It can be very stressful when expecting a new baby, especially if you have a low income. If you’re wondering how you can afford a baby when on minimum wage, then you’re in the right place.
In this article, I’ll share some tips and resources that’ll help you prepare for the arrival of your baby with confidence.
Before we talk about tips on affording a baby on minimum wage, let’s figure out how much you should have saved before your baby is born.
You may also like: 17 Ways To Have A Baby On A Tight Budget + Minimalist Baby Budget Checklist
How much money should you have saved before a baby is born?
In general, you should have at least 6 months of expenses saved before your baby is born. 6 months’ worth of expenses for a new baby will be about $2,000 dollars. These expenses will cover the cost of diapers, wipes, clothes, and all the necessary baby gear you’ll need for the first 6 months.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a ton of money to raise a baby.
Note: The cost of baby items for the first year was calculated based on the stop&shop website, and Amazon. See the table below for the result.
You may also like: 17 Ways To Save Money on A Baby’s Room (Nursery on A Budget)
Recurring Baby Essentials For The First Year
|Baby Product||Cost for 1 year|
According to the table, you’ll need to have about $744.18 dollars saved for the first 6 months, and $2,678.4 dollars saved for the first year before the baby is born.
Note that this money will only go towards recurring expenses.
To learn how much you need to have saved for one-time expenses for the first year, see the breakdown in the table below.
One-Time Purchase Baby Essentials For the First year
|Baby Product||Approximate Price|
|Stroller and car seat||$289.99|
|Changing pad cover||$13.49|
Now that we know how much you’ll need to spend for the first year of a baby’s life, let’s take a look at how you can afford a baby when you’re on minimum wage.
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How to Afford a Baby When on Minimum Wage
1. Learn to create and manage a budget
The first way to afford a baby on minimum wage is by learning how to create and manage a budget. Having a strict budget will help you save money and live within your means without going into debt.
A simple course like FinancialFit will teach you all you need to know about creating a budget, managing debt, and saving for the future.
Knowing how to do these things is essential to building a secure life for you and your baby.
You can also learn how to use a simple budgeting tool like a cash envelope system. It’s one of the best budgeting methods recommended for beginners.
This article will teach you all you need to know about how to budget with the cash envelope system.
2. Open a savings account for baby-related items
Before your baby is born, you should open a savings account just for your baby-related expenses.
I recommend you put 10% of your paycheck into this account and only use it for baby items
One of the simplest budgeting models is the 50-30-20 method. In this method, you use 50% percent of your paycheck to pay for all your NEEDS. This includes your bills each month.
30% of your paycheck goes towards your WANTS. These are items that aren’t really essential to your survival but are still useful to you.
The last 20% will then go towards your SAVINGS.
To help you afford a baby while on minimum wage, you want to put 10% of your savings budget towards your baby alone, and the other 10% percent towards your personal savings.
3. Increase your work hours
Living from paycheck to paycheck is very difficult especially when a baby is involved. One way to afford a baby on minimum wage is to increase your work hours.
If you are currently working part-time, try to find something full-time. If you have a full-time job that isn’t paying you enough, you can try adding on some overtime shifts.
The longer your work hours are, the more money you’ll make.
4. Find a better-paying job
If you can’t work longer hours, then consider finding a better-paying job. This may involve you getting certified in something new, or taking a few classes to improve your skills.
Do whatever you need to do to secure a better-paying job for you and your baby.
My favorite place for learning a new skill is Skillshare. You can learn anything from graphic design to business management, and in between. Check it out today to start improving your skills.
Sometimes, learning a new skill and changing jobs is the only way to afford a baby when on minimum wage.
5. Ask for a promotion/raise
A raise or promotion can help you increase your pay. If you’ve worked at your job for a long time, then you may be entitled to an automatic raise.
At the same time, a good reputation with your boss and coworkers can also help you secure a raise. Don’t be afraid to ask for a raise if you think you deserve it.
Earning more money will help you afford a baby on minimum wage.
6. Get government assistance
You may qualify for government assistance if you’re on minimum wage. Qualification depends on the requirements of your state, so make sure you check with the right agency.
One government assistance you could qualify for includes WIC. This is a program that provides supplemental nutrition assistance for women, infants, and children.
They give you a voucher that allows you to get baby formula, baby food, and other necessities.
You may also qualify for Medicaid, which is a program that provides free or low-cost health insurance to you and your baby.
When your child is older, you can get daycare vouchers. These vouchers cover all or some of the cost of daycare so you can go back to work.
7. Learn about your tax benefits
When you become a parent and file taxes, you may be eligible for two things.
The first is the child tax credit. Anyone who has a child, and doesn’t exceed the income requirements determined by the IRS, is eligible for a child tax credit.
The other tax benefit you can qualify for as a working parent is a child and dependent care credit.
If you paid someone to watch your child while you worked or actively looked for work, then you’re eligible for this credit. To find out more check out the IRS website.
These tax benefits could help you afford a baby on minimum wage.
8. Try working from home
Working from home could help you afford a baby on minimum wage. One benefit of working from home is flexibility.
You can work any shift and still be available to care for your child.
Another benefit of working from home is being able to save money on commuting.
The money you’d have spent on gas, tolls, car maintenance, etc. can now be spent on your new baby.
As a person who works from home, you won’t need daycare. The cost of daycare is one of the reasons women quit their jobs to become stay-at-home moms.
If you’re married, you can choose the opposite schedule as your partner so there’ll always be someone available to watch your child.
9. Start a side hustle
A side hustle could help supplement your minimum wage income, so you can afford to take care of your baby.
There are so many side hustles you can do. You can drive for Uber/Lyft, deliver for amazon, deliver groceries for Instacart, etc.
To learn more about some side hustle you can start today check out: 13+ ways to make money while pregnant and unemployed
You may also like: 12 Best Side Jobs For Stay-at-Home Moms
10. Use a food bank
Food banks are government or privately sponsored programs that bring food to low-income communities and people in need.
You can afford to care for your baby even on minimum wage if you use food banks to get fresh groceries, and dry goods.
You can make your own baby food using the groceries you get from a food bank.
This will go a long way to helping you stay on budget. Check out how to save money on baby food for more resources
11. Get free baby stuff
There is so much free baby stuff you can get during pregnancy.
Amazon, Walmart, Target, and BuyBuy Baby will give you free samples if you register for their baby registry.
You can get onesies, diapers, lotions/soaps, and other baby things.
Another website that’ll give you free baby stuff is Similac.
If you register for their rewards program, they’ll send you free formula sample cans for the first 6 months of your baby’s life.
12. Buy used baby gear
Most baby gear are only used for the first year of a baby’s life. This means they’re usually in good condition when sold secondhand.
The best way to afford a baby on minimum wage is to get used baby gear.
Some things you can get used are cribs, crib mattresses, bassinets, swings/bouncers, baby carriers, etc.
Read this article to get a complete guide on how you can save money on baby gear.
13. Breastfeed instead of formula
It’s no secret that baby formula is very expensive. To get around the cost, you can breastfeed instead.
Although, I must warn you that breastfeeding is not so easy for everyone. It’s a learning experience for most people.
You may experience some troubles along the way, but if you can work through them and persevere, then you’ll save a lot of money in the long run.
If you struggle with breastfeeding, you may be able to acquire donor milk from organizations like Human Milk For Human Babies on Facebook.
Exclusively breastfeeding will help you afford a baby on minimum wage.
14. Get a free breast pump
Every insurance by law has to provide you with a free breast pump during each pregnancy.
Breast pumps can be expensive depending on the brand, so a free one from insurance is a great way to save money.
15. Use store brand formula
If you need to use baby formula, then consider buying the store brand. You can also use coupons to help bring down the cost.
If you buy in bulk from stores like Costco and BJ’s, you’ll get a lot more value for your money. Those stores sell things cheaper in exchange for you buying a larger amount.
Buying store-brand formula will help you afford a baby on minimum wage.
16. Use cloth diapers
Cloth diapers are good for many reasons. The first is that you only have to buy them once
After that, they can be reused over and over until your baby is potty trained.
Because they’re reusable, you’ll save about $396 dollars per year (according to the table above). That’s money that could go towards other baby expenses.
Another benefit of cloth diapering is that It’s climate-friendly.
There are billions of disposable diapers that end up in landfills each year. So using cloth diapers helps the environment.
If you want to afford a baby on minimum wage, then start using cloth diapers today.
17. Get second-hand clothes
Second-hand clothes are a great way to save money if you’re on minimum wage.
You can get cheap kid’s clothes from Facebook Marketplace, Goodwill, and other thrift stores.
Most people who sell kid’s clothes on Facebook sell them in bulk based on age. So you can get a huge bag of 0-3 months baby clothes for $20 dollars or so.
To learn more ways to save money on baby clothes, check out this article.
18. Ask for hand-me-downs
I love buying hand-me-downs. I can honestly say that I’ve never spent more than $30 dollars on clothes for any of my two kids since they were born.
I get most of my children’s clothes from hand-me-downs.
We’re fortunate enough that my kids have cousins 2 years older than them. So whatever clothes they outgrow get passed down to my kids.
This is how I’ve saved so much money on kid’s clothes.
Find friends and family members with kids, and ask them for hand-me-downs. Eliminating the cost of clothes from your monthly budget will help you afford a baby on minimum wage.
19. Take advantage of your baby registry
Living on minimum wage means that you won’t have enough money to spend on expensive baby products.
So make sure you take advantage of your baby registry.
Put the expensive items on your baby registry so that family and friends will buy them for you. You can buy the less expensive items yourself.
People are more willing to spend money on a baby registry than spending money on a baby after it’s born.
20. Get a pack-n-play instead of a crib
Cribs and bassinets are nice to have, but they’re not necessary to raise a happy baby. I always suggest a pack-n-play like the Graco brand on Amazon. That’s because it comes with a bassinet and a changing table.
The best thing about a pack-and-play is that it can be used as an at-home crib as well as a travel crib.
All you need is a good pack-and-play mattress like this one on Amazon. It’s double-sided meaning it can be used for both infants and toddlers. It also folds up for easy travel.
Using a pack-and-play will help you afford a baby on minimum wage.
21. Ask family and friends for help
We’ve all heard the expression “it takes a village…”. Asking family and friends for help will enable you to survive with your baby on minimum wage.
Families can take turns babysitting while you go to work. They can help you with your bills if you fall into hard times.
Having family support can really go a long way when you’re barely making ends meet.
Final Thoughts On How To Afford A Baby When on Minimum Wage
If you’re currently pregnant and on minimum wage, then I know you’re feeling the pressure.
You may be stressed about how you can possibly afford to raise your child with such a low income.
I just want you to know that It’s absolutely possible to afford a baby on minimum wage. Many people have done it before.
Use the methods I’ve listed above to help you. I hope these resources will be beneficial to you on your journey.
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