Easing new moms money woes

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PHOENIX -- New moms have a lot to worry about. One of the biggest concerns is the inevitable mountain of financial responsibility that comes along with that tiny bundle of joy.

According to statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture, the average middle-class family spends more than $10,000 annually on expenses for one child. And as your child grows, so does that number. However, following these steps can help you avoid the baby budget blues.

Identify needs vs. wants
Make a list of the things you need. Then, look at each item and determine if it’s actually a “need” or if it could fall in the “want” category. Cut down your list until you are positive you have a list of only essential items to focus on.

Budget, budget, budget – and stick to it!
Take a realistic look at your family’s current spending. With a new addition to the family comes a new budget that will need to be created. There will be a multitude of new expenses – from diapers and formula to hospital bills and doctor’s visits – that will need to be taken into account.

Clip coupons
Many manufacturers offer coupons on things such as diapers, baby wipes, and formula. If you combine coupons with store discounts, you can end up with some really good deals. Taking a few minutes before you head out to the store can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.

Save money by going secondhand
When it comes to necessities for your little one, your best resource may be another mom. Ask around to see if any of your friends are looking to get rid of baby products they may no longer have use for. If you know what you’re looking for, it may also be helpful to check out auctions and re-sale websites, such as eBay and Craigslist.

Get advice from other moms
Many times, your best resource is someone who has been down the same path. So use this opportunity to capitalize on the experiences of your friends and family. You can also harness the power of the internet and check out parenting websites such as thebump.com and iVillage.com to read what moms are saying on the message boards. Read a variety of opinions and you can decide which advice will work for your situation.

Ultimately, your child will grow up before you know it, so following these steps can ensure that you enjoy every hectic minute rather than spend your time searching for spare change in the couch cushions.