Budgeting for a baby
December 2021 – 15 min read
There’s plenty to think about when welcoming a new baby, including short-term and one-off costs.
This life change also means some planning for your longer-term financial future.
Tracking spending, saving where you can, and using research and advice can all help as you plan for your new arrival.
Before baby arrives
There are a few important things to start thinking about and to budget for as you wait for your new arrival.
Plan for time off
Look into your options for maternity and parental leave. Employment Insurance (EI) benefits are available to people who have recently become parents, so make sure to look into these to cover your time off work. Some employers will top up parental leave benefits, so speak to your HR department once you know you’re expecting to see what your options are.
At this time, you can also look at what you’ll be able to receive from the government once your baby arrives. The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is a tax-free payment available to eligible families, and you can apply for it as soon as your baby is born.
Budget for big-ticket items
There are some must-have items that you’ll need to invest in to prepare your car and home for your new arrival.
Furniture such as a crib, changing table, and dresser are some of the larger items you’ll need to buy, and a car seat is essential. Other items like strollers and bassinets should also be on the list, as well as tech items such as baby monitors. It’s a good idea to do your research when shopping for these larger purchases to compare prices and then decide how you plan to buy these – you may want to pay outright, purchase on finance, or even ask for these as gifts through a registry.
Looking at the longer term
With all the excitement of decorating new nurseries and planning baby showers, make sure to carve out some time to look at some important long-term financial decisions, too.
First, if you have life insuranceOpens a new website in a new window, you may want to look into the process of adjusting your beneficiaries. You may even want to look into whether you want to buy life insurance for your child. At this time, many parents will also look at opening an RESPOpens a new website in a new window to start saving for their child’s post-secondary education.
With the anticipation of a new baby, it can be easy to put yourself last or put aside saving for your own future. However, it’s important to continue contributing to your RRSPOpens a new website in a new window, even if that monthly payment is scaled back somewhat. Especially while you’re off work and earning less, it may make sense to contribute less to your RRSP now and resume your regular saving once you’re back to work.
Start a rainy-day fund
Of course, even with the best laid plans, you may need to tap into an emergency budget here and there. If unexpected costs crop up, it’s good to have an everyday savings account handy so that you can cover them without having to dip into your investments and impact your long-term financial goals.
Consider your childcare options
It may seem a long way off, but how you plan to care for your childOpens in a new window before they’re school-age will have a big impact on your finances over the few years. If you don’t plan on returning to work, make sure to plan for how this will impact your household income. If you do plan on going back to work, look at the costs of options like daycare and Montessori. Depending on where you live, you might also want to look into waiting lists to make sure there’s a spot available for when the time comes.
Save where you can
There are some ways you can help stretch your budget, such as:
Slim down the shopping list
Talk to other parents about what they did – and didn’t – find useful. This first-hand experience can help you tell the difference between what’s essential and a nice-to-have, which can in turn result in you spending only on what your newborn really needs.
Determine what can be bought new vs used
Once you have your list handy, see if there’s anything you could receive as hand-me-downs from friends and family to help reduce the amount you need to buy.
Make the most of points
Can you redeem any points towards a purchase on a credit card or through a loyalty program? Chances are a new baby means you might shop at places you hadn’t before, so you may want to look into signing up to any rewards programs at baby-and-child retailers that can start earning points sooner rather than later.
Save it for the sales
Black Friday, Boxing Day and change of seasons usually mean lower prices, so you can make your baby budget go even further.
Sign up for deals
Many retailers offer discounts, early access to sales and other promotions to mailing lists. If you’ll be shopping a lot at stores for babies and children, consider signing up to receive email updates and/or flyers.
After baby arrives
You’ve paid the one-time costs, prepped and planned, and now your new little one is here. Now, it’s time to manage the ongoing costs of raising your baby.
The costs of having a baby might seem overwhelming, but the right planning and research can help you prepare for this exciting time.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to budgeting for baby, so make sure to plan around your specific needs and situation.
On top of your own savings and investments, government benefits can also help with the costs of raising a family.
If you have questions about your short-term needs or long-term goals, speaking to an advisor can help you prepare for the future.
The information provided is based on current laws, regulations and other rules applicable to Canadian residents. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. Rules and their interpretation may change, affecting the accuracy of the information. The information provided is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice in any specific situation. For specific situations, advice should be obtained from the appropriate legal, accounting, tax or other professional advisors.