Money is on the mind of every parent-to-be. Whether you’re giving birth, adopting, or becoming a parent through surrogacy, there are lots of expenses associated with having your child before you can even start worrying about how you’ll feed, clothe, and care for your new baby.
This article will address ways you can save money on parenthood prep, from the big stuff to the little.
When You’re Pregnant
The most important thing any birth mother can do to protect her financial health is review her insurance coverage. Ensure your policy offers maximum coverage for pregnancy- and birth-related services and covers care at your desired hospital or birth center.
Birth parents should also be mindful of the hospital’s billing practices. Hospitals bill by the day, but they don’t all define a “day” in the same way. Know how long you’ll be expected to stay for an uncomplicated birth, what’s included, and how the hospital calculates the length of your stay. For women with low-risk pregnancies, birth centers can lead to lower costs and a more personalized delivery.
When You’re Using a Surrogate
It may feel silly to pinch pennies when you’re paying six figures to have a child through surrogacy, but if anything, that’s the smartest reason to be budget-conscious.
Know that surrogacy doesn’t have to be a financial gamble. Some surrogacy agencies offer fixed-fee packages with optional add-ons so you can tailor services to your needs and know exactly what you’re paying. Rather than choosing the first surrogacy agency you meet with, research to find an agency that meets all your needs, both personally and financially.
When You’re Adopting
Adoption, too, can trigger financial shock in parents-to-be. Again, it’s worth the effort to shop around. Different agencies charge different fees, and while it’s important to find an adoption agency that you’re comfortable with, it’s equally important to find one you can afford.
Parents-to-be can also find a birth mother on their own to reduce overall adoption expenses. Social networking allows adoptive parents to reach more people than ever and old-school methods like print ads and word-of-mouth networking are still viable options. However, be cautious if pursuing independent adoption; if the adoption is disrupted, parents-to-be don’t have the same financial protections they would if working with an agency.
No Matter How You’re Becoming a Parent
We’ve addressed the big bills, but what about all the little financial things you should do to prepare for your child?
Remind yourself that less is more. There are so many products that others will tell you are must-haves. The truth is, you don’t know what your child will like or what size they’ll wear until they’re here. Instead of getting swept up in marketing ploys, only buy the things you absolutely need. A minimalist approach to baby prep also lets you focus on quality and support local businesses instead of big-box stores. Plus, when you shop locally, you have the opportunity to learn directly from other parents and build relationships that will support you throughout parenthood.
Save on shopping. Cribs, car seats, and breast pumps should never be purchased second-hand. Outside of those items, you can find nearly everything you need at thrift stores and yard sales, on Buy Nothing groups, and from friends with older children. And when your child has outgrown things, you can pass them on yet again. When it comes to maternity clothing, there are many reasonably priced items available that are both comfortable and practical, such as nursing bras, pajamas, gowns, and T-shirts.
Consider a child care co-op. You’ll need to find childcare if you’re heading back to work, but how the heck can you afford it? Instead of traditional childcare centers, look into child care co-ops. A co-op is a group of parents who share childcare. It’s a wonderful way to keep costs down, ensure a high level of care for your child, and build community with fellow parents.
Taking a budget-conscious approach to parenthood doesn’t have to mean going without. In fact, by focusing less on stuff, you’ll discover you have more energy to devote to preparing your heart, mind, and life for parenthood.
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