If you’ve noticed things have been quieter around here lately, it’s because Baby Steward #2, Squidge, is around 17 weeks gestation at this point. The upside of later babies is that you need a lot less stuff the second time around. With that said, the pregnancy has definitely put a damper on our budget the past few months. Here are the big changes:
Our food budget gets huge when I am pregnant. First, I’m just hungrier. Both Mr. Steward and I normally do very light dinners, choosing instead to eat a large lunch at the work cafeteria and mostly snack for dinner. That doesn’t cut it when I’m pregnant. I need a significant meal in the evening to not feel ill. But, thanks to nausea and fatigue, food preparation and buying has largely fallen to Mr. Steward. That means more convenience food than cooking from scratch, which is more expensive. We have also done a lot more eating out, when we just didn’t have time to worry about it.
The impact to our budget was significant in the scheme of things: Our grocery budget went up by about 30%, and our eating out budget, which we had gotten fairly low, tripled. All in all, we have spent about an extra $275 per month the first trimester on food, almost double our overall budget.
I could avoid these extra expenses if I were better at meal prep, doing freezer meals and the like. Honestly, though, the reason we rely on light dinners is that I’ve never been particularly good with the type of organization that goes into meal planning.
The upside of a second child is that you need very little by way of baby items if you keep everything from the first. I only replaced or got a few items I thought would have been nice after the first time–a different type of baby bath, a bumbo seat, and a different style of nursing pillow. I spent about $26 on the items, all told. I got these items used from the local resale shop.
If it turns out we are having a boy, I have my eye on a few irresistible outfits that will probably cost about $25. We also still need diapers and some toiletries for me in advance. I suspect these will run another $100.
We ended up buying the Pepaw van, for $13,200. We financed $10,000, and expect to pay it off right about the time the baby arrives. This is in lieu of aggressively paying on our house to remove the PMI.
I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek including this expense, because this was a luxury buy that was in no way necessary just because we were having a second child. You absolutely can cart two kids around even in a compact car. Nonetheless, if we weren’t having another kid, we probably would not have gotten a larger vehicle. I’m pleased to say that driving it the past few weeks has been exceptionally nice, particularly since lifting our two-year-old into the car is becoming difficult. She can get herself in and out of the van, which means I take her more places.
Our gas budget has largely stayed the same, although a long trip will need more. Our insurance went up by $20 per month.
Honestly, while there will be medical costs, we’re essentially counting these as non-existent in our budget. I have around $5,000 sitting in an HSA from my previous job where they funded our HSAs very generously. The new job has a traditional plan, so the birth, without complications, should only cost a couple thousand dollars between the doctor and the hospital stay. We’ve never included the HSA in our budgets or net worth calculations, knowing we’d spend it on a second child. So, it feels like the birth is free, although technically it’s just prepaid from my previous position.
One thing I always splurge for is a photographer for pictures of our kids. I bought two sessions for Bean last year when my photographer had her annual discount sale. She is allowing me to convert the second into a newborn session for an additional $75 (which makes it the discount price for the newborn session).
At my current job, I receive 8 weeks paid time off for a vaginal birth (10 weeks for a c-section), and an extra 6 weeks unpaid leave under FMLA. Assuming I go to term, I intend to stay home 11-12 weeks, which means we’ll miss about three of my paychecks, or $2400 of income. We intend to simply tighten the budget for those months. We currently apply over $1,000 per month to our goals, which should about cover it.
What is the Overall Impact of These Expenses?
Honestly, there isn’t much of one. The upside of living an otherwise fairly frugal life with a big emergency fund is that we don’t really have to worry about unexpected expenses or a few months of abnormally heavy spending in a few categories. It slows our goal progress slightly, and we have to work to make sure we don’t let the spending bleed over into times when it’s less necessary. Overall, though, we’re reaping the benefits of keeping savings in the bank and a healthy margin in our budget by having much less stress in this spendier season.
Now as for how the budget will get restructured after the baby… stay tuned.