5 Things You Can Do to Save Money While Pregnant
Pet superstores, doggy daycare, those yippy yorkies in strollers at the mall….
Somehow as a society we can afford pet accessories galore, but we can’t afford to have kids.
Or can we?
Chances are you can really afford to have kids. Plenty of people, likely far less responsible than my readers, have kids and manage to make it work.
While the biggest roadblock to having kids is likely balancing work versus childcare options, there are plenty of other areas where you can reduce the cost of raising a kid, starting as early as lowering the cost of pregnancy.
This is currently the glamorous rotund life stage I am in right now and will be Part 4 of my life stages series. Below are some ways I have personally begun to save money while
morphing into a human basketball pregnant.
1. Sort out your health insurance ASAP
Too often we see medical care as some uncontrollable fixed cost. Instead of assuming the cost of medical care “is what it is,” look into what changes you can make to your health insurance plan.
Using just the quick one-page guides to our policies, my husband and I seemed to have identical individual insurance plans. Somehow when we both had ankle injuries in the same year and got the same x-rays at the same urgent care (yes, really), I was charged $150 and he was charged $30.
By reading further into our policies, we figured out he had way more services covered than I did pre-deductible. He also had much better hospital coverage, so I switched over to his plan once I became pregnant (Yay it’s 2019 and not the time of pre-existing conditions).
In your own situation, see what you can change. Maybe change over to a different policy through work, or even re-evaluate what government benefits you might be eligible for.
2. Go doctor shopping
Another way you can work on knocking down some of the huge medical costs associated with pregnancy is by shopping around for the right doctor or medical practice.
When I got pregnant, I at first chose the ob-gyn office that I saw everyday on the way home from work, logically thinking “it’s not in a high end neighborhood, so it shouldn’t be too expensive.”
Turns out costs were pretty high there: lots of (generally clueless) admin staff and lots of extra tests being pushed by the doctors and nurses. The underlying billing structure for it all was a complete mystery to both the billing department and myself. Any questions I had about potential bills would take about 2 weeks to get answered.
How much is an ultrasound? No one knows.
They did give out neon purple messenger bags with the name of the practice on them though. I guess that extra grand or two in mystery bills needs to go toward something.
About 16 weeks into my pregnancy I began to call other doctor’s offices and ultimately settled on a new practice, one that could easily tell me, “procedure X costs Y dollars.”
Even though my new doctor is cheaper, he’s still highly rated and practices in a clean, modern office. He had less admin staff than other offices, and he doesn’t force his patients to do the latest and greatest optional screenings. In fact, I would say I’m getting better healthcare at the cheaper office.
In your own situation, don’t just settle on a doctor based solely on reviews or recommendations- pick up the phone and ask about billing.
3. Force yourself to have a baby shower despite your painful shyness
I almost didn’t have a baby shower. I hate being the center of attention, and no one was coming out of the woodwork clearly offering to throw one for me.
My husband ended up directly asking some of my relatives to throw me one. I initially panicked, thinking my relatives were being forced against their will to support me.
In the end, the baby shower actually turned out great. There were no cheesy games, everyone who came
enjoyed daydrinking thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and a lot of people helped with big ticket items I wasn’t expecting. It felt more like a family reunion than a baby shower, so I wasn’t forced to be the center of attention for too long.
Setting up a registry and having a baby shower ended up saving us hundreds.
With that in mind…
4. Keep your registry practical and reasonable
If you go into a store to start a registry and get handed a scanner and a 19 year old retail worker, you will end up with things on your registry that you didn’t even know existed. You may even end up convinced that you MUST get wipe warmers or you MUST get an infant Jacuzzi (yes, they sell these, they are real).
When you make a registry, ignore the retail worker trying to sell you a $300 swing that makes horrible uterine noises and cover the basics first. Start with things like a car seat, ONE place to sleep (not 5 Star Trek-like infant pods), a diaper bag, maybe even a stroller.
If you keep your registry relatively small, you’ll get the things you really need, and you won’t be tempted to go back and buy the stuff you didn’t get.
5. Pick up used items or shop used
Pregnancy is something that lasts 9 months that
sane most people only go through 1-3 times. With that in mind, I chose to get a lot of stuff used.
You’ll be seeing some future posts from me on some of the things I bought used, like maternity clothes and parenting books.
You also may have some friends, relatives, or co-workers looking to get rid of baby stuff. Spread the word that you are looking for used baby items, you might even get it for free.
Readers, what are your thoughts on some of the big pregnancy expenses? What things have you done to save? Any pregnancy cost savings you would like to see me write more about? Comment below!