The first year of your baby's life costs what?If you're thinking about adding a new member to your family, you already have a million and one things to think about—but it's important to consider the financial effects your little one will have so you can catapult into planning mode.
Figuring out what to stock up on for your new baby and how much it will cost is overwhelming, to say the least. “Once you digest the delight of knowing a little baby is on the way, what you need becomes a primary concern for most moms,” said Melissa Lawrence, mother of five and cofounder of CloudMom, a how-to video site for moms. “With all the products out there, I advise going for the essentials and waiting for the rest.” For the first six months, Lawrence recommends:
- Infant car seat, which you can’t leave the hospital without ($80)
- Car-seat carrier ($85)
- The Pack N Play ($60)
- Supportive nursing chair ($200)
- Bouncy Seat ($65)
- 2 crib sheets + 1 for your Pack N Play ($20)
- 1-2 baby towels ($15)
- Gerber’s side snap T-shirts and a set of 6 onesies ($30)
- Nursing bra ($50)
- Burp cloths ($10)
Even if you wait to buy bigger-ticket items, including a crib ($190), stroller ($250), and activity gym ($100), these initial-six-months basics will set you back $615. That’s before typical weekly expenses like diapers ($15), wipes ($2.50), baby food (Lawrence recommends Plum Organics [$32]), baby wash ($2), and diaper cream ($3), which adds up to an additional $54.50.
Total one-year cost of supplies: $3,989
Jetting off with baby in tow brings a host of additional costs, including renting a crib—often about $10—at a hotel and airline charges. When flying, you could find that flights during nap times are pricier, incur a $100 charge for checking luggage and/or a stroller, or be forced to pay extra to ensure that your family is seated together, says Diana Bockus of Down Home Traveler. Save money by taking advantage of a universal policy that lets children under 2 fly for free if they sit on your lap.
Total one-year cost of two plane trips: $420
One money-sucker that your baby may save you from? The percentage of your income you pay to the government every year. For starters, you can claim the dependent exemption, worth $3,900 per child. Plus, you get the child tax credit, which saves you $1,000 per dependent child, and you can deduct baby medical bills if they exceed 10 percent of your adjusted gross income, says Lisa Greene-Lewis, lead CPA with TurboTax. There are also credits for working parents, including the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which can earn you up to $1,050 for each of your first two children.
For example, a married couple with no children earning $80,000 per year would have a tax liability of about $8,209. With a baby, that same couple may get the deductions and credits mentioned above, lowering their tax liability to about $6,147.
In order to make sure you get your money, get a Social Security card for your baby and keep receipts for all Medicare and day-care expenses.
Total one-year tax savings: $2,062
Career and childcare
Having a baby leaves many working parents with a new set of career realities, time constraints, and priorities. It can also alter your income, particularly if a new addition means working part-time or switching to a job you can do from home.
Shelley Hunter, a work-at-home mom and Gift Card Girlfriend at GiftCards.com, realigned her career post-baby and decided to stay home, helping her to save on childcare. Nannies in her area make $15 to $20 per hour, for a total of at least $600 a week, or over $31K per year. Day care for infants can be up to $2,000 a month, and summer camps cost about $400 a week. Her money-saving strategy is to work “off” hours—those not between 9 and 5—and to split the time at home with her husband. She also partners with other parents to carpool or share a babysitter.
Total one-year cost of full-time day care: $24,000
Saving for a child’s education is one of the most daunting financial burdens any parent can take on. “The best way to become a good saver is to start at an early age and make it automatic,” said Kimberly Rotter, a personal finance expert at Manilla.com. “Get used to putting money aside regularly, or you'll struggle later in life. It's not the amount you save that matters, but the years your money is permitted to grow.” With the soaring costs of college, you’ll need to save several hundred dollars a month to be able to accumulate enough to foot the bill for a four-year degree.
Total one-year cost of saving $200 per month: $2,400
As an expectant mother, your future child’s health is your top priority. Keep money from getting in the way of that by digging up a list of doctors that are on your insurance plan, and find out how you need to adjust your plan to insure your child. Some companies have plan options with higher rates and different deductible levels for individuals, individuals with spouses, and family plans. You should also check into coverage for your hospital costs, prenatal care, baby checkups, and vaccinations, as plans will typically cover 25 to 90 percent of the costs.
The newly-enacted Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, provides insurance for those who aren't eligible via work or their spouse. Though plans vary by state, they generally cover 60 to 90 percent off the total average cost of care. For example, in New Jersey, a woman, her husband, and her child would pay $1,024.58 each year for an HMO plan covering 80 percent of the total average cost of care, according to Healthcare.gov. The same plan for only two people would cost $739.78.
Total one-year cost of additional health care: $284.80
Total cost for the first year of your baby's life: $31,833.58
Maitland Greer is a money-saving contributor to The Manilla Folder and senior marketing manager of Manilla.com,a platform that helps you manage your finances, utilities, daily deals, travel and rewards programs, and subscriptions—all in one place.Maitland is also a regular contributor to Yahoo! Finance,Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, and other major sites.
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