The title says it all, We’re having a Baby!!!! I can’t even describe how excited I am to be a Dad. My wife and I get giddy just thinking about being parents, and learning about all the amazing ways our tiny baby is growing. In case you’re wondering, at 19 weeks, the baby is the size of a tomato and weighs half a pound!
For the most part, we don’t feel too freaked out or terrified that we’ll soon be responsible for an entire human life. I mean, there’s a good healthy fear, but we’re not anxious or overwhelmed.
We Want to Be as Prepared as Possible
It’s our first, and so as you’d expect (especially if you have kids), we have no idea what we’re really getting into! We’d like to think “we’ve got this” and we’ll be amazing parents and our kid will always listen to us. I can almost hear all of the parents out there laughing and rolling their eyes, haha.
We’re also pretty realistic and know there’s no way we’ll ever be fully prepared. We’ve definitely got a plan of attack, but I’m sure there’s so many things we have no clue about.
What We Are Doing to Plan for Baby #1: Saving for Medical Expenses
It’s a no brainer that babies are expensive. That’s why we’ve waited so long to have kids. We started trying to have kids after about two and a half years of marriage, instead of right away like we wanted. Having $90,000 of student loan debt was a big deterrent.
Based off our income to debt ratio, it seemed irresponsible to have kids with that much debt. Of course we could’ve figured it out, but we didn’t want to be in over our heads. Now that we’re debt free though, we can plan and save the way we want to.
Related Posts: Goodbye Student Loans: We Are 10 Days From Being Debt Free, How We Paid Off $29,500 of Debt in 2016
Our first big priority was to stash some money away to cover medical costs. In September, we were lucky enough to have an extra paycheck month. First off, extra paycheck months rock! Secondly, all of our monthly bills are covered with the typical two paychecks, we put the entire 3rd paycheck toward future baby costs.
Going forward, we plan to add $100 a month to our baby fund. When baby comes, we don’t want to worry about paying for unexpected costs. Also, if we need to buy stuff for baby, like a stroller, or diapers, or a car seat, it doesn’t need to affect our monthly budget.
We Have Free Baby Stuff
Now that I’m pretty immersed in the world of all things Baby, I’m learning that I went into the wrong career. It’s like the wedding industry. If you attach the word “wedding” or “baby” to the name of something, the price increases by roughly 8,000%. I might be exaggerating, but baby stuff is crazy expensive and I really don’t want to pay full price for anything in general, especially when it’s hyper inflated.
Here’s a list of free items we’ve gotten so far:
- Crib: our friends don’t need it anymore and our payment is, “please never give it back”
- Baby Gate: we’re a long way from needing it, but we can dual use it for our dogs
- Baby Rockers/Swings: our friend got them for free and is paying it forward
- Baby Outfits: I’m convinced everything tiny is adorable, especially shoes.
We’ve already saved so much money by not needing to pay for these necessities. New cribs are hundreds of dollars, a baby rocker is $100, a baby gate is $35, and new baby clothes are way overpriced for how short a time the kid actually fits into it! Long story longer, we are really stoked we got a few freebies.
Of course, we are nowhere near done preparing our house and getting all the necessities. But it sure feels good to take a few off the list.
Planning Ahead for Day Care Costs
In our city, finding a good day care is ridiculous! We started calling at 10 weeks and one day care center had a wait list until 2019. 2019!!!! That means families who aren’t even close to pregnant are getting in line and taking all the good spots!
When my wife heard that, she put down the phone and immediately freaked out! Safe to say we didn’t call anyone else that day.
Luckily we found a family day care a few blocks from our house run by the parent of one of our students. It fits our price range, we trust her, and it’s on our way to work. No waiting until 2019 for the Griffins!
Day care costs are basically the same amount as our student loans were. So sadly, our debt free lifestyle will only last for about 10 more months. Thank goodness we paid those buggers off!
Maternity Leave Will Force My Wife to Take a Pay Cut
The perfect timing for a teacher to have a baby is in the spring. If it happens just right, maternity leave will end right as summer vacation starts. Unfortunately we missed by a few weeks, so Jenna will need to go back to finish off the school year. During her maternity leave, she will get six weeks off, but it’s at 70% pay.
Part of our growing baby fund will got to offset the difference in pay. Like I said before, we want to avoid tampering with our regular budget.
What We Don’t Know: We Still Don’t Have “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”
I think we’ve done a lot right in preparing for our little soybean. One thing we haven’t done is, be prepared for shock and awe, read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. It’s basically a right of passage for all new parents, but we just haven’t gotten around to buying it. I’m sure there’s 10 copies sitting on the shelf at Goodwill, so I’m not sure why we haven’t grabbed one yet.
Last week we browsed a few pages at Barnes & Noble, a favorite date night spot. It was really interesting, and would be an awesome resource. For some strange reason though, we still didn’t buy it. We’re only halfway through so there’s still time for us to come around. We’ll see what happens.
What the Heck is an HSA Account and When Should I Start One
Confession, I know an HSA is a Health Savings Account, and I mostly know how they work. A bunch of my coworkers have HSAs and they love them. What I don’t know is when we should open one, or how much to contribute to it.
We’ll also need to research and talk with our HR director to see what benefits an HSA provides. When the time gets a little closer, we’ll need to elect new health benefits, and this is a top priority.
How Do We Introduce Our Baby to Our Dogs
We have two wonderful dogs that we love. Since we don’t have a baby in the house yet, our dogs don’t have much exposure to little kids. They definitely seem to be more protective over my wife and are extra affectionate lately. We hope this means they will lovingly accept our new baby into the house.
The advice varies depending on which article you read, but we’re doing everything we can to learn how to do this safely and smartly. Is smartly a word? I’m going with it anyway. We don’t plan on leaving our baby alone with the pups under any circumstance, or let the baby sit on the floor without direct supervision. Our dogs are good, but we don’t want to take any chances.
Wrapping It Up
We’re having a baby! We’re prepared for some things and clueless about others. In the end, we’ll figure it out and hopefully be really awesome parents!
Let Me Know in the Comments
What did you do to prepare for your first baby? Any tips or suggestions of big things we’re missing?
You should start an HSA immediately and start putting money into it because you can use it to pay for dental, anything medical for any of you as long as you have a family plan. It is nice to put money in even if you don’t plan to use it so that it can build. It will also turn into a retirement account once you hit a certain age so it is another way to save for retirement as well.
The only ways we prepared for a baby was having a baby shower to help get more if he bigger ticket items and then we were able to buy what we still need s after that so we were prepared when we brought baby home. We also went to a child birthing class, which we didn’t get much out of.
That’s for sure on our list. I think we need to wait a bit longer until we can apply to open one with our benefits plan.
I forgot all about the birthing class! We haven’t even looked into that!
Congrats!!! Awesome News! I’m really happy for you and your wife. It sounds like you’re on the right track financially. Second hand is definitely the way to go. Also, you won’t need to buy toys for your kid for at least a few years, grandparents, aunts & uncles, and other friends and family will take care of that.
HSA is definitely the way to go. Read the Mad Fientist’s post on HSA’s for a comprehensive introduction. Congrats again! Enjoy your last few months of freedom 🙂
Thanks so much! Good call on the toys. My sisters and our parents will surely spoil the heck out of our baby with toys!
I appreciate the resource. I’ve heard awesome stuff about Mad Fientist so I’ll for sure check that out! ?
Diapers Diapers Diapers!!! You would be amazed at how many you go through. You being in a larger city might be able to do a cloth diaper service . I would start now buying a box of diapers every pay period. Your fur kids knew Jenna was pregnant before you did and will be great with the new bundle of joy.
We thought about cloth diapers, but then remembered we don’t like cleaning poop out of clothes, haha. Good call on the diapers! We’ll probably start that this month or next!
Definitely go with the HSA. Besides birth costs (which are outrageous), it’s nice knowing you have the cash to cover unexpected doctor visits that are definitely going to happen with a little one. Don’t stock up on too much newborn-size clothes or diapers, Everett only wore newborn sizes for not even 2 weeks, and some babies are born bigger and never wear it! If you end up having a little peanut, you can go out and get more if need be. We honestly didn’t have to buy diapers for the first three months, people gave us so many. If you do decide to stock up, I’d go with size 3 and 4. Everett was only in sizes 1 and 2 for a few months each, then 3s for maybe 6 months, and now he’s been on 4s most of this year. I think most stores will exchange sizes though, so there is that option if you haven’t opened a box yet. Finally, you are super lucky to find a daycare that is nearby and in your price range that you feel good about! Our daycare search was a nightmare!
I’m really happy for you guys! Feel free to send any questions my way! 🙂
Holy cow! Thanks for all the awesome diaper insight! I know babies go through them like crazy, so we definitely want to stock up! You’ve definitely helped our game planning for the diaper stock pile, haha!
Don’t lose recipts for them. Our girl had worse diaper rash from one diaper and wipe brand. So if you get that you’d want to exchange. Gift cards are amazing for getting more when needed of kinds you have liked. N size, don’t stock up on just in case.
That stinks! But really awesome you got to exchange!
Congrats! So exciting! Let me know what else you need…. we still have lots of stuff laying around.
Thanks Luke! We definitely will! If we can take it off your hands, you don’t have to look at it laying around anymore! It’s a win-win! ?
I agree with everyone about the HSA, but make sure you’re thinking about the fact that you will for sure hit your deductible and pending complications (hopefully not) your max out of pocket. It all depends on your specific plans of course, but for us, it made sense and was cheaper in the long run to do the PPO plan during the birth year, and will switch to the HSA at the next open enrollment.
Also, look for trade in events at babies r us and target, if someone donates you a used item you could use that to get a discounted new item and does not have to be the same product (used car seat could help you with the purchase of a stroller etc.) Typically will save you 25%.
That’s good to know about the PPO! It’s crazy how many small implications and technicalities there are for insurance and what gets covered! Thanks for the tip on trade ins! Never would have thought of that.
OMG Congrats to you both!! From all I’ve read, used is the way to go 95% of the time. Also, choose your delivery hospital, and negotiate ahead of time. Most places will give you a discount if you prepay or pay in cash.
The mister and I are just at the point of “okay maybe that’s like actually gonna be a thing soon” discussions, so I’ll live and learn vicariously through you for now! Fingers crossed for an easy experience for y’all.
Thanks!! Hospitals really give discounts? I didn’t know that was a thing! We can definitely pay a decent amount in cash! Will look into that for sure!
I’ll post more baby updates as they come! Thanks for the positive vibes!
Yes you can get discounts from most hospitals for paying in cash. We have Samaritan Ministries and are considered private pay and get a small discount (every little bit counts). I would check into the diaper service, my sister in law did this and just had to rinse them out and they got picked up and delivered to their door.
That’s crazy! I wouldn’t have thought of diaper service!
All i can say is BIG Congrats! I don’t think we can really prepare enough for so just enjoy the journey and savor every moment. HSA and financial things aside, just breathe, have lots of fun, enjoy your family and i think you’ll be alright. All the best to you and the family.
Thanks Chester! We are really excited!
Congratulations!! I think I only read two pages in “What to Expect”. Most pregnancy books are the same but the parenting books are a bit more interesting.
For the dogs, you know them best so read the advice but follow your instinct on how to introduce them to baby. I’m sure they’ll love the baby at least by the time they start eating real food from a high chair. 😉
The HSA is a great idea. I have a post on my blog about why I’m switching to one this open-enrollment period now that my baby has arrived this year. You should also look to see if your employer offers a flexible spending account for daycare costs. That way you can set aside some money for daycare pre-tax!
Babies are so much fun and they don’t have to be nearly expensive as society tells us. Just enjoy every minute of it!
Thanks! I appreciate all the pointers! It’s crazy how many different ideas are out there and everything society says you “need to have or do”. We just plan on loving the crap out of the little tike!