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I still remember when my wife called to tell me she was pregnant; I have never been more happy, excited, and scared in my life. When we went in for our 39-week check-up, and our doctor said we’re having a baby tonight, those feelings of fear and excitement amplified 1000 times. As an advisor and a planner, my wife and I were prepared; the nursery was complete, we had clothing and toys, I could diaper any stuffed animal, and our budget was dialed in. Even though we were as ready as a couple could be, a stream of questions flooded in; are we ready?, am I ready?, are we qualified to care for a baby?, can we afford this?, as well as a million other what-if scenarios. Emotionally there are still days I question if we were prepared, financially though we were thanks to some simple steps and thorough budgeting software.

  1. Evaluate your current spending/budget.

Whether or not you have one, now is the time to create or update your existing budget. Through our Pathfinder program at AWMI, the Associate Financial Advisors are available to coach the young adult children of our clients with financial strategies, including how to create a budget and prepare for significant life events. We have powerful budgeting software that allows you to link your bank accounts and credit cards, automatically sort your past and future purchases into categories and give you an excellent starting place. It lets you set goals and will track your progress. Anna and I have been through this process before, so it was just an update and adjusting some spending goals.   

  1. Add a budget category for the baby

This is where it gets complicated and fun! We used a spreadsheet because, for the time being, these were just projections. There are two time periods to budget for: Pre-birth and Post-birth.

  • Pre-birth: This period includes lots of medical expenses, building the nursery (nesting as my wife called it), and buying lots of baby items like a stroller, car seat, and bassinet. During this period, our OB/GYN’s office provided an estimate of all our expected medical costs before and after his birth.
  • Post-birth: It was easy to look up the cost of childcare and determine how much we wanted to save for his college, but the rest we had no idea. This period included diapers, wet wipes, food, cute clothing at target, miscellaneous baby items, wellness exams, birth medical expenses, increased life insurance, and increased health insurance.

First-Year Budget


Single Expense

Monthly Expense

Prenatal Expenses









Rocking Chair



Changing Station



Other Nursery Expenses






Car seat









Breast Pump and Accessories



Diaper Bag



Car seat Base



Travel Bassinet






Milk Storage Systems



Boppy Nursing Pillow



Sound Machine



Baby Monitor










Single Expense

Monthly Expense

Birth Medical Expenses



Wellness Checks



Health Insurance Increase


Life Insurance Increase


Day Care



Baby Food/Formula



Diapers and Wipes



Extra Stroller (Used Thule Chariot)



Baby Carrier



Osprey Baby Backpack



Pack and Play



Jumper Toy



Miscellaneous Items (clothing, toys, books, etc.)





College Savings












Total First Year Cost



  1. How we controlled the cost

We did three things to manage our expenses; accept every hand-me-down offered, register for everything else, and utilize an interest-free payment plan offered by medical providers (we are on an 18-month program). I thought there was no way our friends and family would pay for $3,000 plus in baby gear. I was wrong; we had distant family and friends contribute, and next thing we knew, items were arriving at our door, even ones for which we didn’t register. The one thing we didn’t plan well was registering for enough size variety of diapers and clothes. Those newborn clothes fit for about a month, and then we were at target buying onesies, sleepsacks, fleece onesies (for the cold winter nights), snowsuits, summer clothing, new diaper sizes every two months. Learn from me and add all the extra clothes for every weather/temperature environment. If you are unsure if you may need something, register for it; if no one buys it for you, you can evaluate later if you want to spend the money on it. Don’t feel bad if you only use an item for a month; because when you’ve been up six times between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am, anything that buys you an extra half hour of sleep or quiet time is worth it!

  1. Enjoy it; it goes fast

While this process created some real fear and anxiety, once we finished budgeting, we knew we would be okay. We had to make some adjustments to our budget to fit a $1,700 per month child expense, by planning, we had time to prepare and adjust our lifestyle. Amazingly, a 6-pound 5-ounce human can cost $31,000, but it is real! Watching Cash grow has been worth every penny! His favorite activities are bath time, crawling after our dog Harlie, and bouncing. He has been pulling himself to a standing position for a few weeks now and I think he will take his first steps by this time next month. It is likely he will get some sort of walking toy in the next few days to make that a reality!  

Cash is eight months old tomorrow, and looking back, we were ready for him, and every day has been fantastic!

Nic Cohen
Associate Financial Advisor









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