My wife and I recently had our second child – it has been, and will continue to be, an adjustment! I guess after two years you kinda forget the sleepless nights the first few weeks and months. Even though the lack of sleep is difficult, we were a little more prepared this time around. We have the experience of already having raised one infant, so in many ways we knew what to expect. We also live closer to immediate family this time around, which is a big help (my in-laws have been awesome, as have members of our church, who have brought us several meals – thanks everyone!!).
There is a financial benefit of having another baby, as compared to having a first child, and no, I’m not just referring to the child tax credit*! Since we already had one child, we are saving a ton of money by not having to buy a lot of things like clothes, toys, baby accessories, and other items that we had to buy the first time around. It helps that both our children are the same sex, otherwise, we would had to buy some more clothing items. But most of the toys, blankets, and many other items could have been reused.
Our biggest baby expenses so far have been a bassinet (we borrowed one with our first daughter), and diapers. We primarily used cloth diapers with our first child, but our new daughter was born four weeks early, and won’t fit into cloth diapers we already have for a few months yet (she’s so tiny!).
The other area where we are saving money is by knowing what we need and don’t need. Like many first time parents, we ended up spending much more than was necessary with our first child. Being a first time parent is a classic example of “not knowing what you don’t know,” so it’s easy to get carried away buying things that you think you need, but in reality, don’t. Our initial approach was to only buy things as we needed them, so we could avoid that classic trap. It worked out very well for the most part, but we still ended up buying items which we later gave away or donated. I think we are a little wiser in this regard this time around.
Of course, we are also racking up some indirect expenses, as well. Since things are a bit topsey-turvey at the moment, we have been a little more prone to buying prepared foods, or paying a little more for convenience by not shopping at the cheapest stores if they aren’t the closest, etc. Other indirect costs include keeping our home a little warmer throughout the day and evening, so I expect our gas bill will be higher in the coming months. All of these costs are minor in the gran scheme of things, but should be noted if you are already on a tight budget.
Going forward… My wife is a stay at home mom, so for the first few months, I think our biggest baby related spending increases will be limited to consumables, like diapers and wipes, and the occasional health related items. As she gets older, I’m sure things will change even more, with larger expenses for food, clothing, and eventually school, activities, etc. Then of course, you get to the really the big expenses like college and weddings… but those are all in the distant future. For now, I think I’ll focus on enjoying the moment!
*There are some things you need to do in regard to newborns and taxes, including registering them for a Social Security Number, adding another dependent to your W-4 to change your tax withholding, and taking advantage of related tax deductions such as pre-tax medical care, child care deductions, etc. Many of these are on a case by case basis, so be sure to do your research!