News: Budget for Baby workshop helps baby not break bank
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - Many new parents anticipate the loud cries of a newborn child, but they may not anticipate the tears that may flow if their wallet starts to become lighter with the youngest addition to the family.
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, which has locations worldwide, offers Budget for Baby workshops to eligible parents-to-be to help plan financially for the new arrival.
More than 80 participants attended the Budget for Baby workshops aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii last year, which is open primarily to active duty service members and spouses who plan to have children, are currently going through a pregnancy or recently gave birth.
The society volunteers typically offer this free workshop from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the base’s NMCRS location, behind the Provost Marshal’s Office in building 4016.
Until September, however, volunteers are currently conducting the workshops in other locations while the NMCRS building undergoes renovations. The society also offers the workshop to units upon Request.
During the workshop, volunteers provide families with resources on and off base and a presentation with money-saving tips. Instructors cover not only general infant expenses parents can expect, but also how to reduce costs and discover areas in which they may be overspending.
“Before I had my child, I didn’t realize the different expenses that would come and how much more disciplined I had to be with finances,” said Candice MacInnes, the Budget for Baby lead and chairman of layettes at the base’s NMCRS. “This class highlights miscellaneous spending habits and allows for the couple to rethink certain spending.”
According to MacInnes, parents could potentially spend as much as $1,000 a year on diapers alone, on a child who may continue to
require diapers for nearly three years.
During Budget for Baby workshops, MacInnes uses NMCRS materials to lead the workshop, but also shares her own experience as a military spouse, moving to four houses within two duty stations in three years, and giving birth to a daughter in the process.
She offers ways of saving money, from learning do-it-yourself car maintenance at the Auto Skills Center on base to buying groceries
in bulk. For instance, she estimated families could potentially save as much as $300 a month by simply dining at home instead of going out to eat.
“I thought it was a good overview,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Crayon, avionics technician, Special Projects Patrol Squadron 2.
Crayon, whose spouse is expecting their first child, said through the class he found out about services and programs available on base he didn’t know existed. For instance, he said he learned about the Baby/Toddler Clothing Swap that occurs periodically at the Chaplain Joseph W. Estabrook Chapel.
Milena Medina, who is eight weeks along with her first child, attended the class with her husband. Medina’s husband heard about the class through his chain of command.
“I recommend it to any new parents,” Medina said. “It’s very informative.”
At the end of the class, eligible participants also receive a free layette: a bag filled with baby materials, such as bibs, burp cloths and towels.
The next Budget for Baby workshop is scheduled for Sept. 19 in building 4016. For more information about the workshop, call NMCRS at 257-1972.