m not paying attention to prices, just daydreaming about how a print will look on the wall, or where I can buy accessories. I passed the computer to my husband and the difference couldn’t have been more stark. “Oh, I do like th….fifty-four dollars? Fifty-four dollars? What is that anyway? What is a bumper and why do we need one?”
According to an online TIME Magazine article published late last summer, the US Department of Agriculture estimates that it will cost me and my husband more than $220,000 to raise our baby and that’s before we pay for college.
I’ve tried to reassure my husband that though we’ll incur a few more monthly expenses, our little bundle of joy will also be our little bundle of tax deductions. That perked him up a little bit but then I showed him the top rated stroller on the market. He grunted something that I can’t repeat and then said “Used was good enough for me. It will be good enough for our kid.”
I’m normally the frugal one in our relationship. When our dog needed $1300 in dental work (don’t judge us), I promptly responded by reducing our monthly grocery bill. When I had a minor car accident and had to pay a $500 deductible, I put my foot down on going out for drinks. Not a cent leaves our checkbook that I don’t scrutinize with the eye of a IRS agent.
But when it comes to the baby, does it really pay to be cheap? “Mommy loves you so much, but not enough to buy the $800 crib.” That just doesn’t sound right. What I’m going to need is a good mommy-consumer coach; someone to tell me where it’s OK to skimp and where I must absolutely buy the brand name.
I’ve been in Babies ‘R’ Us just once: when I was shopping for my cousin’s baby shower. It’s an overwhelming place. Why are there so many choices and how do you possibly make the right one? If you make the wrong one, you can bet the cashiers mock you during their breaks. “Did you see that woman? I can’t believe she bought THAT brand. I feel bad for her kid.”
I saw the sale price of Target-brand diapers today. My seasonal clothing budget is going to become my monthly diaper budget and our entertainment budget will be diverted to a collection of Baby Einstein DVDs (I hear they are supposed to be good for brain development. Who am I to say no to that?) and Rockabye Baby CDs (lullaby renditions of rock bands is better than most of the kiddie music available, right?).
From what I hear about parenthood though, we’ll see a fabulous return on investment in baby smiles and drool-filled kisses and first steps, and first words. And that’s something no one can put a price on.