Money Saving 301
November 29, 2023

How Much Does It Cost to Have a Baby?

Raising a child is becoming increasingly expensive, like almost everything these days. CNN reports it now costs a married, middle-income family with two children $310,605 to raise their youngest child from birth through high school. The largest contributor to this number is housing and food costs, both of which have increased more than 10% over the last year.

Even the first-year expenses of having a child are rising. There’s so much to buy in the beginning, including a crib, a car seat, clothing, bottles, a breast pump or formula … the list goes on. Plus, there’s child care.

Let’s look at how you can prepare for the costs of having a baby – and what you can do if emergency expenses come up.

Get Your Finances in Order and Review Your Debt

First and perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to get your finances in order. There are a number of great financial books that can help.  Review your debts and make sure you have a plan for repaying them despite the added costs of having a baby. If you need debt consolidation, or credit counseling, start looking into it now. You definitely don’t want your finances to go haywire after you have another mouth to feed.

You’ll also want to develop your emergency fund. That means working to build an account. Start small and continue building. Experts suggest you ultimately save up three to six months’ salary to cover expenses comfortably in case of a job loss, medical issues, or other financial challenges.

If you don’t have one already, establish a budget. Learn more about how to set up a budget here. Research monthly expenses during a baby’s first year to help you estimate costs and include those in your budget. If possible, make your financial plan (budget ahead) for the baby’s first year so you can prepare and make adjustments as needed.

How much should I budget for a baby in 2024?

Unfortunately, the amount you’ll want to budget for a new baby is increasing rapidly. According to some studies, it will cost $15,750 to $31,000 for a child’s first year of life, depending on where in the United States you live and your household income. And what happens if it’s … twins?

The cost of the baby’s arrival itself is a big percentage of the total cost. How much does it cost to give birth? Expenses can include prenatal care, doctor’s visits, sonograms, any necessary medical or genetic testing, a hospital stay, a midwife, plus the hospital and doctor’s charges for the delivery itself. Costs can increase if you’re considering childbirth without insurance.

Once the baby arrives, there’s a bundle of new expenses for your little bundle of joy. Consider the cost of diapers, bassinets, cribs, bottles, pacifiers, toys, clothes, car seats, and formula or a breast pump. Investigate the best deals, shop ahead, and make sure everything is baby-safe.  

Baby-related life upgrades

The baby’s own expenses aren’t the only factor. In some cases, you may need a larger or safer vehicle. You might also need a bigger apartment or home before building your family. Consider these expenses and, if possible, plan ahead. Consider making these needs a part of the budget for your baby’s first year.

How much is childcare?

Childcare is the next major cost of having a baby. Childcare costs are different based on a baby’s age/stage, so factor this into your baby’s first-year budget, too. Even if you’re lucky enough to have grandparents or relatives supporting you with child care, be sure you have a backup plan in case someone is ill, has to travel, etc., and can’t look after the baby. Make sure you have enough money in your monthly budget to pay someone to watch your baby, if necessary.

You’ll also want to think about your one-off childcare needs – also known as babysitting. Eventually, you and your partner may need a few hours away for another commitment or may want a night off for a date. Think early about who you might contact and include this expense in your first-year budget, too.

Key Takeaways

The cost of having a baby comes down to a few essentials.

First, you can’t always plan for a baby. When you can, considering costs and getting your financial life in order before getting pregnant can be a big help. But even if the pregnancy is a surprise, you’ve got months to save money, shop around for items you need, borrow where you can (or buy gently used) and plan.

Even when you can plan, it doesn’t mean life will be perfect. If everyone waited until they had excess money to have a baby, many people would miss out on their opportunity to have a family. Do the best you can to be in the best financial position before having a baby, but remember life isn’t perfect. Have a backup plan if your finances get out of hand to steer clear of bad credit, including options like an installment loan to pay for emergency expenses.

Even if your finances aren’t perfect, remember: your baby will be priceless.

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