Before you start trying to conceive, you need to ask yourself an important question – Can I afford having a baby?
Everything is becoming more expensive these days, from buying groceries to the high price of gas and the increasing cost of rent and housing. With the rising costs of living, incomes aren’t keeping up. In fact, the medium household income has decreased 7 percent in the last 10 years. And with the United States economy the way it is, more parents are losing their jobs and families are scrambling to make ends meet.
So, if you are thinking of getting pregnant, you need to factor in the costs of raising a child until they’re of legal age.
How Much Does It Cost to Raise a Baby?
Raising a baby is more expensive than ever. According to 2011 U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, the cost of raising a child from infancy to age 18 has increased 40 percent – more than $60,000 – in the last decade. For the middle-income, two parent family, the estimated cost of raising one child until their 18th birthday is a whopping $226,920.
In 2010, the yearly cost of raising one child was $13,830. And when you compare that to the cost 10 years ago – of $9,860 – you can see that the rising cost of parenthood. So, before you decide to jump in the sack and do the deed unprotected, you need to financially plan for a baby.
Financial Planning for a Baby
We have established that babies are expensive. But can you afford having a baby? Let’s go over some financial savings basics to help you figure out if you are financially prepared for a baby:
- Do you have at least $5,000 worth of savings in your bank account that could go toward baby-related expenses?
- Looking at your bank statements, can you live with $1,000 less every month? This is the average cost of childcare. If you don’t plan on paying for childcare services, can you afford your lifestyle if you or your husband/partner decides to stay at home with the baby? Can you afford your basic expenses with only one income?
- Do you have an emergency fund that will cover at minimum three months of living expenses?
- Before having a baby, do you need to buy a new car or a new home?
- Can you afford to add a dependent to your health insurance policy?
Having a baby is draining on your pocketbook, so that’s why you have to take steps to financially prepare for a baby. Experts recommend that you save between $5,000 and $10,000 before having a baby, and this money can go toward some of those upfront costs – including diapers, health insurance, childcare, and other basic necessities that you need.
Although money shouldn’t be the only factor that goes into the decision to have a child, financial planning for baby can reduce stress down the road. Taking care of a newborn is stressful enough, and it can also change your marriage. So if you can find ways to any additional concerns, you can focus on what counts – being a mommy or a daddy.
How to Afford a Baby
When you’re financially planning for a baby, you will need to factor in basic necessities – such as diapers, formula and bottles (if you’re not breastfeeding), blankets, a few outfits, a car seat, and a safe place for baby to sleep. If you’re on a budget, you can afford a baby by staying away from fancy, state-of-the-art baby gadgets and other products that you don’t need.
Here are a few tips on how you can afford a baby:
- Don’t buy unnecessary baby products – The baby product industry is really profitable, and it’s easy to fall into marketing traps. But your baby doesn’t need multiple places to sleep. Moses baskets, cribs, co-sleepers are all fine, but when you’re on a budget, don’t waste your money. Your baby only needs one safe place to sleep. For extra value and long-term savings, why not buy a convertible crib that will turn into a toddler bed down the road? They aren’t that much more expensive than a traditional crib, and they will save you money long-term.
- Avoid buying the cheapest options – Although buying the cheapest crib, high chair, or stroller sounds like a good idea in the beginning, inexpensive products tend to be poorly made and they will only last one or two years at the most. When you buy slightly more expensive options, they will last longer and save you money in the long run.
- Don’t go crazy buying too much – You may want everything for your new baby, but resist the temptation to load up on everything you see. Don’t’ load up on too many newborn outfits, tiny diapers, or toys. Babies grow quickly, and those newborn sized diapers just won’t fit anymore. Buy as your baby grows. If you’re worried that you won’t have time to go out once your baby arrives, shop online and use expedited shipping.
No matter what you’re income, planning ahead can make affording a baby much easier. Again, don’t avoid having a baby just due to cost. Having children is a rewarding experience, and the love that you get from them is definitely worth any sacrifice that you make.