Friday, August 26, 2011

Baby, baby, money?

It was sooo easy when it was just the two of us and the credit card debt (SUPER amount of sarcasm there). I had a plan and I was pretty well following it: Pay off the credit cards and don't spend money.

I decided pretty much first thing that every extra penny would go towards the credit cards. At first I was debating between saving, paying down the car, paying down the credit cards, and other little monetary issues like fixing things around the house and so forth. I sat down made the decision and put everything on the back burner. The credit card debt NEEDED to be addressed first thing. Everything else would come in time. Once I had a plan I struggled but I knew where I was going. I always had an answer to the "where does this money go" question: THE CREDIT CARD DEBT!

It's been TWO WEEKS since my last blog post; two weeks of aimless spending and frustrated questioning. I really genuinely couldn't be happier about the little one we're planning to welcome six months from now. But I'm looking forward to these next six months less than any others I've ever faced. I don't get paid leave from work. I'm not sure if I can get some sort of disability insurance to cover the baby leave. I can't imagine even going back to work after I meet my little one but that's an entirely different blog altogether, it's something that has to be done, and I'm just going to try my hardest not to think about it. I'll cross that bridge when I get there. Back to business, we have health insurance but the hospital bills for this new little bundle are going to be expensive, I'm estimating at least $2000.

Basically I don't know where to start. Do I go back to paying minimums on the debt and start saving for the hospital bills and work leave? Do I keep paying down the cards (tackling the ridiculous interest payments that go down every single month that I pay extra on the cards) and just worry about the new expense when it comes? Do I just declare bankruptcy, quite my job, get government assistance for my food and health care like  everyone else and live the stay at home mom dream? (That's a joke by the way. No matter how difficult life gets I'm not going to fall back on quitting responsible living... ok, maybe if we find out we're having triplets or something like that I'll consider it).

I don't handle change well. I'm really dysfunctional. I'm faced with a new scenario and instead of sitting down and trouble shooting I just let the cards fall and pretend that life isn't happening (and eat everything I can get my hands one). Geesh, this way of handling things is NOT working out. I've got a substantial amount of credit card debt as proof to the above statement. Any input is appreciated. I really cannot figure out the best thing to do here. I've wasted two months now wondering and coming to no conclusions. Keep paying down the cards? Start saving for baby? Cross the bridges once I get to them? Does anyone know anything about disability insurance?

Well... at least I've finally posted a new blog : )


  1. Pay down the debt, the hospital will give you at least 6 months without interest. Congratulations!

  2. Please don't stress about this. I regret that I too stressed about money when I was pregnant and my baby was young...I look back and realize I should have enjoyed him more. The medical fees and hospital bills can be negotiated based on your income. Having said that, babies also come with lots of little unexpected expenses that tend to add up. So save a chunk, then put the rest to debt. Also don't be too proud to accept hand-me-downs and gifts. Congratulations and all the best!

  3. I would start setting aside some for savings, a regular amount that you just put in an account for after the baby arrives. Then I would keep paying down the credit cards.
    you could also use coupons do start a stockpile for later, go to garage sales for second hand baby goods, start learning skills that are going help you save money like cooking from scratch, gardening, sewing etc .
    This is a really special time in your life and it's a shame that the worry is spoiling it for you. But you can tackle this head on by making plans just taking one day at a time. ((hugs))

  4. It's really easy to buy baby stuff. Don't! Let people know you're happy to accept hand-me-downs of anything and everything. So much of this stuff gets used so little that folks have plenty they're happy to just pass on. ESPECIALLY adorable clothing. We did not buy any baby clothing except a few 6-9 month onsies (for some reason folks missed that age range) until DC was around age 2.

  5. I would do a combo I guess. Figure up realistically how much money you will be able to either save or put towards debt and go from there. If it is $10,000 in 6 months, then I would start with the $2K for the hospital. then set aside $2k for when you are on leave and then work like crazy to pay down the debt. If it is $5k that you have I would save it all.

    That being said, if you are close to getting 1 debt off your list then I would try to get rid of it first. Also if you have a lot of little debts I would try to work them in as well. BUT you need savings right now. You never know what can happen and you need money in the bank to prepare.

    Now is the time to work like crazy as much as possible (you and your dh), because you will want to slow down once baby comes (congrats btw). When I was pregnant with our first my dh worked an extra job delivering the paper in the middle of the night. It was hard and it sucked, but it really helped us cover all the unexpected expenses that were popping up all over the place.

  6. Congratulations! I agree with those comments above re the financial side of it. Just be sure to enjoy the pregnancy side, its a precious time that cant be recreated. Let people help you, baby gear is pretty cheap secondhand and most people that have older children will be happy to be able to pass on a bunch of stuff.

  7. Well...this is one vote for government assistance. I don't know what kind of combined salaries you and your husband have, but the limits for WIC are fairly high - you might be surprised to find out you qualify right now. What do you get on WIC? Nutritious foods, additional health screening and health education, and a connection with a case manager that is there to be your cheerleader and help you navigate the ins and outs of childcare and other baby-related things in your community. 6 years after the birth of our first child we are a debt-free-tax-payin-American-dreamin family...but I can't say enough good things about the WIC program that was there when we were making almost nothing and unexpectedly became pregnant. WIC can also help you out with breastfeeding and may be able to hook you up with a free/cheap breast pump - and if you want to save money, there is nothing more economical than breastmilk! You may also find yourself eligible for private or public monies for reducing the costs of childcare, special childcare spending accounts, and eventually baby will qualify you for some sweet tax credits.

    I would echo the comments about get as much as you can for free (baby-wise, maternity clothes-wise), work as hard as you can NOW so you can work less once baby is here.

    As for disability, I am pretty sure most policies will consider your pregnancy a "pre-existing condition" at this point. If you already have disability, (short term usually), then you are good to go. If not, I wouldn't count on that.

    You can usually sit down with the hospital and work out a payment plan even before baby is born - some hospitals offer a sizeable discount for paying up front.

    But, overall, you aren't going to regret paying down that credit card debt, and frugal folks find that children don't cost that much in the first focus on spending and saving wisely.

  8. Congrats! I had a baby a little over a year ago and my hospital expenses were 3,000. My hospital lets me pay $100 a month and it is interest free. We just came to an agreed upon amount. They don't care as long as you are making payments. They got 80% from my insurance already!

    Thrift stores are a great place to get baby items and clothing! So many times you can pick up things new with tags or barely used. I also use craigslist for some of the big baby items..high chairs, strollers, etc.

    For maternity clothes I just wore XL in women's. It was so much cheaper than buying maternity clothes. I did have a few that I picked up from the thrift store but other than that I never paid retail!

    You might want to join freecycle too! I have gotten maternity and baby items from there for free and they were great!