How Much Does it Cost to Have a Baby?
Are You Financially Ready for Baby?
You've probably read other articles about what you should be doing financially to prepare for your child. The experts have told you that you need to write a will, choose guardians, pay off your debt, establish a college-savings plan, squirrel away for retirement, and buy life insurance. In a perfect world, yes, you should do all of those things. But the truth is, no one's perfect. You'll have so much to deal with during pregnancy and your baby's first year that you'll be lucky if you get around to even clipping a few diaper coupons. In fact, in a Babytalk.com poll, only 2 percent of moms said they wrote a will when they were pregnant. More than a third owned up to doing absolutely nothing during their pregnancy to prepare financially.
So give yourself a break. If you have the time, energy, and money to do a few of those things, then great. Otherwise, focus on making sure you have enough savings to get you through the coming months. Kevin McKinley, a certified financial planner, author of the book Make Your Kid a Millionaire, and father of three, helped us make a list of all the basics you may have to spend money on from now until your baby turns 1. Not everything will apply to you, so check what you think you'll need and add up the totals. Then, work on reserving enough cash to cover it all. If you know the expenses that might come up, you won't be caught unprepared.
Are you ready to find out what you might spend?
It's about karma. A woman passes along a box of clothes to her sister, who gives it to you after her pregnancy. You, in turn, will give it to a friend once you deliver. Take advantage of this pay-it-forward chain to save big bucks. If you like your fashions new (or need sharp clothes for work), your tops-and-bottoms line can add up.
Total: $100 to $1,000
Health & medical
You'll have co-payments (usually $10 to $15) for both your ob-gyn and, once the baby is here, the pediatrician. Non-covered hospital delivery charges are usually nominal but, depending on your insurance, can be up to $500. Add on another $50 to $100 for infant medical supplies.
Total: $450 to $1,400
You could, of course, go crazy decorating the nursery, but there are really only a few basics that you need: a crib and bedding, a dresser with a built-in changing area, a baby monitor, toys (though you'll get plenty as gifts), and a comfy rocking chair or glider.
Total: $750 to $1,450
Again, there's a lot of stuff that you might want (a jogging stroller, say, or a wipes warmer), but what you need is a car seat, a high chair, a stroller, a bouncy seat, a diaper bag, childproofing supplies, an infant tub, and, probably, an infant carrier or sling. Prices for each can vary wildly.
Total: $350 to $900
Simply keeping your tot in diapers for the first year can cost as much as $700. But don't forget to think about all the wipes, diaper rash ointment, baby shampoo, pacifiers, burp cloths, and other everyday items your wee one will need.
Total: $900 to $1,000
If you're breastfeeding...
You'll need a few nursing bras, nursing pads, a breast pump (which is the biggest expense here, running from $50 to $350), nipple cream, and breast-milk storage bags.
Total: $150 to $500
If you're bottle-feeding...
Formula is the biggest cost in this category if you don't breastfeed. You can spend between $900 and $1,200 for the year, depending on the type you get (ready-to-eat or powdered, DHA/RHA-enhanced or not, etc.). The price of bottles and other bottlefeeding accessories, though, is fairly low.
Total: $950 to $1,300
When the time comes (around 6 months or so), you'll need teething snacks, jarred baby food, infant cereal, bibs, and infant tableware - not to mention a good dry cleaner!
Total: $300 to $400
Infant clothing Like maternity wear, baby togs are often communal. Still, your ever-growing tot will need coats, shoes, swimwear, and more.
Total: $250 to $500