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Survey on Money and Budgeting....for the Baby

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 

So I am just curious (as always whistling.gif).

 

For couples: I find that many couples make financial decisions differently and make financial plans differently because everyone has a different financial goal.  For instance some couples have separate accounts and each half pays for a certain expense each month.  And other couples, only one half does all the finances.  How do you and your SO/DH deal with finances?  Same account, separate accounts?  Do you have a Secret account (this is very popular in Japan, BTW)?

 

And for every Mom-to-be, how will you decide how much you should spend on baby?  I found that I over spent on items for DD which, for the inanely (at times) financially conservative, can actually be really painful physically (OH, did I really spend that much on THAT?  WHY?  yikes.gif) <gasp>

 

 

 

So DH and I have a set up where I handle most of the finances, meaning that I make sure bills get paid.  I do a lot of the research on what to buy, how much to spend, etc.  DH does not have the time or inclination and would rather just buy something (usually he is willing to spend the money on a worthwhile investment).  I have very little income of my own ATM, so it would not be "fair" - DHs words - to ask me to pay for anything each month.  We usually each have an amount of spending money, we are both very cautious financially so that amount is not set although it was in the beginning.  We make all major (anything over $50-$100 depending on how necessary the item is) together.  Frugal would be the word that comes to mind (although the dinner we had on Saturday just about blew both our minds).  In DHs estimation, since I home schooled E and do other things that keep our costs down (like not needing childcare) DH feels my contributions are equal to what he contributes financially.  Now, I have been married previously, and it was not this way in previous marriage(s).  I have literally tried all kinds of variations.  I currently do not have a secret account although at one point DH agreed that at any point in our marriage I could take (or he would owe me since we didn't always have this much) $4000 and return home if I felt I needed to go home because our marriage was not working.  We have never actually gotten around to putting that money in a separate account but because of the previous people I was married to, it sure did make me feel better that I was not going to be trapped into this marriage as I was before.  Peace of mind makes for a stronger bond.

 

I have no idea, really on what we will budget for this baby.  I really am totally clueless.  Even though I had DD 7 years ago, and I, thankfully, did not get rid of every single thing (but almost all of it!) I will still have to buy items for the baby almost like I have never had a child.  I have moved a total of 8 times (or more) since DD was born so there was no way I could keep hauling all the baby stuff around.  I think a majority of our decisions will lie in how the moving plans work out because we will not be in a permanent home until the baby is almost 4 months old, so there is no need to paint, rearrange, etc.

post #2 of 58
I too have talked to many couples who do it different ways too, for us everything except one credit card each is a joint account (there are a few random things where it was easier to make it not joint at the time, but it wasn't really on purpose, just because it made sense at the time) and all bills/expenses get paid out of our joint bank accounts and all paychecks go in. We each keep a credit card in our name only so that we always have some credit that is separate from our joint credit in case of divorce or death. I handle the day to day financial stuff, paying bills, checking credit cards, etc. and we make all the big financial decisions together. If one of us wants to spend more than $50-$100 or so on something that isn't groceries or common household purchases, we give each other a heads up. For really big purchases, we discuss and don't purchase before agreeing. My DH makes significantly more $$ than I do, but we both make good $$, so it isn't something we really worry about too much. When one of us gets a bonus, we usually agree to set aside a portion for purely fun spending for the person who go it or for a joint thing. I think we have a good mix of saving while also enjoying some perks.

As far as budgeting, I do most of that, though we do discuss overall plans and goals with me filling in the numbers and saying we can make that work or have to cut back somewhere. We don't have too much we need to get for kid #2, it will mostly be diapers, some new bottle nipples, new pump parts (maybe a new pump), a few clothes, maybe a few new blankets/towels, etc. and I might splurge on a double stroller and I do need to get a second base for the newborn carseat for DH's car. So right now I am on the lookout for sales and will buy things I know we'll need as I see them on sale and I'm also going to see what folks get us as gifts and probably ask for some things for Christmas. We have all the furniture and gadgets we can just use again and for a second dresser, there is one in my room at my parent's house that my mom said is technically mine so I can take it. The biggest budgeting concern will be daycare for 2 kids vs. 1, but I've already looked at that and figured out where we need to cut. We still need to discus if DD is going to continue in daycare FT or maybe go PT or not at all while I am on maternity leave. I am leaning PT as that will be a nice balance of me getting to bond with the new baby alone while reducing the costs of daycare while I'm not working and also gives DD some nice bonding time with the new baby. She really loves her friends and teachers too and she is also such a spirited kid that me having a much needed break and her having all the stimulation she needs should work nicely. Still need to discuss with DH though as I'm sure he hasn't thought about it yet or is assuming something that will surprise me smile.gif

No secret accounts here, though I could easily set one up if I wanted now that I think about it!
post #3 of 58

I should start this by saying that I am not really a "budget person".  We have a budget and we do use it but I have a strong aversion to budgets. (My  parents were big into budgeting when we were growing up and it created issues for all of us kids.  My parents are super weird about money.) 

 

I don't know that we've ever sat down and set a dollar amount for baby things.  That being said, we don't tend to buy a ton of stuff.  We have gotten tons of hand-me-downs so have had to buy very little.  Even cribs, bassinets, stroller and rocking chairs have been given to us so that eliminates many needs to buy things.   We just look at the budget and get what we need as the need arises.  I always shop for deals and make things if I can. 

 

Sorry, that's not very technical.  Oh and we have joint everything and always have. 

post #4 of 58

Like CoBabyMaker, DH and I are not really "budget" people either.  I would say we are reasonably frugal though, so I do keep a bit of a tally in my head (like how much I can spend on groceries per week, for example.) and I am the one to pay bills, mortgage, etc.  I will splurge on good quality things that I know I will get a lot of use out of that will last a long time, but even then the cost has to be reasonable.  I also watch for sales, buy used, sell stuff that I'm done with, etc.

 

In our family, I am the breadwinner.  DH and I have seperate chequing accounts and CCs, we have a joint savings account, and our mortgage and LOC are joint.  Even though we have seperate chequing accounts, this is just because we had seperate accounts before we got married and stayed with the same bank, etc. so there was really no point in making them joint.  I have access to DHs chequing account and can transfer money to/from his account to pay bills or make purchases as required.  Everything works out in the wash, we don't have the idea that what is in my account is mine and what is in his is his.  Even though they are seperate accounts it's a joint pool of money if you KWIM.  I don't have a secret account and DH I am sure does not (he's just not the type and honestly would never get around to making an appointment to set one up with the bank even if he wanted to!)  I do stash cash from time to time if it comes my way (such as selling something on Kijiji) for an extra "savings account" towards something (usually as a Christmas fund or if I have something I want to get DH for his birthday or something.  So if my sock drawer counts as a secret account I guess I do have one, but it doesn't always have $$ in it.

 

While we make "major" budget decisions together, I would say that I am more the financial decision maker in our family.  My DH is like your DH Jackie and just isn't all that interested, and trusts my decisions.  He didn't grow up in a family that has good financial sense, so to speak.  That being said, he is the one doing the shopping right now for winter tires and has taken on finding the best tires and best price himself.  I think that's a first!

 

For this babe, we don't need much as DS is just 2 years old.  We bought a large dresser from Ikea for him and as the children will share a room this babe's stuff will go in with DSs (there is room).  We have a crib, stroller, baby carriers, etc. etc.  I even have cloth dipes still.  So, I will be buying a co-sleeper (we borrowed SILs bassinet last baby, but she's due 4 weeks before me this time), new diaper covers, clothes if it is a girl, a toddler seat for our Valco stroller (maybe, DS will be almost 3 when the babe is born and by the time the babe actually rides in the stroller he may not want to be in it anymore) and maybe an Angel Care monitor.  I would also like a glider but have seen those for as little as $20 used on kijiji.  That's not a necessity though.

post #5 of 58

DH and I have a pretty complicated budget/banking system set up.  We each had our own accounts when we were dating and I switched to his bank before the wedding because there was a nice bonus for opening a new account.  Rather than combine everything we designated those two accounts for seperate things; one for bills and one for spending.  We've both had someone get a hold of our debit card numbers and while the banks are great at getting that money back we just realized that keeping the accounts seperate would help in case that happened again - it would allow us to easily transfer money from one to another if we had a mortgage payment or bill coming due just at the wrong time.  We did the same thing for our savings accounts.  We each had one so we kept them both and designated one for regular savings and one for vacation savings.  I'm pretty hands on when it comes to managing our money and hate seeing the savings deplete when we go on vacation so having that as it's own account makes it mentally ok for me to spend it on that.  

 

DH makes more than I do, but not a ton more but we agree we're a team so it's all for the same cause.  We're pretty disciplined when it comes to saving, especially since we just took a huge loss on the sale of our condo and were still able to put 10% down on our new house.  We're still partially in that mindset so it's pretty easy to go back into that to save for the baby.  Our next goal was to pay off our student loans which we just did in July.  That freed up enough money to almost live exclusively on DH's salary as far as bills so mine will basically be going toward spending money and savings until the baby comes when we'll add daycare to that list.  We won't save as much until the baby is in school, but that's ok since we were diligent about saving before we had kids.  When we met with a financial advisor his main concern was that we'd leave too much money for our kids so we must be doing something right, lol.  So until May we'll save as much as we can and work on reducing expenses where we can.  

 

As far as big stuff goes we'll probably pay for it our of savings and third paychecks.  We budget based on 2 paychecks per month but 2-3 times a year we end up with three so those are extra.  One usually goes toward Christmas presents (which I'm nearly done with!) and a few other recurring bills (car registration, etc) and savings and the other we save most of.  Fortunately the first one next year will come in May so if I need to take more than 6.5 weeks off and go unpaid it'll be like I get two weeks free.  As for regular expenses for the baby, aside from daycare, freeing up the money we were spending each month on student loans should more than cover the cost of diapers, formula, and incidentals (based off of estimates from this article http://www.moneyunder30.com/cost-of-having-a-baby)

 

We also do everything we can to maximize our earnings.  I do swagbucks, apptrailers, shopkick, amazon turk, and surveys to earn giftcards, which is mostly paying for Christmas this year.  I also rescue items from the curb and fix them up if necessary and then pop them on craigslist.  And I do childcare on the side although I'm not sure how long that'll continue with a baby.  DH teaches a few online courses as well for extra $$ and none of that factors into our monthly budget.  

 

Basically our philosophy is to budget under our means and live below budget.  I think it's been working out pretty well for us so far.  No secret accounts although I do have a credit card that DH doesn't have access to.  He had one as well until they started charging a fee and then he closed the account.  We just used them to buy presents for one another so the other wouldn't accidentally stumble across the charges.

post #6 of 58

We have both separate accounts (no secrets tho) and joint accounts and pay for joint expenses out of the joint accounts. We have a set amount that we transfer into our joint accounts each month for home, bills, food, etc. So we will pay for all baby related things from the joint accounts. In my previous marriage everything was joint and it was a disaster, not because of the system, but because ex and I enabled each other to be really bad money managers and got ourselves into some serious debt. Now that I have gotten myself out of that hole, learned lots of money lessons and have a wonderful influence money-wise in DH, we came up with the system we are currently working with and we are happy with it. I don't get any $ from DD's dad, so I am 100% responsible for her financially and I make more than DH, so I contribute a larger amount to food and other household things and pay for DD's things out of my own account. This works great, and if things were to change in terms of my income, we would re-assess.

 

We don't have any baby stuff at all, so will need to acquire it all. I try my best to be a minimalist when it comes to baby gear, but things do add up! I like to go used most of the time, but there are some things (like a breast pump) that I will be buying new.

post #7 of 58

Interesting topic!

 

Although we've been married longer, we've only been living together a little over a year.  That said, we haven't combined anything yet; except the mortgage is in both of our names. 

 

We have separate bank accounts where our direct deposits for work goes.  We have separate credit cards.  DH makes a bit more than I do so he pays for "bills" (mortgage and utilities).  He also pays CS for DSD.  I get no help from XH for DS so I pay for his after school care, extracurricular activities, etc.  I am mostly responsible for "expenses" (kids' clothing, dinners out, groceries, gas, pet expenses, birthday presents, etc.).  We both pay our life insurance and invest in 401(k)s separately.  I put more towards savings so any unexpected expenses (like car repairs) are paid by me as well. 

 

As far as the newbie: our financial situation will change a bit as of January (there was a tax issue discovered when we filed our 2011 taxes that caused us to change our withholdings for the rest of the year; 2013 should be back to normal).  We will sit down and work out a budget to figure out what DH is spending on our day-to-day living.  I would love to take six months off so that will affect our spending. 

 

I still have a lot of baby gear from DS, but will have to get some new things.  I figure we won't do a big summer vacation anyway so there's some savings right there.  smile.gif

post #8 of 58

AmandaLynn I would take the figures in that article with a pinch of salt. We live on a single income and we haven't spent anywhere near that even after 2 boys. We do cloth diaper and have spent at the very most $300 for more than enough to have 2 in diapers at the same time (we have more than enough for 3, but hope to have DS1 fully potty trained before the baby arrives.) You can also use the outgrown clothes on the next/future babies, so it isn't like you have to spend the same amount with each child, it actually gets cheaper per child the more you have. You can spend as little or as much as your income allows, but it can be amazing how little you NEED to spend to be fully able to meet all of the baby's needs.

 

We have joint everything, and discuss everything too. We both take responsibility for finances even though DH is the only one making $$$. It works for us, especially since I've only been stateside for 4 years and basically had no credit history when I arrived, and have never worked since moving here either.

post #9 of 58

Lynann: I think that's a good point about subsequent children being cheaper.  I saved a lot of DS's baby clothes...and since I didn't find out the gender, I have mostly gender-neutral clothes for the first six months or so.  We also have a crib (I just put it next to the bed last time and didn't bother with a co-sleeper / bassinet), pack 'n play for the downstairs, and strollers (barely used, but a "nice to have").  I will need to get a new carseat, carrier, and swing / bouncy seat.

 

Ugh.  Something I forgot to mention, we need to get a new car before the newbie arrives.  Not looking forward to having a car payment again!  irked.gif

post #10 of 58

Kate, we need a new car too. Right now we have a Nissan Versa, which will not take more than 2 car seats in the back. So we have to bite the bullet and finally get a second vehicle. Our plan is to save $200 from every paycheck until the end of May and add in our tax refund in March/April and then if we need to add a bit more we have some other savings we can borrow from, so that we don't have a car payment. We'll just get something used with reasonable mileage as it will only be used a couple of times a week for local use (grocery store, library & Church), and since I'm not planning on going anywhere for at least a month we won't actually need it until the end of June or maybe even July. We're looking at either a Toyota Sienna or a Honda Odyssey.

post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynann View Post

AmandaLynn I would take the figures in that article with a pinch of salt. We live on a single income and we haven't spent anywhere near that even after 2 boys. We do cloth diaper and have spent at the very most $300 for more than enough to have 2 in diapers at the same time (we have more than enough for 3, but hope to have DS1 fully potty trained before the baby arrives.) You can also use the outgrown clothes on the next/future babies, so it isn't like you have to spend the same amount with each child, it actually gets cheaper per child the more you have. You can spend as little or as much as your income allows, but it can be amazing how little you NEED to spend to be fully able to meet all of the baby's needs.

 

We have joint everything, and discuss everything too. We both take responsibility for finances even though DH is the only one making $$$. It works for us, especially since I've only been stateside for 4 years and basically had no credit history when I arrived, and have never worked since moving here either.

That's good to hear.  I was actually pleasantly surprised by the figures in there.  We'll use disposable diapers (can't talk DH into cloth even though I'd love to since it's cheaper), and probably do a breastfeeding/formula combo since I have to go back to work so soon so those figures were of particular interest to me.  The daycare there's such a variance around based on where you send them.  Thankfully we found a nice place right by our house that's super reasonable.  It's not as nice and big as the one at work but it's $250/month cheaper and doesn't close as often (the one at work closes for a full week during the summer and closes frequently when students aren't on campus), plus that means we can make quick stops after work for groceries and whatnot and not have to deal with the baby since the daycare is within walking distance.  So I'll take a little smaller.  The people seem really nice seemed to know their stuff.  Plus they can get us in.  The one at work can't get us in until fall, and even then it's iffy.  Yea...I have to go back to work in July...

 

Thankfully we just got our first water/sewage/trash bill since we bought the house and while it was high, it was a heck of a lot cheaper than we used to pay in HOA fees at the condo and this bill will be the highest one we ever have since we had to fill our pool not once, but twice (they apparently really mean it when they tell you to make sure the ground is super level before using one of the large inflatable pools).  15,000 gallons later and you get the picture.  So now we have a complete picture of our budget and we're coming out ahead of where we were monthly when we were in the condo.  That made me a happy girl and made the money freak outs stop a bit.

post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynann View Post

Kate, we need a new car too. Right now we have a Nissan Versa, which will not take more than 2 car seats in the back. So we have to bite the bullet and finally get a second vehicle. Our plan is to save $200 from every paycheck until the end of May and add in our tax refund in March/April and then if we need to add a bit more we have some other savings we can borrow from, so that we don't have a car payment. We'll just get something used with reasonable mileage as it will only be used a couple of times a week for local use (grocery store, library & Church), and since I'm not planning on going anywhere for at least a month we won't actually need it until the end of June or maybe even July. We're looking at either a Toyota Sienna or a Honda Odyssey.

 

Well, we have an older SUV (paid off!!!) so that one is fine with the newbie (DSD is in a backless booster and DS will be by May).  I could even move the older kids to the third row, which I'm sure they would love!  However, our other car is a 30-year old two-seater convertible...not exactly newborn-friendly!  winky.gif  And we must have two cars...both will now need to have room for at least DS and the newbie.

 

We're thinking something like a gently used sport wagon since there are times where we both have to drive lots of distance (DSD's mother lives 30 miles away) but also in-town driving to our jobs.  I put my bonus into savings to start our down payment and we'll figure the rest out next year. 

 

The Siennas are nice!  My friend's husband works for a huge Toyota dealership (more in corporate though) and she drives one.

post #13 of 58

Our biggest issue with a vehicle is that they have to be able to fit at least 3 full car seats (for now) and we would like something that we won't have to replace if we have a few more babies in the future. We'll be happy with either the Sienna or the Odyssey as we know families that have them and they both come highly recommended. We're planning on turning the boys to forward facing once their seats are moved to the "new" vehicle, so that should work for them to be at the back in the bench seat, with the new baby in the infant seat (that we already have) just behind the front seats. Theoretically that would still leave us with 2 spaces available for extra passengers (like my parents when they visit), or for adding in more children later on.

 

I am looking forward to having the second vehicle again, as then I can take the children out if I want to while DH is at work. I love staying at home, but it would be nice occasionally to be able to take the boys to a swing park or to a mom group for play dates etc.

post #14 of 58

We bought at (used) Sienna a couple months ago and we love it.  We knew we would be adding another and we take a long road trip to see my parents each summer.  It was awesome to have the extra room on the trip.  We also have a family member who cannot drive and we wanted to be able to fit our family and her.  DH is so in love with the minivan, it freaks me out.

post #15 of 58

Before we had children DH said he would NEVER drive a mini-van, but now he is getting as excited as me about getting one. We love our little car, but there is no room for anything once the double stroller is loaded into the trunk. Everything else has to fit in the space below the carseats behind the front seats. We hired a mini-van last November when my parents came to visit from Scotland. It was a Town & Country (I think) and we hated the way the bench seat was made as it didn't fit a rear facing carseat well and was too reclined for adults (we tried to change the recline, but it was already at its most upright.) We did love the extra space and the sliding side door. So we know that not all mini-vans are equal, and will only consider one that comes highly recommended by people with similar needs to ours.

 

When the time comes to actually purchase the mini-van we'll go with which ever one of those two we can get for the best deal. I am glad that we do have options though, as it will make finding a great deal easier.

post #16 of 58
Interesting topic and questions, and a great reminder to firm our numbers up! We've definitely written up a budget for baby. DS is 3, and we've saved everything worth keeping so I'm hoping to keep expenses down. We need to cover out-of-network costs for using our midwife/having a homebirth (hopefully), my salary for the 6 months leave I plan to ask for, a few baby gear items we borrowed last time and no longer have access to or need to rehab/replace (my brest friend pillow, replacing elastic and closures on our cloth diaper stash, new parts for pump maybe, etc), perhaps getting a jump on savings toward future daycare costs once I go back to work so I may be able to go back part time only if allowed, a regular contribution for college savings for baby, and I guess some clothing should this little one be a girl. I may very well be naive, but I think that's it.

We have had joint everything since getting married nine years ago. We view all assets (not much haha, but emergency savings, house repairs and vacation/fun savings, retirement savings, college savings for DS) and debts (student loans, mortgage, auto loans) as joint for us both to manage/tackle/enjoy. We consult one another when spending over $50 (other than on groceries or other such regular household expenses). DH currently manages the bills and I manage budgeting our discretionary spending. I make what I feel is decent money, and he makes three times as much (jerk, ha), but we just pool it all. "Our powers combined," yadda yadda. smile.gif
post #17 of 58

Lynann, We both swore we'd never drive a minivan either.  The practicality of it won out.  DH was actually on-board faster than I was.  When we got it I had a little "moment"  as we drove away where I was panicking because I was now a minivan mom.  The kids reassured me that it was a great car and offered me a kiss! Haha!

post #18 of 58

I'm glad the mini-vans are such a practical option. It really is about the only thing we need to get this time around, since we have everything else we need from having 2 already. We will eventually need a convertible car seat, but we already have the infant seat to start out with.

post #19 of 58
DH and I are budgeting people. We have joint everything and no secret accounts. We talk about any nonessential purchase of more than really $10. He is the sole breadwinner (funny term as the kids and I are gluten free), and fortunately, we have no credit cards.

Since this is baby number three, we really don't need much.
We exclusively breastfeed for a year and we have cloth diapers. We cosleep so we don't need a crib. I have all the baby carriers I could ever need. Our pack and play did wear out with the last kiddo, so a new one would be nice.
We'll get a new convertible car seat for the baby since my kiddos are already in their own convertibles. I had a baby bucket with my first and hated it! The car is possibly a problem. We have an old Malibu which I think would fit three Radians, but the older kids don't have Radians in the car, just in Nana's van. I don't see how we can fit a TrueFit, a Boulevard, and a Radian in the Malibu. And with DD six by the time the baby arrives, I hate to buy another car seat. But buying three Radians is still cheaper than a van. . . I hate to move DD out of her Boulevard and into a booster when she still fits well in her Blvd.


The big financial burden will be paying for gas to all the midwife appointments (two hours away each way) and paying the midwife. She has gone up from $2600 to $3500.

Even with as little income as we have, we should manage.
post #20 of 58
Thread Starter 

Gosh Ladies, you are all on top of things.  thumb.gif

 

The car...oh what a nightmare.  We held off and held off on buying another car, the one we currently own is a hyundai and is 12 years old and is completely worn out.  It is 4 door and yet getting DD in a carseat and the new one in an infant seat would mean there is just room in the trunk for errands.  DH sometimes has people in for conferences and talks and we would have to empty the car to be able to transport anyone (plus I would be out of a car).  We would have to replace the timing belt which is about $1000 and the car might be worth $200.  Decisions, decisions.  How much longer will it last...should we repair it and keep it as a second car...Hrm....

 

My SIL has an Odyssey and loves it.  But I can't stand the thought of a minivan...probably because my SIL has one!  We don't exactly see eye-to-eye on anything.  DH is agreed that we need something a bit bigger but gas-affordable.  He wants a hybrid - specifically was saving to by a Prius.  But that didn't happen (lot of medical bills from me).  He is still hoping for the Prius I think, but is unwilling to take a loan.  Since we can't wait much longer, we will have to buy what we can afford on savings.  The plan is to buy in March since that is when we return to the US.  Not sure what we will be able to purchase at that time.  We would never buy new, which is why DH didn't buy a Prius right away.  But a 3 year old car might be a good buy for us.  But we will have to be able to potentially fit 3 children, 2 in car seats, one in a booster.    

 

Or we could fix the old one, and wait until we return in Fall 2013 to buy, which would mean we would potentially have more saved and the tax return money from 2012....

 

What's your vote?

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