How Much Does it Cost to Have A Baby?
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Having a baby is one of the most rewarding things that you can do and it’s definitely an incredibly satisfying experience to watch your child grow and develop. Having your first child is a once in a lifetime opportunity and new parents usually want to make sure they’re doing everything the right way.
That being said, having a baby is also definitely not one of the most cost-effective decisions that you can make. If you’re considering having a baby, its important to make sure you have a strong plan in place to accommodate all of the expenses associated with having a baby. The expenses technically start during pregnancy and don’t let up for at least 18 years.
NOTE: Having a baby is an extremely personal decision and this article isn’t meant to talk you out of doing that! We just want to highlight some of the expenses that come along with a child.
The Cost of Childbirth
The costs of having a child start with a bang because childbirth is an incredibly expensive process (we were going to include potential expenses during the 9-month pregnancy in this article but thought that might be reaching so we’ll start at childbirth).
According to Business Insider, the average cost to have a baby in the United States is over $10,000 and can be as high as $30,000 when factoring in the care provided before and after pregnancy. Of course, this number can vary drastically depending on the type of health insurance that you have and you will (hopefully) only be responsible for a fraction of that while your insurance covers the rest.
However, insurance can sometimes be unpredictable and even deductibles and co-pays can add up to thousands of dollars. The Atlantic pointed out that the cost to have a baby is more than the median American woman makes in a month.
The numbers in this section can vary drastically depending on your saviness with things like cooking at home, saving, and budgeting. To get a sense for how much it costs to raise a child, just envision a week of your future life. In the near future, instead of just being responsible for yourself and your own expenses, you’ll have responsibility for:
Another mouth that needs to be fed three times a day.
New clothes as they grow.
Fun costs (birthday parties, trips to the movies, vacations, etc.)
The potential need for a bigger house/apartment
Although these might all be relatively small expense by themselves, they can definitely add up. The US Department Of Agriculture did a study in 2017 and determined that the total cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 is a whopping $233,610. They also found that parents spend about 9%-22% of their total income on childcare.
Using this statistic, a good idea might be to practice setting aside 20% of your income for a few months. If you can comfortably live without 20% of your income then you should be fine when the additional expenses associated with childcare come around.
Of course, college tuition isn’t a required expense for parents. However, if you have a child and want the best for them then you probably want to do your best to send them to some type of higher education. Here is a breakdown of the average costs for tuition (according to CollegeData.com):
$26,590 - Average cost of attendance for a public school
$53,980 - Average cost of attendance for a private school
Keep in mind that these prices are just the cost of attendance for one year of school and it generally takes 4 years to get a degree. There are also other costs to consider like the housing, flights back and forth (if the school is far away), and supplies.
Ideally, scholarships and grants would pay for as much of this as possible but even if half of the average cost is covered it still leaves a significant portion out of pocket for families.
The last main expense that we want to talk about when having a baby is the cost of your time. Now that you’re a parent, the main bulk of your time will be spent caring for and raising the child. This is especially true for the first few years before they start school. While the time spent raising your child is by no means wasted (it’s incredibly fulfilling) the fact is that it will leave you with less time for other things.
Some of the activities that will be harder to get to while you’re raising a child are:
Dedicating time to progressing your career.
Starting any new businesses or side hustles.
Pursuing higher education for yourself.
Starting new hobbies and dedicating time to practicing them.
If you’re an hourly worker, your earning potential can take a hit because you can’t dedicate as many hours to working.
To sum it up, there are definitely a significant number of costs associated with having a baby. It’s important to remember that raising a child is (at least) an 18-year commitment where you will be responsible for caring the for child. That doesn’t mean that it’s a bad decision to have a child, it’s just important to make sure you’re in a good place financially and have a solid plan in place.
We hope that you’ve found this article valuable when it comes to understanding the costs associated with having a baby. If you’re interested in reading more, please subscribe below to get alerted of new articles about personal finance as we write them.