Many millennials want to become parents, but their finances are holding them back.
The combined burden of student loan debt and sky-high housing prices make having a family seem like an unaffordable dream, but it doesn’t have to be. It might take some dollar stretching and extra budgeting, but you can afford to have the family you want — you just need to save for it!
Start your Baby Fund now
You have an Emergency Fund, you have a Retirement Fund, and now you need a Baby Fund. Ideally, you would start this before you even begin trying to become pregnant, but even if you find yourself with an unplanned baby like yours truly, a Baby Fund is a crucial first step to ensuring your family starts off on the right financial foot.
A Baby Fund is a dedicated savings account to afford all pregnancy, birth, and child-related expenses.
This is where you’ll save for everything from maternity clothes to prenatal massages to baby toys. Put enough money in your Baby Fund, and you can use it later to top up your maternity leave or even pay for childcare when you go back to work.
To make your money go as far as possible, put your Baby Fund in a no-fee high-interest savings account. The interest rate on the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account is currently 2.30% –far above all others. There’s no minimum balances and no monthly fees. Additionally, unlimited day-to-day transactions mean you don’t have to worry about actually spending the money when you need to on pregnancy and baby expenses.
Outline a Baby Budget
You don’t know what you don’t know, and chances are if you’ve never been pregnant or had a baby you don’t know exactly how much they cost. Don’t worry! Start at the beginning: a pregnancy budget.
Pregnancy lasts 9 months and necessitates a number of essential and optional expenses, but some of the things you should explore and price out so you can get an idea of the cost include:
- prenatal vitamins
- maternity clothes
- a pregnancy pillow
- prenatal yoga or fitness classes
- prenatal massages or chiropractic care
- childbirth & breastfeeding classes
- a doula
- a maternity/birth photographer
- special birth costs (birth center fees, water birth tub, TENS rental, birth ball)
Some items you can go without, some you can find free options for, some you can get secondhand, and some might be covered by your health insurance. There are a number of ways to mediate costs of pregnancy and childbirth, but you should expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 just being pregnant. See? You want to get a head start on that Baby Fund!
When it comes to budgeting for your baby, you want to consider both large ticket and small expenses like:
- a breast pump
- nursing pillow & nursing supplies (lanolin ointment, nursing pads)
- a stroller
- a car seat
- a baby carrier
- baby clothes
- baby accessories (blankets, burp cloths)
- baby toys
- nursery furniture (crib, dresser, changing table)
- baby care items (thermometer, nail clippers, baby bathtub)
- diapers or diaper service
- newborn photographer
While it might seem like you need to buy everything right away, you don’t. Some purchases, like a baby swing or even a stroller, can be delayed until after the baby is born. Likewise, resist the temptation to “stock up” on things like diapers on your regular grocery trips — you might find the brand you choose doesn’t work with your baby because of allergies or leaks. Finally, don’t forget the baby shower! Once you find out you’re pregnant, create a baby registry and send it to friends & family who will be attending your baby shower so they can buy you what you need. Trust me, people LOVE to spoil a newborn baby, so you’re better off waiting to see what you receive as gifts before you make any baby purchases yourself.
The EQ Bank savings goals feature will let you track your savings, so once you have an idea of how much you need to save for pregnancy and baby, set your savings goal up in your account and track your progress.
Make your savings plan
One of the easiest ways to make your baby savings plan is to have it follow your weeks or months of pregnancy. For example, the average pregnancy is typically 40 weeks. If you can allocate $100 per week to your baby fund, you’ll save $4,000. Manage to boost this to $150 per week, and you’ll be able to bank $6,000. If you choose a high-interest savings account like the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account, you’ll have even more thanks to the great interest rate!
BONUS: As a special treat for my readers, new EQ Bank Savings Plus Accounts opened have the chance to win one of 10 $150 deposits. That’s enough for 2 months of diapers!
Don’t feel guilty withdrawing from your Baby Fund during pregnancy for pregnancy-related expenses. That’s exactly what it’s for! The entire purpose of setting up a Baby Fund is to help you afford all things related to your new little human, and sometimes that includes splurges like a prenatal massage. Enjoy, mama!
Set up automatic transfers to your Baby Fund
Wondering how you’ll save for expensive items like childbirth classes and a stroller? The same way you save for anything: consistently.
One of the best ways to make sure there’s always money for your Baby Fund is to set up an automatic transfer from your chequing account to your Baby Fund savings account to happen weekly or bi-weekly.
If you time this to happen on payday or the day after, there will always be money available to move to the account. Additionally, setting your savings up to happen automatically means you don’t have to worry about it, and you’ll probably find it doesn’t disrupt the rest of your budget in any noticeable way.
Look for ways to further top up your Baby Fund with extra cash
To maximize your baby savings, always direct any unexpected cash windfalls to the savings account. This can be anything from birthday money to a tax refund to the rewards from a cash-back credit card.
Anytime an extra dollar comes into your hands, deposit it into your Baby Fund. The high interest on your savings means even small amounts can help it grow fast, so make every dollar count.
The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account lets you bank securely and safely from your desktop or mobile, so you can transfer extra cash to your Baby Fund on the go. Funds deposited up to $100,000 are eligible for insurance by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, so your money stays safe.
If you’re looking to the future and that includes a little one (or two!) start your Baby Fund now, so you can focus more on the joys of parenthood and less on the cost!
This post was sponsored by EQ Bank. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.