Planning a Budget-friendly Pregnancy

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Introducing new life into this wacky world of ours is tricky. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you are an expectant mother, you are one of approximately four million women in America. Pair pregnancy with inflated prices for common household goods, and your budget can get completely thrown out of sorts. Single parent or not, when expecting, the task of determining what is most important budget-wise is daunting. You want to make sure your newborn is cared for, while still having money left for other expenses. Use the following four tips to minimize costs for basic needs so you can ensure a bright future and balanced budget.

1. Breastfeed

Newborns require specific and appropriate nutrition. That’s why so many new mothers turn to formula. However, formula can be costly, especially when the alternative is free. Also, breastfeeding has been known to reduce the odds of sudden infant death syndrome by 37 percent. Choosing to breastfeed instead of purchase formula can save you anywhere between $1,200-$1,500 total, according to womenshealth.gov. This savings is quite substantial, especially since The Affordable Care Act provides services for breastfeeding equipment coverage without co-pays.

2. Use Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers are a healthy alternative to disposable diapers. The Real Diaper Association reports disposable diapers contain chemicals such as sodium polyacrylate, which has been linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome and associated with severe diaper rash. Not to mention, the environmental waste disposable diapers produce is substantial. Greenchildmagazine.com states 49 million diapers are disposed of each day, each diaper taking between 200-500 years to decompose. Cloth diapers on the other hand, can save you up to $2,000, while also saving the planet.

3. Acquire Health Care

Your newborn is, without a doubt, going to require health care from the start of your pregnancy onward. The American Pregnancy Association reports Medicaid and WIC (both government programs) are available to qualifying families and individuals. However, if you do not fit the requirements for these programs, there are other services such as AmeriPlan to assist you. AmeriPlan can reduce the cost of health care services up to 50 percent and is available almost nationwide. Whatever your situation, contact either your current health care provider, or check out AmeriPlanUSA to enlist the best coverage for you and your newborn.

Sometimes the best coverage for your family may mean signing up for a higher deductible option, lowering your monthly premium. If you do decide to go this route, be sure you have access to a lump sum of cash should an emergency occur and you are faced with paying down the deductible. Talking with a family member and setting up a future emergency plan may be doable. Or, if you are receiving annuity payments you can sell to a company like J.G. Wentworth. That might be your backup plan. For some mothers, this money may be more beneficial up front than if it arrives on a regular schedule in the future. Receiving that cash now or later is a personal decision. Do what benefits your family.

Cash Now or Later? – The Annuity Holder’s Dilemma http://t.co/y805wzYAFc

— J.G. Wentworth (@jgwentworth) October 15, 2013

4. Research Childcare

Finally, as a parent you will require reliable care for your child when you are at work or otherwise unable to perform parental duties. Plan out exactly how you will find this care by referring to trusted sources such as neighbors, friends, family or a child care center. Balance cost with your specific needs. Will you be consistently busy, or is your schedule sporadic?

If you absolutely must rely on a babysitter, require him or her to be as skilled as possible. Womenshealth.gov suggests babysitters be trained on the ins and outs of child safety, including infant/child CPR. The American Red Cross also offers a babysitter’s training course, which can be something to look for when interviewing candidates.