written by Emily Graham, Mighty Moms
You’ll likely have to make changes to your budget and lifestyle well before your bouncing bundle makes their debut. This is never more glaringly evident than when you are told you are “high risk,” a vague diagnosis that leaves you scared for the future. Even more alarming, if you are forced into bed rest while you are pregnant, you face potential financial downfall. The average woman of child-bearing age earns a salary that hovers between $35,000 and $40,000. This means that 20 weeks — half a typical pregnancy — without an income can cost you $20,000, and that doesn’t include the cost of hospital services. Depending on your insurance, you might be out of pocket thousands of dollars for an in-patient stay. Nationally, a single day in-patient can cost $2,052. But thankfully, there are ways to manage your money as you watch your savings dwindle. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.
1. Look at Your Health Insurance Options
Depending on your income and other factors, you might be eligible for Medicaid, which will cover the costs of pregnancy. Your baby will likely also be covered at birth if you qualify. Healthcare.gov also notes that pregnancy qualifies as a special circumstance, meaning you can change your marketplace insurance plan during this time to a more affordable policy. Ameda explains that many insurance plans cover the cost of a breast pump; if you plan to breastfeed, this can save you hundreds of dollars.
2. Set Up a Baby Registry and Share It with Your Loved Ones
If there’s one thing that everybody loves, it’s buying new things for a new baby. When you find yourself in a cash crunch, setting up your baby registry is an opportunity to not only bond with your friends and family but to also ease your baby-budget burdens. Many of your favorite stores offer convenient online baby registries. What’s more, you might even be able to find a promo code or discounts for other retailers that sell items you will need, including items such as pregnancy pillows, journals, and keepsakes. Keep in mind, that if you are considered ‘high risk’ early on in your pregnancy due to factors such as IVF, advanced maternal age, or previous complications with an earlier pregnancy, setting up your registry even earlier will help greatly if you have to go on hospital bed rest and can really take some anxiety of your plate knowing you have these things for baby already purchased.
3. Price Shop Delivery Options
Most women who go on hospital bed rest have been admitted on an emergency basis and have not prepared to be there. However, with a little pre-planning research, you could save money and find the best hospital for your care, even sooner. Believe it or not, hospital systems do not base their pricing on what the others around them may charge. There are unique factors that go into the overall cost of each potential delivery location. Even if you have insurance, you can save up to 40 percent of your medical services simply by comparing prices. MarketWatch explains that as of January 1, 2019, hospitals are required to post their standard charges online. With a little research, however, you can get a much better idea of what you stand to pay for maternity care.
4. Make Changes at Home
Small lifestyle changes can have a big impact on your budget. Maintaining an ongoing shopping list, eating healthfully, adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet, drinking water, and cooking instead of dining out are all great ways to save. You might also consider reorganizing your home with less clutter and selling your excess household goods at a yard sale. Many cable, phone, and utility companies offer a discount for setting up automatic payments, so ask about these as you pay your monthly bills. Another way to cut costs is to eliminate services that you do not need at the moment, such as a gym membership or premium cable subscription. Then We Saved, a favorite blog of yours truly, offers many more tips on saving money around the house.
While none of the above ideas will completely replace a lost income, they can help you live within your means until you can get back to work. Small actions can add up quickly, and the old adage about a penny saved holds true. Remember, opportunities to balance your budget are everywhere — all you have to do is look for them. Please visit Mighty Moms to read more topics related to your mom lifestyle.