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How much do you really need for baby’s first year?

So, you are expecting!

And in that anticipation, one can’t help but wonder how much is this really going to cost me? There are a lot of numbers out there, that tell you that you need a certain amount of money. The truth is that you need a whole lot less than you think.

Let’s talk about the hit to your income. If you qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) there are a couple things you should know.

“One of the biggest pieces of advice I have is to be aware that Employment Insurance (EI) is taxable,” says Fatima Esmail, Financial Empowerment Facilitator at Momentum. “You’ll want to account for this so that the following April you aren’t shocked by your tax bill.”

Esmail says that some people ask their accounting department at work to deduct more taxes before they go on maternity or parental leave and still have a full income, so that they owe less taxes the next year.

She also advises another route to go is once you are receiving EI, you can set aside money so that you are ready the following year.

But there are a couple of government assistance programs that can help you out. The Canada Child Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help with the cost of raising children under the age of 18 years of age and the Alberta Child Benefit is a program that provides direct financial assistance to lower income families with children under 18. You are eligible to receive one or both once you file your tax return.

And to focus on what matters the most, which is healthy parents and healthy baby, AHS also offers free prenatal classes.

As for the actual stuff? The actual items you will need to raise a happy baby are minimal and here is a comprehensive list of the things you will need:

Diapers – If you have access to a laundry machine, cloth diapers are a great option. You can buy cloth diapers used and once you get into a habit and routine, it becomes easy to manage.

Baby wipes – Making homemade baby wipes can save money while not requiring a lot of labour. You just need paper towels and water!

Bassinet – You don’t need to buy a crib or even an expensive bassinet. You need a clean and safe space where your baby can sleep so you can do much needed other things, such as cook and shower. They can sleep in a Baby Box, one that complies with Health Canada’s bassinet standards. You can get one for free here.

Car Seat and Stoller – If anyone in your network that you know and trust has a used car seat, it is perfectly safe to use it just as long it hasn’t expired. If you don’t have a network you can call 211 and they can connect you with a supporting agency to suit your needs.

Baby Clothes –   You’ll need to clothe your newborn but that doesn’t need to be in new clothing. You can get a lot of baby clothing for free from friends and family. If you don’t have a network, Infant Care Alberta (formerly NeighbourLink Calgary) runs a program for Infants and Children Under 2, where you can get baby clothing and supplies. You can access this program through a supporting agency, by calling 211.  You can purchase also a lot of clothing second hand through Facebook Groups and Once Upon A Child in Varsity has clothing for sale second hand.

Bottles and Formula – Not all mothers can breastfeed but if you can it is free! If you can get bottles at no cost through your network, that’s great! If not, you can find second hand bottles through Facebook Groups or Kijiji. Infant Care Alberta also provides bottles and formula at no charge for low income families.

Those are the essentials. Momentum can also support you in helping your kids succeed with an Registered Education Savings Plan. Learn more about free Sign up events for RESPs and start contributing to your child’s future.

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