Note: This is a guest post by Georgia Banks.
Let’s say you’re either planning to have a baby or have learned that you’ll have one soon.
First, congratulations! It’s exciting news.
But it can also be a financial bomb. By the time your kid turns 18, they could cost you well over $230,000.
But don’t panic! With a little bit of planning, you can gird yourself against the pecuniary storm on the horizon.
Many first-time parents are surprised by the costs that a baby incurs even before it’s born.
These are essential to making sure your baby has the best health possible when it’s born. Most adult diets are lacking in the nutrition necessary to sustain themselves, let alone sustain a baby.
Making your home safe for your little bundle of joy is a critical step. Some of the baby proofing tools and products are expensive, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Setting up a proper nursery can set you back thousands of dollars. From the crib to the changing table, from diaper storage to a sleepy-time swing, there are many things that you should acquire and set up now, before you have your hands full.
The average cost of a birth in the US is over $9700, around $3700 for those with insurance and up to $50,000 for those without.
Did you know that a C-Section can cost $10,000 more than a natural birth? Have you thought about what your family will do if your baby needs to visit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit?
These are scary things to think about, but they need to be considered before they’re right in front of you.
Some choose to plan for a home birth, often utilizing a midwife or birthing coach. This can mitigate the costs of birth, but be advised that there’s always the possibility that you’ll end up needing to go to the hospital, anyway.
Birthing centers across the country are generally proven to be safe, so look into your options to choose what’s best for you.
As a note, I moved from the US to Australia a while back- the average birth cost here is the second most expensive in the world and it still only costs 2/3 that of the US.
Be mindful of what procedures and medications your doctor recommends- the amounts of tests and supplies hospitals suggest or use is often unnecessary.
If you’ve been blessed enough for your baby to be born healthy, don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet.
For the first year of your baby’s life, you’ll need to bring him or her in to see a doctor pretty regularly.
Most docs recommend coming in every month for the first 3 months, every 6 weeks until 6 months, and then every 3 months until the end of the first year. This is for vaccinations as well as for check-ups for appropriate development.
While important, it can also really add up financially.
Children grow out of clothes at a ridiculous rate. Buying a whole new set of clothes each time your baby outgrows an outfit is a great way to waste hundreds of dollars.
If you have friends or family members who have had children recently, consider borrowing their resources.
Disposable diapers can be the bane of a parent’s existence.
Some choose to utilize cloth diapers to save money and reduce waste, but this isn’t feasible for everyone.
Homemade baby food can save you thousands of dollars.
Instead of buying individual jars of baby food for every meal, try your hand at mashing peas and carrots, yourself. There are plenty of guides online and you’ll make sure your baby is eating fresh, healthy foods.
Toys are one of those things that all of your friends and relatives will jump to get for your baby’s birthdays, showers, and just because.
Such being the case, there isn’t much need to spend a ton on toys that might fall out of favor at any time. The only “toys” you should be concerned about are those used for teething, learning to walk, and recommended learning aids.
Nose suckers and burping cloths and breast pumps aren’t necessarily things that you know you need right away. They can sneak up on you when it comes to cost, too.
Try to give yourself a budget margin so that you have the wiggle room you need to take it one day at a time.
With two working parents, you’ll need to find a good daycare that you’ll be willing to trust your baby with. Some of the best care facilities can be quite costly, so consider asking your parents for help a day out of the week.
It’s best to get into the habit of putting a percentage of your paycheck into a college or trust fund every month so that you won’t need to worry about tuition when your child grows up.
In the meantime, you’ll face many of the challenges in choosing schools that you face choosing daycare.
It isn’t just your baby’s well-being that you need to be concerned with. Now that you have a baby, you need to keep an eye on the future.
Life insurance becomes much more necessary when you think about what position your spouse would be in if you pass. I helped my sister-in-law compare insurance options at Suncorp.com.au when she found out she was pregnant, which was a useful process when deciding which kinds of coverage she needed.
I’d recommend doing the same with your insurance provider.
You’ll come across many costs, expected and unexpected, when having a child. You’ll also pick up many money-savvy habits and tricks (couponing can be a lifesaver!) as well as home remedies.
Preparation is the best thing you can do to secure a future for your child. Plan smartly and utilize your support structure and you’ll be able to focus on the joys of pregnancy instead of the stress.
Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.