How to Stick to Your Baby Budget

Easy tips and guidance to stick to a budget when you're expecting your first (or another) child


Baby bundled in a blanket with a dollar sign

The stork has arrived with the newest light of your life—a beautiful, bouncing baby! First thing’s first—build your new baby budget. Haven’t gotten that far yet? No worries! That’s why we’re here to help.


After you build your budget for your newest addition, what’s next? Sticking to it! Sure, easier said than done, huh? (We promise to walk you through each step along the way.)


As you probably already know, having a baby will change more than your social life and sleep schedule. We’re here to help you financially navigate through both the happy moments and unexpected challenges of being a parent.



New baby budget tips


Expect to spend a little more the first few months.

Hopefully you have some books, toys and other baby necessities set up and ready to go (thank goodness for baby showers!). If you don’t, consider purchasing those items during your pregnancy. That way, you can try to spread the new baby costs throughout the year, rather than all at once. Even so, the first few months will come with extra—and sometimes, unforeseen—expenses. Diapers, clothes, food—oh baby, they sure can add up!



Check in on your budget often.


As with any budget, whether it’s a new baby budget or your general life budget, you’ll want to check in every few weeks to ensure your budget is on track. You don’t need to micromanage yourself here! Instead, just keep an eye on your cash flow and ensure you’re still able to save for the future (retirement plans, investments and emergencies don’t stop just because you had a baby!).



Consider how much paid and unpaid time off you are taking.


Most companies offer some sort of paid leave. But, not all offer paternity leave or leave for adoption and foster children. Even if your employer offers maternity leave, many people still have to use all of their vacation time and still have to rely on FMLA. Most employer maternity leaves do not cover 12 weeks of pay. That means, many times, new parents are taking unpaid leave from their job. Remember, your PTO can vary dramatically, depending on where you work, so don’t just assume you’ll have the standard two weeks to work with. Get ahead of this by talking with your employer before your new baby arrives, and factor this into your budget.



Reuse, recycle.


Hey, baby won’t know if her crib is from your bestie’s house or his fancy stroller is a hand-me-down! As long as it’s still safe (especially car seats and cribs!) and clean, borrowing baby items is the way to go! Ask around or take a peek in your neighborhood’s parents’ Facebook page. Finding used toys and other baby supplies can be super easy. And, many times, they are good as new!



Begin saving early.


Now’s the time to begin putting money aside for your little one. As we often say, save often and save early! If you plan on contributing to their college tuition or to any of their future expenses, set up an account and decide how much you will eventually add to it. Are you still wondering if you should put money aside for your child’s college tuition? Or, still wondering what the heck a 529 plan is?! We can help! Log onto to Pocketnest app and try our college savings calculator.


Pocketnest app screen for college tuition planning


Become the coupon hero!


Now’s a good time to download couponing apps and look out for the latest and greatest sales. Even if a sale on baby shampoo only saves you 10 cents, the amount you will save overall will add up fast. And, hey, you can put that extra cash to work for you!



Put a little cash aside for any unforeseen expenses.


Kids are unpredictable. Set a little sum of money to the side, just in case. This cash is on top of your typical emergency fund. And, just as important as building your emergency fund, is knowing when to spend your “rainy day” cash.




Have more budget q’s? Need to plan for other expenses, such as a new home or setting up a budget? Check out more of our nest tips for quick, helpful advice! And, of course, log onto to Pocketnest app and get the rest of your financial plan in order. All it takes to reach financial wellness is 3 minutes a week!