Having a new baby is definitely a joyous affair, but you are not alone if the stresses about the finances are starting to creep in even before the baby is born. Perhaps you have heard about the high costs involved in raising a child to university age in Singapore.

Well, the dollars and cents may feel daunting, but don’t let it detract from the joys of raising a happy family. Here are five tips to help you enjoy parenthood without losing sleep over the budget!

1. Plan out the costs at every stage

Doing some research on how much you can expect to spend on your baby will give you a sense of how much you should set aside at each stage of your new parenthood journey. There are many guides available which detail costs at the different stages of your child’s life, from prenatal expenses such as gynaecological visits, scans, tests and the delivery costs in the various hospitals, to childcare or preschool fees. It can feel pretty daunting when you look at the big picture, but planning your budget in stages may help keep things manageable.

2. Make lifestyle adjustments

To say that your life will be changed is for certain when your family expands from two to three or more. With additional expenses in the form of baby supplies that must be replenished frequently, you may find yourself needing to cut back on certain expenses to budget for these new costs. This does not mean totally giving up doing things that you and your spouse enjoy, though. Love eating out? By all means, go, but perhaps going once a month instead of once a week would help with the budget!

3. Be open to accepting pre-loved baby items

If you have friends or relatives who have had babies before you, you may find that some of them will offer you their babies’ outgrown furniture, clothes, books or toys. As a new parent, you may want to indulge your little one with brand new items and that’s fine – go ahead and get some items you have set your eye on for your little bub. But here’s a very useful tip: accept some of those hand-me-downs to really stretch your dollar. Chances are, many of these items will be in good condition, since they may have hardly been used before baby outgrew them. Check out this list of places where you can score more pre-loved items on a budget!

4. Know what government subsidies you are eligible for

All Singaporean mums-to-be should really find out about all the subsidies, benefits and grants available. For example, did you know that all Singaporean babies can get their compulsory vaccinations free-of-charge at polyclinics? Or that as a working mother, you will be eligible for childcare subsidies when you enroll your child in a certified childcare centre, whether it is run by the government or by private operators?

5. Get insurance early

As parents, it is normal to want to seek the best medical service for the little one. Getting plans that cover baby for hospitalisation and accidents will help you keep your mind on what is important in times like these – baby’s recovery – without having to fret unnecessarily about the fees incurred. Buying life insurance plans early will also mean lower premiums, so you should do this if you can soon after the baby is born, to help with the cost savings in the long run.