There is nothing in life that I’ve experienced quite like finding out you are bringing a new life into this world. Not a single thing could wipe the dopey grins from our faces. Not even the reality of the fact that kids are expensive. The smiles were there to stay. But we also knew that we needed to craft a plan to save for baby. Enter the Baby Fund. Here’s how we grew our baby nest egg from nothing to over $10,000 in less than 40 weeks.
Create a Separate Account
There once was a time when our emergency fund lived all by itself in a high-interest online savings account via Discover. That e-fund was very lonely, so we decided it needed a friend. Or something like that.
Instead of opening a separate savings account, we decided to make a note of what our e-fund number was and then continue building beyond that to save for baby. While this may sound messy to some of you, the ultimate goal for us was to save well beyond what it would cost to be pregnant and to deliver the baby, allowing us to have extra funds for any unexpected medical expenses or for our other financial goals. Still, if I wanted to be more of a savings account purist, I could have easily opened another account with Discover. The key in either situation was to keep the money away from any other accounts we have. Out of sight, out of mind. Or at least, out of easy spending range.
Add All the Extras, Even Small Ones
This past week, I made $10.10 on Poshmark. In terms of baby gear, I’ve officially afforded us a pack of diapers. It almost seems laughable to gather up all of these little windfalls (Breezefalls? Breathfalls? What’s the right word for pennies found on the street?), but that’s exactly what we’re doing. In addition to the biggies, like year-end stipends and side hustle money, we are saving everything extra that we can get our hands on. This savings includes:
- Cashback rewards from apps like Ibotta
- Found change and spare change
- Anything I sell online or at consignment shops
- Online rebates thanks to Ebates
- In-store rebates like the $10 vodka rebate I scored for Mr. P, which was the most tongue-in-cheek deposit I’ve made into our baby fund
While we haven’t emptied the change from our piggy bank or claimed the cash back on our credit card yet, we’ve already socked aside $226 from the other little odds and ends. That money, coupled with our extra income, allowed us to add a few thousand dollars to the baby fund relatively painlessly.
Stop Extra Payments
As much as it pains me–and if you follow me on Twitter, you know it pains me A LOT–to say this, one of the best decisions we made was to stop paying extra on our mortgage after the first quarter of the year. In pregnancy months, that was right at the start of month five. That allowed us to easily come up with an extra $1,000 a month to the tune of $5,000 (or about $6,000 if you’re really smart and you’ve figured out that 40 weeks of pregnancy is actually closer to 10 months than 9. LIES! All lies!). While we hope this additional $5,000 is well over what it will cost to have this baby, we’re also not naive to the fact that no one is guaranteed their health–moms or babies. Or the dad who ends up with broken fingers as a result of mom’s brute strength. (Don’t worry: We took the class. Mr. P’s one takeaway is to never offer me less than three fingers to hold onto.) As a result, we’d much rather have a hefty surplus in our Baby Fund than scramble to cover any unexpected expenses. If nothing else, we plan to make a whopper of a year-end payment on our mortgage if we really have saved too much.
Trim The Budget Again
Our budget is fairly lean to begin with, but like most middle-class families, there’s always a little bit of fat we can trim. After reviewing all of our line items, we realized that gearing up to be a single-income house for a few months was the perfect time to make the switch to a discount cell phone carrier. Hence the Great Boost Mobile Experiment of 2017. Mr. P is still loving the service, so I’m about to switch over my phone now that my contract is finally up. When that’s all said and done, we will be saving $90 a month combined. Instead of moving that money into savings, though, it has allowed us to create more wiggle room in our budget for Half Penny’s arrival. Will I nurse or bottle feed? Who knows. Will we use disposable or cloth diapers? The jury is still out. There are so many unknowns that I can only guess at in terms of cost, we figure having almost an extra $100 cushion every month is a good starting point. (Feel free to HAHAHA all you parents out there.)
Save for Baby to Focus on Baby
Our strategy is far from perfect. In fact, it seems silly that we didn’t save for baby much sooner. But a combination of setting aside extra income and getting crafty with our existing expenses has allowed us to create a comfortable cushion and add some wiggle room to our budget. Not only does it help us sleep easier, it also lets us do more of what we really want to do: focus on enjoying our baby.
So Tell Me…How do you save for baby (fur babies included!) or any other big expense on the horizon?
PS – If you’re curious what we’ve racked up so far in expenses, swing by at the same time and same place next week.