While we all know that babies are expensive, how much can you expect to spend in the first year and beyond? While that answer will vary depending upon your resources, choices you make, and even your health insurance coverage, either way, babies simply don’t come cheap. The costs of a new baby are one consideration when choosing to have a child; however, they are obviously not the only one. Smart choices can reduce your overall expenses.
Baby’s first year can be fairly affordable or quite costly. You may find yourself spending as much as $9,000 to $11,000 on baby expenses including decorating the nursery, formula, diapers and more before calculating in child care and medical expenses. Fortunately, you can cut costs in baby’s first year fairly easily.
If you are not yet pregnant, make certain that you have excellent maternity coverage and good health insurance for baby to be. This will go a long way toward reducing possible medical bills. You should also look carefully at your budget with regard to child care or a parent staying at home for some time to provide care. Infant care is quite costly, and many families find that having a parent at home for several months is financially a smarter choice.
You can also save by choosing to breastfeed instead of bottle feed, opting for cloth diapers, and simplifying what you buy for baby. Accept hand me downs and shop smart for the things baby needs. Really, the first year of your baby’s life can be less expensive than you might expect.
Unfortunately, the costs continue to add up after baby’s first year. Experts estimate that parents will spend between $125,000 and $250,000 raising a child to 18, not including college tuition. That sum does, of course, include food, housing, child care, clothing and more. Not surprisingly, the average amount spent goes up as income increases. The USDA based these estimates on adding a certain amount of square footage per child and estimating spending in all other categories. Where you live may also impact all costs, including transportation and housing.
You can reduce these costs by choosing to live more simply, buy less and shop smart. While estimates seem high, they may be higher than is accurate for your lifestyle, or if you are paying for private school tuition and lots of extracurricular activities can be inaccurately low. Take the time to learn more about simple living and frugality to keep the costs of raising your new baby within reason. Stay out of the mall, cook at home, and let the kids share a room to avoid a move to a larger home if needed. These things alone can dramatically lower the overall costs of raising a child.
Government and organizational resources to consider for more information:
- HRSA – Health Resources and Services Administration for Pregnant women and mothers
- Planned parenthood