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Although we wanted to save money, we also understood that our spending might go through the roof, at least for the first month or so of having our daughter.
This morning, three weeks after our daughter was born, however, Mr. FAF came to me with a big smile, “My credit card balance right now is $1,470.”
Mr. FAF and I put all of our daily expenses on our credit cards with the exception of the mortgage, daycare tuition, HOA fee and utility bills which come out of our joint checking account (~$3,000/mo), and the health insurance ($100/mo) and public transit contribution ($200/mo) which comes out of my paycheck pre-tax.
I told him my balance was about $250.
We had one week left until our daughter was one month told.
We will have to do one week of grocery shopping before our baby is one month old, which would be about $100, making the total spending be roughly $2,110 for our first month of having a newborn:
$1,470 + $250 + $300 for electricity & water + $100 pre-tax for health insurance + $91 for HOA fee (not including mortgage and daycare).
Overall, we managed to stay close to our $2,000 budget for the month.
Of course, this number will vary in the future. But Mr. FAF and I were amazed at how we didn’t go overboard with our spending.
Lowered expenses – (-$290)
The biggest expense that is lowered due to Mr. FAF and me taking paternal leave is transportation costs. Each month it costs me about $200 to take the Metro and Mr. FAF $120 to buy gas.
After our baby is born, I decided to stay at home for 2.5 months, so it saves us $200/mo or $500 in total. Mr. FAF doesn’t have to drive almost two hours each way for work, so our gas bill went from $120 to about $30 during the month he’s been off.
In total, we saved $290 in transportation costs during the 1st month, $200 in the 2nd month, and about $100 in the 3rd month of our baby’s birth. This greatly reduces our total monthly expenses.
Health insurance increase – $0
During the baby’s first month, she is covered by my health insurance. Starting in the second month, however, she will need to be added to our family plan.
We currently pay $100/mo pre-tax for our family of 3. I was ready to pay $30/more each month, but HR told me it would cost us $0 to add our baby since I’m already enrolled in a family plan (woot woot!).
I also have a great health insurance plan that covers 100% of the costs of my pregnancy and delivery, bringing my medical bill for my baby’s birth to $0.
Outsourcing – Yay or Nay?
In order to relieve the workload of having a newborn and taking care of a toddler, we thought about outsourcing/spending money on some of these tasks:
— Cleaning the house
This is the category where we expected the biggest increase in spending.
Cooking is on top of the list since it’s so time-consuming and tiring. We bought a lot of frozen food from Costco and even thought about ordering lots of take-out.
However, we haven’t eaten out or ordered take-out a lot for two reasons. First, Mr. FAF insists that I need to eat healthy and sticks with a Chinese diet for new mothers for a quick recovery.
He found a restaurant that can provides exactly that diet, but it would cost $2,000/month. Since it’s so expensive and far away from our house (only pick-up and no delivery), Mr. FAF took the matter in his own hands and cooks almost every day.
Second, one time we spent $72 on a couple of dishes from a nearby Chinese restaurant and were deeply disappointed with both the quality of quantity.
The food lasted 3 meals for us, which came out to about $24/meal for two people. It just screams expensive to us, so we stopped ordering take-out from that restaurant.
Two weeks later, both of us got tired of cooking and eating almost the same food every day, so Mr. FAF ordered takeout from another restaurant. The food was much better. It cost $49 in total and lasted three meals ($16/meal for two people). We try to limit ordering take-out since we know it’s expensive and not that healthy either.
Since then, Mr. FAF tries to cook a lot for us to have leftovers for the next meal. We went to a dim sum after Baby F2 turned two weeks and paid $30 for it.
Dim sum on a family day out
Below are examples of what we ate at home. The food shown below is mainly for me. Soup helps with milk production. And nutritious food helps produce quality milk for the baby and helps the baby recover faster.
Bed bean soup & pork and chive dumplings
Black chicken soup & white-meat chicken soup
Oxtail soup & pig feet soup (It is a common belief in Vietnam and China that pig foot soup can greatly enhance breast milk production for the baby.)
Costco frozen food
Breaded shrimp & soup dumplings
Pizza with cheese topping
2. Babysitting – $0
Before and right after Baby F2 was born, Mr. FAF insisted we look for a nanny to help take care of her.
However, seeing that the only time our baby needs to be taken care of is when she breastfeeds and wakes up at night, I realized that having a nanny at this time is not necessary for two reason.
First, only I can breastfeed the baby during the day and prefer to do so over bottle feeding, so I will still need to take care of her.
Second, I don’t like the idea of having a stranger in our house at night and doubt if any nanny wants to take the night shift. Coupled with the desire to save money, we decided not to hire a nanny to help with the baby.
Some neighbors offered to watch our son on the weekends or when we need a break. But ours son goes to daycare full-time. We want to keep him at home with us on the weekends and in the evenings and don’t want to bother other people, so we haven’t taken them up on their offer yet. Maybe sometime in the future.
3. Cleaning the house – $0
I used to clean the house once every week or every other week. However, Mr. FAF took over that duty two weeks before my due date and right after our daughter was born.
how exhausted he is with other chores, we try to clean up after ourselves so that we don’t have to clean the whole house so often. I’d say now we clean our house once every three weeks. I still try to clean the bathrooms once every week though.
I asked Mr. FAF if he wants to hire a cleaner, and he said it’s not necessary. We don’t have a lot of stuff at our house, especially after the spring decluttering, so it helps keep the house in order and needs less cleaning.
Baby-related purchases – $323.90
We love Amazon Prime at the FAF household. It saves us so much time when it comes to shopping for the things that we need.
It takes us a couple of minutes to look up the item on the website instead of driving to the store and waiting in line. Shopping has never been easier.
However, we try to limit our purchases only to the items that we absolutely need. Below are all the baby-related purchases we have bought so far.
We got a lot of hand-me-downs from neighbors and friends. We still have baby stuff from our son. All of that keeps our spending on our baby to a minimum.
The total costs of my almost 9 month pregnancy was only $68.
– $4 for 4 Dollar Tree pregnancy tests
– $24 for prenatal vitamins (3 bottles with 100 tablets each – generic brand)
– $10 co-pay for 1st appointment (to see if I was truly pregnant)
– $30 for prenatal yoga intro pass.
Below is the list of items I bought after the baby’s arrival.
|1||Vitamin D drops||$9.03||Breast milk lacks vitamin D, so the pediatrician told me to add this to my breast milk.|
|2||Medela Bottle Nipple Collars Rings||$8.75||For bottle feeding Baby F2|
|3||Dr. Brown's Deluxe Baby Bottle Warmer||$37.29||For bottle feeding Baby F2|
|4||Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads||$12.99||Self-explanatory|
|5||2 of Medela 3 Piece Wide Base Slow Flow Nipple, 0-4 Months||$4.99||For bottle feeding Baby F2|
|6||2 of Medela Breast Milk Collection and Storage Bottles||$10.87||For bottle feeding Baby F2|
|7||Joyoung Soy Milk Maker||$139.98||Mr. FAF said that I should drink a lot of soy milk to help with the breast milk production. We invested in this machine hoping it will save us time from making soy milk manually.|
|Chicco Cortina double-stroller (used)||$100||We bought this double-stroller at a consignment store for me to take both kids to daycare .The original price was $300, so I think we got a good deal.|
There you have it: A look into our budget one month after our baby girl is born.
We really hope that our expenses will stay this low (at least until she starts daycare). We will keep you posted on our future financial endeavors!