The time you spend getting ready to have a baby will likely be one of the most exciting, fun, scary and stressful phases of your life. Whether you are already expecting or just preparing to get pregnant in the future, making the right changes now can help you be more emotionally and financially prepared when your little bundle of joy finally arrives.

1. Begin Saving Money Now

Even if you aren’t pregnant yet, you can still begin saving money now. It’s a good idea to open up a special savings account just for your baby’s expenses and add money to it whenever you can.

Having a nice chunk of change will prepare you for any unexpected expenses that might come up, and if nothing else, you will have a head start on the college fund.

2. Pace Yourself With Purchases

It’s natural to get excited and run out and begin buying all of the best baby stuff the moment you find out that you’re expecting, but it isn’t the best option financially. It’s best to wait until right before the baby is born to do any major shopping, as you will likely receive many useful gifts from friends and family members during your baby shower. Do be sure to pack your hospital bag essentials, though.

Not being in a rush to get what you need also allows you to search for good deals on items that may be expensive.

3. Borrow Maternity Clothes or Buy Them Used

Unless you’re planning to have ten children, you likely will only spend a collective year or two in your maternity clothing.

Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to spend a large amount of your hard-earned cash on new items. Ask the other mothers you know if they have any of their old maternity gear laying around, or check out a thrift store. You might even be able to find some good brand-name items at a fraction of the price.

4. Look For Second-Hand Baby Items

As with maternity clothes, you can find a lot of good deals on baby items at thrift stores. For safety reasons, there are certain things that are better to buy new, but many items, such as toys and clothes, can be found used for excellent prices. There is no reason to invest in expensive clothes when your baby is going to grow out of them in a few months.

Buy used and you will save a significant amount of cash.

5. Stay Healthy and Consider Breast Feeding

One of the easiest ways to save money is to plan on breast feeding your child. It’s healthier for the baby and you won’t have to shell out the cash for formula.

If you’re going to invest your money in anything, it should be plenty of healthy groceries. Eating a diet filled with organic fruits and vegetables and exercising regularly throughout your pregnancy will prepare your body to make nutrient-rich milk for your child.

No matter how prepared or unprepared you are, the day your child arrives will be the happiest day of your life. The best thing you can do is get as ready as you can, and face each new day with an open heart and mind. Being a parent will present you with challenges that you could never possibly prepare for, but it will be one of the most amazing journeys that you ever experience.