photo by Mommy.Megs
How can such a tiny baby
cost so much money?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, it costs about $250,000 to raise a child from birth to age 17, and that doesn't include college. A new baby costs a middle-income family up to $11,000 in the first year. Just where does that money go?
According to MSN Money, here's where it goes—and here are some ways you might be able to save:
1. Medical care. Even if your child is in perfect health, new babies need a lot of well-visit checkups and immunizations (if you're doing them). These visits can be costly, especially if you don't have insurance or your co-pay is expensive. Money-saving tip: Don't take your baby in for every little sniffle—use your judgment and check out these resources for health questions. Use doctors that are in-network; check to see if your employer offers a flexible spending plan (this allows you to pay for benefits with pre-tax dollars).
2. Maternity leave. The average policy only pays a portion of your income for a certain number of weeks. If you take a longer maternity leave it will be at no pay. Money-saving tip: To cover the cost of that lost income, plan in advance and save beforehand.
3. Child care. Depending upon where you live, these expenses can range from $5,000 a year for day care to more than $20,000 a year for a nanny. Money-saving tip: See if your employer offers a dependent-care spending account, which lets you pay for qualifying child care expenses with pretax dollars. You may also be able to claim a child care credit on your federal income tax return.
4. Diapers and wipes. The average baby goes through ten diapers a day. If you use disposable diapers, that will cost you about $2,000 by the time your baby is potty-trained. Add to that the cost of a wet wipe or two at each diaper change and that's another $1,200 a year. Money-saving tip: Use cloth diapers and launder them; make your own diaper wipes.
5. Formula and breastfeeding expenses. Formula is expensive and while breastfeeding is cheaper, you still may have to factor in the costs of buying or renting a breast pump, nursing bras, breast pads, nipple cream, etc. Money-saving tip: Use generic store-brand formula, which is cheaper but has the same exact nutrients.
6. Baby gear. Car seats, cribs, strollers, slings—it all adds up. Money-saving tip: Buy used gear (check here for info on secondhand car seats), make your own sling, check these thrifty mom blogs for sales, deals, and coupon codes. Don't buy things you don't really need—any flat surface can be a changing table.
7. Clothing and shoes. Babies outgrow clothes so fast they need a new wardrobe every few months. Money-saving tip: Buy at consignment shops, buy clothing on sale at the end of the season.
8. Baby food. Most babies start some solid foods between four and six months, and jarred food can cost hundreds of dollars a year. Money-saving tip: Make your own with these tips or put off giving your baby solids for a few months.
9. Life insurance policies and attorney's fees. Couples should make wills naming a guardian for the baby in the event of their deaths. Also, couples should take out or review life insurance policies so that each partner has the money needed to raise the child should the other one die. Money-saving tip: There's no way to get around attorney's fees, but do some comparison shopping. The money you spend now could end up helping you a lot in the long run.
Which of these things will you just do without?