It’s incredibly important that you plan ahead before growing your family.
It should come as no surprise that raising children comes with a hefty price tag.
- Cost of Raising a Child
In 2017 the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that the average cost of raising just one child from birth until they are 17 is about $233,610. If you adjust it for inflation, that figure adds up to $284,570. This gigantic figure accounts for housing, food, transportation, healthcare, childcare, clothing, personal care items, and entertainment. If you want to look at it percentage-wise, parents are spending between 9% and 22% of their total income on childcare.
The good news is that child-raising expenses are subject to economies of scale and will decline with each additional child you may have. Your kids can share a bedroom, clothing and toys are handed down and older children can babysit younger ones.
The bad news is the college isn’t included in this figure. A college education is by far the biggest expense a parent will face. An average annual cost of a public four-year college education will cost a student $21,950 with this figure more than doubling for private colleges.
2. Budgeting Tips for Your Newborn
Becoming a parent is exciting and joyful, but a little bit of panic is normal, particularly when you think about the baby budget. You still need to pay for your rent, your Duke Energy utility costs, meet your debt repayments and put money aside for retirement, but you will need to factor in diapers, baby equipment such as a stroller, among a ton of other expenses.
Determine your priorities
After you have a list of everything you’ll need, you also need to see if you’ll need help after birth. Many hospitals have feeding specialists or lactation consultants who can help you get started nursing or bottle-feeding. Nurses also are a great resource to show you how to hold, burp, change, and care for your baby. Odds are relatives and your family will want to help too so you can avoid the cost of hiring someone.
Practice a minimalistic lifestyle before the due date
Your income might change after having a child. One parent might take some unpaid maternity or paternity leave or leave work entirely. Practice living on this lower-income before your due date to get accustomed and make it less painful if you need to live on a lower income.
Formulas and diapers won’t last forever. But, as these expenses fall off, new ones will take their place such as dancing lessons. Expect changing expenses, try to buy second-hand whatever you can, and just shop around for everything you can as it’ll be useful to save money aside wherever you can. You also need to prepare for situations where there just isn’t enough and find new ways to earn money either by downgrading, asking for a raise, looking for a better-paid job, refinancing your loan, comparison shopping for providers, and eliminating unnecessary costs such as unused subscriptions.
3. Newborn Guide 101
A few simple tips can help even the most nervous first-time parents feel confident about caring for a newborn. Besides learning to live sleep-deprived and how to make your baby burp, there are a few other basics you need to master.
Wash your hands
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the importance of washing our hands often.
Bonding and soothing are probably the best parts of caring for a newborn. For infants, this enables their emotional growth as the touch tells them they are safe. Children thrive from parents who love them unconditionally. Learning how to massage your baby can be a wonderful experience for both of you that will also enhance bonding and help soothe cramps. Babies usually love talking, singing, cooing, and listening to your music.
Whether you decide to use cloth or disposable diapers, your little one will dirty diapers about 10 times a day, or about 70 times a week. There is also a new trend of avoiding diapers altogether through elimination communication as mums want to avoid rashes and chemicals altogether while being more environment-friendly. But you’ll still need an ointment, wipes, and a lot of patience until you learn to communicate with your bundle of joy.
Before your baby’s umbilical cord falls off and it heals, you’ll only be giving your baby a sponge bath. After that, you’ll learn to bathe your baby two to three times a week in the first year. A nurse will teach you all about umbilical cord care and proper bathing.
TakeawayWhile the decision of whether or not to have a child should not be a financial decision, it’s crucial to consider your financial situation and be aware of the costs of raising children. Knowing these daunting figures will you to control your costs and strategize ahead of time so you can be a better parent. You’re in for a challenging ride so the best you can do is stay calm and enjoy it as much as you can. Even though you may feel anxious about handling a newborn, in a few short weeks you’ll develop a routine and feel more confident as you grow together.