The flood of emotions that come over you when you see a line on that stick usually come in this order: Wow. Is this for real? It can't be... but it is! I'm so happy, but I'm so scared. What do I do now? OMG, how in the world can we afford a baby?
Yes, having a child will definitely require some recalculating of the family budget, but being pregnant doesn't have to cost a fortune. Luckily, there are a ton of simple ways to save as you anxiously await the arrival of your little one:
*Borrow, borrow, borrow
*Once you announce your pregnancy to friends and co-workers, you'll likely be flooded with offers of gently used maternity clothing — the more you can borrow, the less you'll have to buy. Nest Judy gave me a bunch of things. Since the amount of time you'll wear your maternity clothing is so short, it's not worth a lot of investment. If you do decide to splurge on some trendy belly-hugging styles, look for sales and free shipping deals online.
*Skip the newsstand
*By announcing your pregnancy to your doctor, your insurance company will know, and eventually, somehow, the marketers will know, too. Your mailbox will soon be flooded with free issues of all kinds of pregnancy magazines (no subscription necessary!). Many OB office waiting rooms also have stacks of free magazines you can take with you. I didn't purchase even one pregnancy magazine with my own money, yet we always seemed to have stacks of them all over the apartment.
*Join product clubs
*Start stocking up on diapers and supplies and you'll see that many brands offer clubs you can join for discounts and free merchandise. I had an unhealthy obsession with the Pampers "Gifts to Grow" program. By visiting the web site and entering a 15-digit code found on the inside of the product packages, we collected points and redeemed them for free toys and books in their rewards catalog. If you choose to formula feed, join the club on the web site of the brand you'll use. Formula checks, that you can use like a coupon, will arrive in the mail every few weeks or so. Big savings!
*Start clipping those coupons
*You know you're going to need a ton of diapers, so why wait? Use this down time before baby arrives to scour newspapers — and your free magazines! — for coupons. Clip them and save them in a neatly labeled, organized folder (this will be key in the first few weeks when you're searching for them on your way out the door, on little to no sleep!). Manufacturer's coupons often have an expiration date of a year or more out, so it definitely pays to start collecting early. Ask the grandparents-to-be to help, too!