Sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan. If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you might be worried about whether you’re able to afford having a baby. This is an especially pressing concern if you are going to be a single parent, working minimum wage, or still in school. While everyone’s situation is unique, having a baby doesn’t have to be out of your reach. Here are some tips to help you with planning for the future:
Create a Budget
How much does it actually cost to have a baby? You can use this calculator to estimate your expenses for the baby’s first year. Don’t be put off by the amount. It may seem overwhelming at first, but it can be made manageable with budgeting.
Creating a budget will help you organize your finances to meet your goals. By listing your expected income and expenses, you’ll have a clearer picture of your financial situation. You can then plan for adjustments to your income and expenses to help keep your account out of the red. There are many free budgeting tutorials available online. Alternatively, we offer our clients free virtual lessons on budgeting, paying off debt, and more, through the BrightCourse app.
It’s a good idea to practice living on your baby budget before you give birth. This will help you mentally prepare for the lifestyle changes you may need to make, and you’ll be able to put away some savings before the baby arrives.
Babies need a lot of stuff, but you don’t need to spend all your life savings on baby essentials. Buying used baby gear can be a good budget-friendly alternative for you. Second-hand baby gear is often in great condition because families only use the items for a short period of time before the baby outgrows them. There are many online platforms where you can find lightly used baby items for rent or purchase. You can even scour Buy Nothing Facebook groups and apps like Nextdoor for free giveaways in your community.
However, be aware that not all baby items are safe to buy second-hand. Car seats have short expiration dates due to safety regulations. It’s also important to know the history of used seats because those that have been in an accident before may have their safety compromised. We refer our clients to car seat workshops where they can learn about car seat safety and may even qualify fora free car seat.
Healthcare and Insurance
Prenatal and postnatal care is important, but what if you don’t have insurance? Depending on your income level, you may be eligible for Medi-Cal. Check your eligibility here. Even if your income disqualifies you from Medi-Cal, you might still be able to apply for the Medi-Cal Access Program (MCAP). Our client advocates can help you with questions you might have about applying for Medi-Cal. Make a request for a consultation today.
Ask for Help
You don’t have to go at this alone. Reach out to your network to ask for a helping hand; you might be surprised by how many people are willing to support you with childcare, baby items, and other assistance that you might need.
Pregnancy resource centers like the Pregnancy Help Center provide resources and referrals to women who need help during pregnancy and after giving birth. At the Pregnancy Help Center, we even have a Baby Boutique where our clients can get lightly used baby items for free.
Don’t lose hope, you are capable, and you can do this. Have more questions? Come in for a consultation with a friendly, trained client advocate who will lend you a listening ear and help you find the aid you need.