Whether you’re planning to get pregnant or already there, there are financial expenses you should be thinking about that will affect your day-to-day cash flow. These little bundles of joy are priceless, but expensive. If you aren’t constantly telling your money what to do before the month begins, now is the perfect time to start.
The truth is, there are so many factors and variables to having a baby — it’s hard to even make a ballpark estimate of what the total cost will be especially they days, when some parents never totally cut the cord from this financial commitment. But just because you can’t plan everything doesn’t mean you should not plan what you can.
I’m four weeks away from meeting my baby, here’s where to start and what to expect when you ‘re expecting. Ready… set, baby!
Figuring out the cost associated with having a baby can get pretty confusing—and it all starts before the baby even enters the world! Between your prenatal checkups, baby essentials and even a new wardrobe to dress that growing belly, things can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Here are a some pre-baby expenses to include in your budget before your bundle of joy even gets here.
Medical bills are extremely hard to pin down. Both pregnancy and birth require a lot of medical attention. Meaning– you won’t be charged for the birth alone. The pregnancy itself is filled with costs that require numerous doctor’s visits, from checkups to ultrasounds, tests and procedures and lab work … it really adds up. You’ll want to make sure you have enough financial cushion before you decide to have a child.
How much? According to my calculations with prenatal care, ultrasounds, doctor’s visits, childing birthing classes, prenatal massages and workouts — I’ve paid about $6k out of pocket, just to get me to the birth.
The best thing you can do is contact your insurance provider and get as much info as you can. Ask questions like:
1) Which care providers are in your network?
2) What procedures are covered and what are not?
3) How much will I likely have to pay out of pocket?
You really want to avoid huge medical bills so get all the answers to the questions you can. Knowing your plan ahead of time will help you be fully prepared for any surprises that might come up.
Here’s something to expect: Assume you’re going to pay your full yearly deductible during your pregnancy and first year of babies pediatric care.
Obviously there’s not a whole lot you can skip out on with medical expenses, but when it comes to things like maternity clothes, onesies, the nursery, car seats and cribs— you can be a minimalist and just focus on the necessities. This is where hand me downs, family, friends and bargain shopping can come really handy.
One way to save money? Don’t buy new clothes every time the season changes. That’s a no brainer, but when growing a tiny human for the next nine months, you need to shop for clothes. It is an actual need. That said, you don’t necessarily need expensive designer maternity jeans (they are a thing). Here are some ways to stay comfortable and stylish while sticking to your budget.
- Shop your closet. Believe it or not, you already have a lot of things in your own closet you can wear throughout your pregnancy. Maxi dresses, stretchy skirts, flowy shirts, blazers, cardigans and sweaters can all be worn as your baby bump grows.
- Buy non-maternity items. Maternity clothing is marked up just because it’s labeled maternity wear! They really play on your emotions just like every other milestone in life. I bought a few maternity jeans with stretch but for the rest of the items, I purchased non-maternity items that I can wear after pregnancy, just a few sizes up. I also went on a spree when I saw items were on sale, and ended up saving a lot of money.
- Borrow! Borrowing your sister’s or friends previously loved maternity wardrobe is perfectly fine. Every piece of clothing you borrow is more money you get to keep in your budget.
- Buy consignment or pre owned maternity clothes. On Facebook, there are groups that connect local moms where you can often find free clothes and toys since kids outgrow items so quickly. If you take the time to plan, you can save a lot of money.
The first step is deciding which things are essential and which are just nice-to-have. Remember don’t splurge on items that will have a short shelf life. This baby will be wearing these for like a week.
So far I’ve spent about $400 on baby clothes thanks to generous friends and family and a baby shower registry.
For the first few months, you’ll want the baby in your bedroom and close to you—and that means you’ll probably need a bassinet. Since you’ll only have the baby in the bassinet for a few months, don’t spend an arm and a leg on the cutesy bassinet. Borrow one instead! Some companies also offer renting.
You’ll shell out about $2,000 for a nursery set, including the crib, changing table, rocker, and dresser.
Luckily, you can buy used cribs and strollers, but whatever you do, don’t forget a new car seat! Never purchase a used car seat, there is no way to tell if it has been damaged and become unsafe.
Pro tip: They won’t even let you bring the baby home if you don’t have a car seat properly installed! Factor in about $200 for a car seat. The average cost for a stroller is $600. Average total cost of baby gear: $72.00–$443.00
To save money, check out a stroller travel system, which is a stroller plus an infant car seat, usually with a base that makes it easy to get baby in and out of the car.
Once you make it through all of your checkups, it’s time to bring your baby into the world. But before introductions can be made, you’ve got a few additional expenses to cover.
Here’s a stat a 2016 study showed that in NYC a natural birth cost between $4-17k; and in Los Angeles a cesarean birth cost between $6k-$42,000.
Diapers are a need, but baby a baby warming wipe? Not so much.
Remember: You don’t have to buy everything brand new.
Now time to feed baby. The average baby will consume about 30 oz of breast milk or formula a day. So we’re looking at a large number here. On average, the cost of feeding a newborn formula for the first year of life is an estimated $1,733.75.
Families who breastfeed can save between $1,200 to $1,500 in the first year alone, according to the U.S. surgeon general. But between pumps, consultants, increased appetite, etc., it most certainly is NOT free.
Make your own baby food! You’re probably thinking, Aint nobody got time for that? We get it! Just remember pureeing your own sweet potatoes will save you money.
The average baby goes through six to 10 diapers a day, which, according to the National Diaper Bank Network, can set you back $70 to $80 per month, or about $900 a year.
Budgeting for Baby
It’s no secret that having a baby is expensive. In fact, for a baby who was born in 2017, parents could expect to spend an average of $14,260 each year. Ouch!
Child care can be very expensive, in fact most people worry about this the most. If you and your significant other both work, then child care will be a big conversation. Childcare and work responsibilities are two major issues that parents must discuss before the baby arrives. Here are some things to discuss:
- How much leave will each of us take after the baby arrives? How much paid and unpaid time off do our employers offer?
- Will one of us be a stay-at-home parent? How will the working parent(s) contribute to childcare?
The average national daycare rate for one child is over $200 per week, while an au pair or nanny rings in at $367 and $565 each week, respectively. We’ll be breaking this costs down in a post soon.
So now that you have all the info, you have the choice to either set aside part of your budget in the months leading up to baby or live on a tighter budget after the baby is born. Take some time to figure out your baby budget so that you don’t pile up debt down the road.