How to put finances in order, plan for maternity leave and become a realist on expanding our nest
Photo by Ashleigh Jayne
When Tyler and I found out we were having Vivi, we had some serious number crunching to do. Since we are both business owners, we get an insane amount of joy from crunching the numbers. But we also had other motives besides sheer euphoria. There would be no maternity leave pay and my income would definitely change once our little girl was here so we definitely had to be on our best behavior spending wise.
First thing I did was put together an excel sheet of all the things we needed before her arrival. This is similar to what is on a registry but we included EVERYTHING we could think of: hospital bills, decorating her space, photography sessions, announcements (because there would of course be pretty announcements) and more.
One thing that really helped early on was the idea that we honestly didn't have room for a bunch of stuff besides the necessities. We are in a two-bedroom apartment and the idea of purchasing crazy amounts of clothes or hair bows was not on our radar.
If you are looking to keep your baby budget manageable and HAVE the space, it will be a little tougher. You may just have to mentally close off a room in your house that you won't breakdown and fill with tiny treasures.
Next, I read a book called Baby Bargains. This book was so great. I honestly don't know how people plan a registry or buy things for a baby without this book without going insane. Kudos to you if you did!! The book goes over every type of product you could need and talk about whether it's truly a need and also your best options with three pricing tiers. This was incredibly helpful.
There are multiple sheets, each with a table on them for a specific category (i.e. Eat, Sleep, Etc.). The first sheet has the total of all the sheets.
Each table has items listed that you will need and blanks to add other items. The columns included are Budget, Actual, Difference along with a few others that I found helpful for registering purposes.
Other categories: Location Where is this item found? You'll take this sheet with you to register so this will be VERY handy so you avoid searching a store that doesn't carry the item you are looking for. Brand Name Self-explanatory, but also very helpful when you go to the store and all options look the same! Also, if it was found on a website, I would include link here. Registered I'd put Registered if I registered. This would help me know what items we needed to be looking into elsewhere. Received I'd put the gift giver's name for my thank you notes and to also keep track of whether we still needed to purchase it.
After my shower, I'd drag the items that were given to us in the second area called Gifted. I kept these separate because I wanted an accurate picture of how we were doing staying on budget for the things we purchased. If we overspent on several items but were gifted several, I knew I wouldn't be able to accurately know this.
On the first sheet, the item Medical does not link to another page. This is simply so you can include your hospital bills total in here, but I didn't find it necessary to itemize this.
Your list may look quite different from mine but I've left my items to help you get started. Although we weren't able to do a ton of decorating because Vivi doesn't have her own room right now, I did add a decorating tab but left it relatively blank.
Please excuse any excel errors. I am not proficient in excel so there may be quicker shortcuts you have than what I've done.
I hope this will be helpful to anyone getting ready for their first bebe.