Congratulations on the upcoming newborn! Deciding to have a child in Singapore is a huge decision, especially since total fertility rate in the nation state is below replacement rate and life can get pretty stressful, even without a baby. Having a baby not only entails a huge commitment and responsibility, it also increases the financial responsibility of ensuring your child gets the best he can. So before you fret about his future and the financial cost of getting there, here are 5 nifty tips you can do to ensure the arrival of your baby doesn't add on to the stress of changes to come.
1. Go Public
Singapore has a world-class healthcare system and even the public hospital are great in providing the medical care anyone needs. You can cut the cost of delivering your child by more than half if you choose to do it in a public hospital instead of a private one. Costs for a 2-night stay in a public hospital in ward A class (single-bedder) starts at around $3,500, compared to about $8,000 in a private hospital. This is assuming the delivery was smooth with no complications so that you do not need to stay more days.
2. Bulk-buy Baby necessities
Do you ever wonder why Baby fairs and Expos are always so crowded in Singapore? That's because many parents know that there will be lots of sales and discounts offered at these fairs, and they take the chance to stock up on the necessities for their baby. These fairs offer bulk-buying discounts and are a great opportunity to stock up on diapers and milk formulas, for example.
3. Buy Second-hand
Babies grow at an amazing rate and they outgrow their clothes rapidly. This is when going second-hand is totally worth it. Ask around before the arrival of your baby to see if any mothers can spare some hand-me-downs from their child. These clothes are often worn for a very short few months, making some of these as good as new. Other than clothes, look out for second-hand baby cots and prams too, which you can easily find on Carousell. Doing this can easily save you a few hundred dollars, and some people are even willing to let go of these for free!
4. Make use of your Medisave
Your Medisave is not only useful for your medical procedures and hospitalisation but also something you can tap on for your maternity needs! There is a Medisave Maternity Package that you can tap on for both pre-delivery medical expenses, as well as for your hospital stay during delivery. Mothers can now claim up to $900 for pre-delivery expenses, which can be used for pre-natal consultations, ultrasound scans and tests. These apply to both public and private healthcare institutions.
Other than that, you can also claim up to $450 a day for hospital stays, and an additional surgical withdrawal limit between $750 and $2,120 depending on the type of delivery procedure.
5. Use Cash Rebates Cards For Maternity Expenses
While there seems to be a lack of credit cards that are catered towards helping you save costs or get discounts off maternity scans or hospital stays, you can still utilise your credit cards to get some savings with cash rebates cards.
Considering that most hospital bills are in the range of hundreds of dollars, you can easily use a cashback card to earn you some rebates. For instance, the UOB One Card awards 5% cashback on a minimum monthly spend of S$2,000 consecutively for three months. You can easily accumulate this amount, especially towards the final months of your pregnancy, as well as use the card to foot your hospital bills. That will earn you $300 of rebates for that quarter.
If you are looking to stock up on baby's diapers, milk formula and other necessities, remember to use a cash rebates card such as the OCBC 365 Card, POSB Everyday Card or the UOB Delight Card that give you rebates for supermarket purchases as well as spending at pharmacies.
6. Maximise Government's Baby Bonus Scheme
The Singapore Government has a great pro-family scheme to encourage the population to have more babies. One of the best is the baby bonus scheme, which has been enhanced serveral times in the past decade to give the best support it can to parents-to-be. Basically, your first and second child will be entitled to a cash gift of $8,000 that will be disbursed over a period of 18 months in 5 instalments.
Other than just a cash gift, there is a Baby Bonus Child Development Account (CDA) that you can enrol in for your child. This is a savings scheme for children where the government will match dollar-for-dollar with the savings you have deposited for your child. For your first and second child, you qualify to get up to $3,000 contributions from the government if you save the same amount for your child. For the third and fourth child, this amount is doubled. The money can be used to defray the costs of childcare and can be used in the payment for childcare and heathcare expenses for your child.