My Pregnancy Fiscal Fitness Journal

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dariaclone
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My Pregnancy Fiscal Fitness Journal

Postby dariaclone » Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:33 pm

Well, we haven't even announced to a lot of friends yet, but since I've started thinking about it financially, I thought it was time for a journal. I'm pregnant and due in May with our first kid. There's obviously a ton of child-related issues, but I thought I would start with the pregnancy issues (first things first, after all).

1) It's open enrollment at my office. I like my PPO and am sticking with it, but delivery expenses are only covered at 90% which means that I need to try to figure out how to supplement my FSA (Flexible Spending Account). Of course, I have no idea what delivery costs, so I have no idea what to sock away. I have two weeks to investigate.

2) Clothes. I've gained around 4 pounds (well, 4 pounds from the top of monthly cycle of weigh gain and loss), so this means I weigh more than I have before. I wear lots of fitted clothes, so I don't really have room for many more pounds in my standard clothes (In fact, the button to my pants is unbuttoned now). So, I have to start thinking about clothes. Maternity clothes are still too big. There are these things called "belly bands" which you to lengthen the time you wear your clothes, but I think they say "pregnancy" to my co-workers before I'm ready. I probably should go hunt for some stretchy, elastic clothes on sale. But I don't want to overdo the spending. Now that I think about it, I probably should develop a pregnancy budget (separate from the kid budget) to give me a goal.

That's it for today. I'll be back with an update on those 2 times and perhaps more to do items later.
Last edited by dariaclone on Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sam
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Postby Sam » Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:33 am

Thanks for posting on this topic. My husband and I are also talking about moving forward with trying to get pregnant during 2008 so I'm interested to hear how things go for you money wise. My husband and I have talked a little bit about pregnancy/baby costs and these are the topics we've covered:
(1) Health insurance. We just went through open enrollment and we decided that I would stay on my health insurance which is more expensive but is also more comprehensive.
(2) Nused car. Neither of us have a car that will accommodate a baby seat so I've started saving for a nused car that will be the family car.
(3) We've talked generally about baby furniture but have not done any shopping or price comparison.
(4) We've also talked generally about nanny/child care expenses, but we need to do a lot more investigation.
(5) I've been planning on opening a baby expenses savings account but don't want to divert more funds away from my debt paydown project.

dariaclone
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Postby dariaclone » Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:59 am

Sam wrote:(1) Health insurance. We just went through open enrollment and we decided that I would stay on my health insurance which is more expensive but is also more comprehensive.
(2) Nused car. Neither of us have a car that will accommodate a baby seat so I've started saving for a nused car that will be the family car.
(3) We've talked generally about baby furniture but have not done any shopping or price comparison.
(4) We've also talked generally about nanny/child care expenses, but we need to do a lot more investigation.
(5) I've been planning on opening a baby expenses savings account but don't want to divert more funds away from my debt paydown project.


As for your (2) and (3), we have a car that runs and live in the city, so we spend a lot of time walking. A car seat will still be on the list, but the car won't be. Obviously, "stuff" generally is a big question and once we're further along we'll investigate more. But for a crib, we're making a family project out of it. My dad has some spare wood, which he'll cut and prep for us and my husband and I will stain and assemble the crib. I'll post updates on it. And we're handing down our furniture (it was mine from middle school) to the kid and buying ourselves a new dresser.

And for (4) and (5), they've obviously crossed my mind. My husband and I are in a pretty good financial position (minimal debt), but obviously determining the kid's needs will take some serious investigation. I will definitely keep you posted.

knikki
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Postby knikki » Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:39 pm

Clothes

As far as clothes go, get dresses. There are lots of stretchy knit/jersey dresses out there right now. I know that walmart and target have a bunch in their regular and maternity sections. The maternity ones don't look like maternity clothes until you really start getting a baby belly.

Furniture

Be careful on making your own crib. Make sure everything is sanded super smooth. Make absolutely any paint/stain/varnish you use is safe to ingest. Babies will chew on the crib rails and likely ingest small bits of whatever you use.

Also make absolutely certain that the pieces are measured perfectly so that the mattress fits in tight (in fact probably what you think is too tight). An all too common cause of infant death is babies getting caught between an ill-fitting mattress and the side of the crib and suffocating.

Delivery Expenses

Make sure you look into the normal drug-fee birth, epidural assisted birth, c-section birth costs. You may not be planning on using an epidural or having a c-section, but you never know what will happen. If you wind up needing an emergency c-section or deciding you want an epidural, that will raise your costs.

Child Care

This, as you have stated, varies greatly from area to are and from one type to the next. I know that in our area, one child (still in diapers and using bottles) will cost $200-300 a week.

Incidental expenses

Don't forget to factor in all the incidentals. Diapers add up fast. Formula (if you are using it) is expensive, as is a breast pump if you are not. New clothes every couple of months add up. After the firth 6 months you have to start adding in baby food. That stuff is not cheap (unless you buy a food mill and make your own).


Here is a site that breaks down expenses: http://d236734.u27.hsphere.clientsource ... ld.php#top

I believe it is using number for the chicago area, but it should give you a good starting point.

dariaclone
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Postby dariaclone » Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:55 pm

Thanks for the financial link. It does look related to Chicago, so that's helpful. And I just spent some time on the Target website. Liz Lange does make a suit as well, which could be useful. I may have to make a trip this weekend or place an on-line order.

As for the crib, the pattern does meet the safety requirements and is from a reputable source. (I was nervous myself, but satisfied myself with the standards.)

knikki
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Postby knikki » Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:01 pm

dariaclone wrote:Thanks for the financial link. It does look related to Chicago, so that's helpful. And I just spent some time on the Target website. Liz Lange does make a suit as well, which could be useful. I may have to make a trip this weekend or place an on-line order.


I love the Liz Lange stuff. It last forever too. I have two dresses that I bought in 2004 wore thoughout my pregnancy and have worn ever since because they fit, they are comfortable and they don't look like maternity stuff.

Are you in Chicago? I did not realize that when I posted it. I commented about because we are from Chicago, all the better if it is where you are from too.

dariaclone
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Postby dariaclone » Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:05 am

I am in Chicago. And I got dressed this morning, I remembered why the dress idea doesn't work so well for me...it's cold!

knikki
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Postby knikki » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:12 am

Tights!

Also the further along you get, the more likely you will not mind being dressed a little more on the cool side.

MossySF
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Postby MossySF » Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:01 pm

A few years back, I remember our out of pocket costs being about $3000+ at 90% insurance coverage.

As for clothes, try some of the boutique shops in ethnic neighborhoods. My wife didn't have to wear maternity clothes at all by wearing different types of korea.

consultantjournal
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Postby consultantjournal » Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:06 pm

If you are going to spend money on anything, get a good stroller. You don't need a fancy Bugaboo, but you should expect to pay $300-$600 for a new stroller. Look on Craigslist for a recent used one.

You'll also want to budget for car seats. You will need an infant car seat and a toddler car seat within the first year. Do not buy a used one -- it may have been in an accident and there is no way to see the damage.
Andrea Coutu
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dariaclone
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Postby dariaclone » Wed Nov 07, 2007 6:10 pm

MossySF wrote:A few years back, I remember our out of pocket costs being about $3000+ at 90% insurance coverage.

As for clothes, try some of the boutique shops in ethnic neighborhoods. My wife didn't have to wear maternity clothes at all by wearing different types of korea.


Thanks Mossy, that number is very useful. Between your info and the link that knikki sent earlier, it probably means I should just max out the flex spending account. I can always find another use for it at the end of the year if needed (contacts and glasses, for instance).

And thanks for the shopping tips. I do need to be creative. So far, I've tried Craigslist to no avail. Note to self: List clothes in the relevant season when selling (There are currently a bunch of summer maternity clothes on Craigslist now.) I need to search out some second-hand stores as well.

Andrea: I'll get to strollers and car seats later--I've got 6 more months to go. One step at a time. (Or as I hear myself saying in a What About Bob voice: "Baby Steps."

Knikki: I ordered a Target dress today, but the hormones which heat up my body need to kick in this winter. Tights do not cut it in a 20-minute wait for a bus in the dead of winter!

Baker
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Postby Baker » Wed Nov 07, 2007 6:33 pm

I'm not sure where in Chicago you are but MossySF numbers were pretty much identical for me at northwest community hospital in Arlington heights. The total Cost was about $30,000 so 10% would be $3,000. Do you have an out of pocket max on your insurance? I got lucky that year (kind of) and had already hit my $2,500 max so everything was 100% covered.

That being said if you live in the city I HIGHLY recommend the New Prentice Womans Hospital at Northwestern. It just opened about two weeks ago and is absolutely amazing. After having a child at one hospital and spending two years working on that one there is no comparison between the two.

As far as kids clothes go we really didn't end up buying anything for the first year. A lot of friends and family have boxes of baby clothes lying around that the husband is usually glad to get out of the house ;) Between that and shower/christmas gifts we did not to buy much of anything.

If you're planning on using formula go to the various companies websites and register. They will all send you samples and very generous coupons. I had a few friends and family register also so we got a lot of coupons and free formula.

Also go to the diaper company's websites, they mail out nice coupons pretty regularly.

Maybe other people are different but I could never see paying $300-600 for a stroller. Our first car seat/stroller set-up was about $220 and worked great, and was also highly rated in all safety tests. Eventually I had to replace the infant car seat but the stroller continued to worked fine without it far past that time.

dariaclone
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Postby dariaclone » Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:54 pm

Baker, thanks.

Out-of-pocket max: I've never hit it, so I didn't think about that factor. But it's around $3k, so the numbers still mesh with yours and Mossy's.

Prentice: That's the plan as of now. I love all things new and modern, so I can't wait.

Clothes: I have lots of friends (both the moms and dads) who are ready to ship off the clothes, so we should have lots of otions in that realm. Unfortunately, none of my friends were pregnant in the same season as me, so I'm a little out of luck in the borrowing maternity clothes realm.

Food and Diapers: At this point, the plan is breastfeeding and cloth diapers, which incur their own set of expenses. I'll probably come back to those in a few months.

Car Seats and Strollers
And since everyone wants to talk about car seats and strollers, I'll go ahead and admit I do have a plan. We're looking at an infant car seat and a Snap and Go (which the infant seat snaps into). Space is a huge concern for us so the full-fledged conversion system is out. Plus, the giant strollers just don't work in the city (Work well that is. Anyway who has seen one of those strollers at Taste of Chicago can vouch for that.) Once the kid is big enough, we'll get an umbrella stroller that will collapse easily for use on the train and bus. Oh, and I have a few flights of stairs and no garage (although there is the trunk of the car), so lightweight and compact are absolutes!

We're also hoping our kid likes a sling or another carriers. Those are so much easier for getting around in the city (and take up less storage room) than the big strollers.

With that, I really should leave this journal alone for awhile and focus on work, so I can earn the money we need for the kid :-)

consultantjournal
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Postby consultantjournal » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:51 pm

My advice for strollers may not be applicable if you live in the suburbs and don't plan to use a stroller much. But, if you live in an urban area, you'll find that the extra money for a stroller can be very worthwhile. It will be lighter and easier to steer.

I'm a very frugal person, but I'm on my third stroller. My first was an Eddie Bauer travel system. It was okay. I got an incredible deal on it, making it cheaper than a Peg Perego car seat alone. However, for various reasons, I switched to a Peg Perego stroller (but not car seat), which was much, much nicer. I left the Eddie at my parents' for use during visits there. The Peg was easier to lift, steer, pop up, fold and so on. Plus I could have my baby face me when I wanted. My third stroller is a double stroller. It retails for $1000, but I got it for $750 on Craigslist (3 months old). It is much, much easier to steer and move than either of the smaller single strollers! Plus, given resale value, I can probably sell it for $550 or $650 later. Given that I figure it will prevent me from resorting to the car, I figure I will make up the cost very quickly.
Andrea Coutu
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MossySF
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Postby MossySF » Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:52 am

My own stroller experience was that it wasn't used very often for very long. It seems like he went from being carried around in a rear facing carseat to running around in nearly no time. But every kid is different so it's hard to predict how much use a stroller will get.


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