Your Guide to Financial Planning for a Future Baby
Welcoming a new baby into the world is one of the most exciting moments in a parent’s life. The days leading up to birth are full of last-minute preparations, from putting the finishing touches on the nursery to stocking up on essentials like bottles, formula, and diapers.
This guide takes you through the cost of having a baby in the U.S. so you can better prepare for your little one’s arrival.
What to Consider When Budgeting
NBC reports the average yearly cost of raising a baby is approximately $15,395, adjusted for inflation from a figure found by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2015. Still, that number doesn’t account for things such as college expenses, which can easily exceed $100,000.
These numbers can sound incredibly daunting, but you can take steps to financially prepare for a baby. Consider these finances before bringing home a new baby:
Your Health Insurance Plan
You’ll add your baby to your health insurance policy, which means it’s a good idea to review your policy in the calm before your baby arrives. If you check your policy early on, you’ll have adequate time to ask questions and start saving for any out-of-pocket expenses you might have to cover in changing your plan.
Family and friends will likely want to help by purchasing items on your baby registry such as diapers, strollers, toys, and clothing. Consider your creating your registry early in your pregnancy — doing so can help you cut down on pre-baby expenses.
New Furniture and Accessories
You need many furnishings for your baby’s new nursery. Items might include a crib, a bouncer, a rocking chair, or a changing table. You may want to furnish the room with decorations, toys, and a fresh coat of paint.
Their Future Education
College might seem a long way away while you’re expecting, but don’t be fooled — those 18 years will creep up on you! It’s never too early to start saving, and you can do so by creating a 529 plan. A 529 is a tax-advantaged savings plan that encourages savings for future education costs.
Typically, the earlier you start investing in your 529 account, the more money it will make. However, it could lose value as well, so give yourself time to read your 529 statement in its entirety.
First Year of Baby Expenses
Having a baby comes with many expenses in the months following your baby’s arrival. Consider these expenses during their first year:
Hospital Delivery Costs
Many people fail to realize the costs of baby delivery. The cost varies widely based on several factors, such as health insurance, location, and your general health condition. Costs also vary by state, from over $29,000 in New Jersey to just under $9,000 in Nebraska. This price includes equipment charges for the baby and the mother and delivery costs not covered by insurance.
You also want to consider the monthly expenses associated with welcoming a new baby. These costs include things like diapers, baby formula, wipes, and bottles. Set aside money in your monthly budget to replenish these supplies and essentials.
When your baby transitions from breast milk or formula to food, you’ll need to adjust your budget to account for the shift. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend parents start introducing baby food once their little one reaches about 6 months.
Your baby’s first year is a time full of growth that will make you ask where the time went. From birth to 6 months, you can expect your baby to grow up to 1 inch per month and gain between 5 and 7 ounces per week. They will also likely double their birth weight by the time they are 5 months old. With this in mind, you’ll need to continuously buy clothes in the first year to keep up with your baby’s growth!
Ongoing Baby and Toddler Budgeting
These expenses will be present throughout your baby’s toddler years:
Daycare and Preschool Expenses
Once your baby is 2 or 3 years old, you may start sending them to daycare or preschool. According to a survey conducted by Care.com, the average price of childcare or daycare was $226 per week in 2021. Although prices might be higher or lower based on location, the school, or your child’s age, daycare prices can add up quickly.
Set aside money to pay for childcare in your child’s early years if that option works best with your lifestyle. You’ll likely see some savings if you or your partner can stay home with your baby, but neither option is inherently better than the other. It’s all about what works best for you and your family.
New Clothes and Furniture
You’ll also need to invest in new clothes for your growing baby, especially as they become toddlers. Gone will be the days of onesies. In will come T-shirts, dresses, and pants!
Additionally, as your baby grows, they’ll outgrow their crib and need a bigger bed. You also might need new furniture like a dresser to hold your child’s new clothes.
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