How We Keep Our Monthly Expenses At $2,200 With A New Baby (sans Mortgage & Daycare)

Before our second baby’s arrival, Mr. FAF and I prepared ourselves mentally and financially for big expenses whether it’s a medical bill, Chinese take-out, or baby-related items.

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).

Related: 6 Tips On How To Cut Your Utility Bill

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.

Related: How To Save Money On Transportation in Washington DC

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.

Related: How We Are Preparing To Welcome Our 2nd Baby

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:

— Cooking

— Babysitting

— Cleaning the house

Related: Housework – The Financial Decision In A Marriage

1. Food

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.

Breakfast

 

Bed bean soup & pork and chive dumplings

Home-made meals

 

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.

 ProductPriceNotes
1Vitamin D drops$9.03Breast milk lacks vitamin D, so the pediatrician told me to add this to my breast milk.
2Medela Bottle Nipple Collars Rings$8.75For bottle feeding Baby F2
3Dr. Brown's Deluxe Baby Bottle Warmer$37.29For bottle feeding Baby F2
4Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads$12.99Self-explanatory
52 of Medela 3 Piece Wide Base Slow Flow Nipple, 0-4 Months$4.99For bottle feeding Baby F2
62 of Medela Breast Milk Collection and Storage Bottles$10.87For bottle feeding Baby F2
7Joyoung Soy Milk Maker$139.98Mr. 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)$100We 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.
TOTAL$323.90

Conclusion

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!

Related:

How 2 Frugal Parents Take Care Of A Newborn & A Toddler

Is It A Mistake To Get Married?

How We Are Preparing To Welcome Our 2nd Baby

What Has Surprised Me About My 2nd Pregnancy

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10 thoughts on “How We Keep Our Monthly Expenses At $2,200 With A New Baby (sans Mortgage & Daycare)”

  • OMG those chive dumplings look SO good to me right now!

    I guess we generally associate having children with more costs (because, well, true), but I didn’t think about potential or temporary savings, like transportation. Thanks for giving us an inside glimpse 🙂

    PS yes to outsourcing, and don’t look back!

  • My brother and his partner just had their daughter at the beginning of September! I’m sure they’re making so many of the adjustments you are too. They only have one baby now, but their income is reduced after 4 months because her first 4 months of EI are topped off by her job (after, she gets the standard). So they will have to work on budgeting for a while too.

    • Congrats on your niece! We’re definitely budgeting to get by this time without getting in debt. Sounds like your brother and his partner have a great plan!

  • This is really impressive! It’s important to note that both you and Mr FAF seem to have great maternity/paternity leave benefits with your current jobs. Other companies and industries aren’t so generous and that can definitely take a toll on monthly cash flow if parents decide to stay home for a period of time. Nevertheless, great job!

    • Great point! We’d be super worried and stressed if we didn’t have the current parental leave from our employers 🙂

  • Their is always the assumption that expenses are shot up once you have a baby but I think they are predicting you will take the baby to daycare which takes a huge chunk of your expenses. With you and Mr FAF having this time off work to take care of Baby F2 you see that these expenses are not as big as it seems because of what detailed above: no driving to work which means less spending on gas and no daycare since you two are taking care of the baby. Great job on keeping the costs down and try to keep it as low as you can.

  • I eat dishes made with pig feet. It is common in the African American rural communities in the deep South area where I live, and I love it. I also eat Ox Tail a lot with potatoes.

  • The home made meals look so delicious. As an Asian myself, I can totally relate. The only downside is that it takes time to prepare a meal like that. I hazard a guess that either your parents and your in-laws are there to offer some kind of help with that new born. I watched my Mom do both , working a 9-5 and preparing 3 meals a day, day in and day out. It was a grind for her. All the best with the new born.

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