Written by Barry Choi
Monday, February 26th, 2018
Despite being a personal finance expert, I have to admit that my wife and I made some money mistakes as new parents. Sure, we were ready for the drop in income and modified our budget accordingly, but it's still shocking how much we spent once our little one arrived.
Some of these "mistakes" may seem obvious, but a lack of sleep and best intentions clouded our judgement. Here are the money mistakes we made as new parents and what we learned from them.
Buying Things We Didn't Need
As an expectant new parent, you're told (or you think) you'll need certain things, but you may not know for sure that these are needs until the baby comes. Before our baby was born, we decided that we wanted to use cloth diapers. We knew they'd save us money in the long run, and they were great for the environment. Once our baby was born, we quickly realized that we would need to wash a lot of diapers daily, so we stopped using them. Overall, since we did a lot of research and got a lot of advice, we managed to avoid buying unnecessary baby items such as a stroller bassinet, bottle sterilizer and bottle set. A lot of these purchases can wait until after your baby is born when you'll know if you actually need them.
Spending Too Much on Takeout
Although we cooked and froze some meals in advance, it took us about a month before we were able to get back into the swing of cooking our own food. Since we were trying to figure out the baby's needs and the changes to our schedules, we ended up ordering a lot of takeout. This saved us time, but it obviously cost us more money. Fortunately, it didn't take us too long to get back into our routine.
Buying Too Many Things (to Help our Baby Sleep)
We were buying anything that we thought would help our baby sleep. There was a point where we bought different sleepers, onesies, swaddle blankets, white noise machines, and different pacifiers in hopes that it would help her (and us) sleep better. We would've even bought magic beans if someone had told us it would get her to sleep. In the end, our baby was just going through a phase. Everything worked itself out without the assistance of any products.
We Bought Everything New
We were happy to accept hand-me-downs, but we bought everything new before our baby was born. There's nothing wrong with buying new, but we could have easily bought many of our baby accessories secondhand at much lower prices. After our baby was born, we did buy some items used and realized that many of the things being sold online were only gently used and in good or near perfect condition.
Some items, like strollers, need to be purchased with greater care. The government has tips for choosing a safe stroller.
All new parents will make money mistakes, but don't stress out about it. Enjoy this time with your new baby, and keep your finances top-of-mind so you can get your budget back on track.