Published: Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Budget Smart

Budget it right

Having a baby means much more than never being able to sleep and a constant headache for 18 years; it’s also about spending lots and lots of money. They may tell you that the best things in life are free, but when you add it all up, it really just isn’t. Remember, having a baby will be the most expensive thing you have ever done. Therefore, it’s prudent to start planning beforehand, if possible that is.

Page 1301Budgeting for a baby isn’t a 9 month thing. You have to plan not only for every month in the three trimesters but also for the first year. The expenses pertaining to a to-be and new born are varied and you must take all of them into consideration. Nabila Basher, a 26 year old Visual Designer, is in her fourth month of pregnancy and understands the importance of proper budgeting. “Since you will be required to visit a doctor at least twice a month, you may have to pay Tk 500-1000 per visit,” she informs. “Usually, you have to visit every month or so initially, even twice a month,” she adds. The doctor fee differs from place to place but is always usually in that range. But that’s just the initial costs.

Doctors also recommend a range of tests including those for lipid profile, a complete blood count, glucose, keratin and sonograms, among others, which can cost up to Tk 8,000- 10,000. Although these tests needn’t be done regularly, it’s still a huge chunk from your budget even if done once on a monthly basis. Of the tests, the sonogram is one of the most expensive, costing from Tk 1200-2000 depending on where you get it done from. The sonogram isn’t also one-off and thus needs to repeated, to monitor the proper development of the foetus. Ehsanur Raza Ronny, a journalist, says that in terms of sonograms, the 4D ones are the most expensive, although it’s done during the final stages. “Be careful to let them know if you don’t want to know the gender,” he advices.

Doctors also prescribe a lot of medications, especially vitamin and folic acid tablets, among many others, which can cost around Tk 300-400 and this is a purchase that you will need to make all throughout your pregnancy. Yafa Rahman, an Accounting teacher, has already gone through the process of pregnancy and mentions the additional expenses associated with it. “Doctors are usually more willing to conduct a caesarean than a natural birth and this can cost anywhere from Tk 50,000-1 lakh,” she informs. High-end hospitals like Apollo, United and Square all charge from 1 lakh and above considering all the expenses. Those that are considered more affordable can still cost up to Tk 35,000-50,000, considering the costs of not only the C-section but also room rent, medications and other associated fees. Of course this can be cut down to less by taking a semi-private room or a shared bed in a ward, but many do not prefer the intrusion of privacy during such delicate times. Numerous tests and medications should also be taken into account.

All of the above are just the expenses to be borne during pregnancy, but the expenses obviously don’t just stop there. Once the apple of your eye comes into this world, your cost of living increases. Yafa Rahman and Ehsanur Raza Ronny both testify to this, stating how you spend Tk 20,000-25,000 per month just on the requirements of the newborn. There are the diapers, wipes, medicines and the ever-pricier baby milk. Then there are feeders, baby products, clothes and even a caretaker if the need arises and for a working mom, you will need a caretaker. “It’s best to buy in bulk or from a general store than to go to a high end supermarket where the prices are always around Tk 25-30 higher,” Ronny says. He explains how purchasing in bulk from New Market can all be added up, leading to a much higher saving.

You can also do yourself a favour and prepare an emergency fund, which can pay dividends in the end. Make the proper amendments to your will, get your insurance sorted and finally invest for the future of your child. Many insurance companies are also willing to not only help with your life assurance policies but also now have medical insurance just for pregnancy related expenses and this is worth looking into. Having a baby will indeed cost you a lot of money, but it will be worth it.