Northwest Navigator: News and Information from Navy Region Northwest in Washington State's Puget Sound, including Bremerton, Kitsap County, Oak Harbor, and Everett

Budgeting for baby — valuable advice, free goodies

Photo by JO1(SW) Karen Golembieski
Layette items and hand-crocheted pieces are some of the materials found inside tote bags provided by the "Budgeting for Baby" class.

As expectant Sailors and spouses move into their second trimester, one of the most important things they can do is attend a Navy Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) Budgeting for Baby class. 

Bea Mansker, NMCRS chairman of volunteers, says this valuable resource gives worthwhile advice to prospective parents of new babies, as well as free goodies in baby’s first seabag.

“The class covers how the new baby will affect the family budget, what services and programs are available to parents in this area, consignment shops, and do’s and dont’s,” she said.

The instructor, Cindy Mojica, who teaches the class, has a specific curriculum to follow.

According to Mansker, participants’ feedback has indicated the most useful part of the program is the budgeting portion.

Attendees, who’re encouraged to attend as a couple, are asked to bring a recent leave and earnings statement (LES) from which to fill out a budget worksheet. They then are given information about the percentage of increase the baby will likely cause in clothing, grocery and childcare costs.

“We encourage them to follow what the budget shows,” said Mansker. “We want them to be aware it’s not necessary to buy all brand new things for the baby.  It’s nice, but not necessary.”

Friends, relatives, consignment shops and thrift stores are all sources of baby items. As long as items are within current federal and state child safety regulations - clean and in good repair - there is a definite advantage to using these resources. Current regulations can be found in several places including the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site,{{PERIOD}}

“We also encourage couples not to depend on a dual paycheck, if possible,” Mansker said. “If the second income goes mostly to childcare, we encourage the secondary earner to stay home with the children. Why work to pay solely for childcare?”

Budgeting information is not the only resource given during the class.  In addition, speakers from two other Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) programs are invited to speak at each session. 

Mary Quehrn of the New Parent Support program offers her services in the area of child development, and the FFSC visiting nurse, Cathy Burdick, lets parents know she’s also available for home visits. 

At the end of the class, each family is given a “junior seabag”, a tote bag filled with books on pregnancy, coupons for baby products, receiving blankets, bibs, crib sheets, towel and washcloth sets, and a hand-crocheted or knitted blanket or sweater set.

Mansker says it’s not difficult to keep up with stocking the bags as the layette items are ordered according to the number of participants signed up each month, usually from 10-12 families.

Because they must make sure there are enough items, walk-ins are not allowed, says Mansker.

“Those who want to attend must call the society office to sign up. Expectant mothers must be in at least the second trimester before they come to the class,” she stressed.

Budgeting for Baby classes are held the third Friday of every month, from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m., in the FFSC at the Smokey Point Navy Support Complex.

To sign up for the class or for more information, contact the NMCRS office at (425) 304-3203.

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