Monthly cost of babies :)

vespitovespito Posts: 137Member
edited December 2012 in Personal Finance
Hi all,

My wife and I are (still) thinking about having a baby. We are freaked out financially by the idea. One thing I would like to do is create a new category in our budget so we can get used to the decline in available dollars to spend. So, this brings me to the question - and I know that answers will vary greatly - to the extent possible, can you put an average monthly cost on the first 1 - 2 years of having a baby. This excludes medical costs.

My hope is that by acclimating ourselves to a new 'financial reality', once a baby comes along the change won't be a shock to us. Plus, we can use the money already saved in the baby category to partially offset medical and one time purchases (I have decent insurance with a cap on how much we will be responsible for).

Some info - We rent and live in the bay area (CA). My wife will be returning to work as will I. I *may* be able to work from home on occasion, or change my hours to start earlier / later.

One plus - we live in a 2 unit building with very close friends in the apt. below - they are thinking of kids too. Hopefully we can combine forces and nanny share, bulk buying share, etc. And yes, I know the stars will have to align timing wise for this to happen.
Post edited by Unknown User on


  • AnnaGraceAnnaGrace Posts: 104Member
    As you say, lots of variables. I can tell you what it meant for our budget, living in the Atlanta area:

    monthly expenses
    food: nominal. I made our baby food, way cheaper and better (my opinion) than jars. Not much of a hassle to do, either. Only necessary until baby is 1, then just your regular groceries plus 15-20 for toddler specific things like crackers
    formula: breastfeeding obviously cheaper, but you need a pump, bags, and some other accessories. If you do formula, 50-60 at the height of baby needing it
    diapers: 45 for Pampers (my kids got rashes from less expensive brands)
    wipes: 15
    childcare: 1500 per child, we had a nanny. Includes taxes. Infant care in metro areas are not much less expensive, I found
    clothes: 20
    misc: 50

    We found that we just spent a whole lot less on ourselves than we did before (no need to fund that entertainment category cause you are too tired to go out anyway!), and sacrificed saving/debt payoff priorities while the kids needed childcare.

    I think it is great you are planning early! It really isn't a huge shock to the budget - they are expensive, but you get through it :)

  • jessiebirdjessiebird Posts: 4,911Member, Beta Tester
    I guess the biggest costs are diapers, child care, and the spending that comes from having very little free time/being exhausted. So you may find yourself ordering takeout more than you think. As far as working from home goes, don't count on it as an alternative to child care; small children require a lot of attention and they don't get things like "deadlines."

    I think one of the biggest adjustments people fail to plan for is the fact that the time you once could devote to working extra hours kind of evaporates, either because you are taking care of a baby or are too tired to muster up the energy. So while that is not a direct cost, it affects your income.

    And daycare is expensive. You probably already have quotes on that. We live in a rural area where prices are relatively low, but full time infant child care is around $300 a week, give or take.

    Of course there are the one-time expenses like cribs and strollers and carseats such but between shower gifts and hand-me-downs you might be able to squeak by.

    It's overwhelming to contemplate but once you have a baby there's a new normal and you will adjust quickly and forget what it was ever like to have disposable income. :lol: Kidding, I'm kidding.

    Sort of.
  • tindelsurftindelsurf Posts: 248Member
    We were spending $160 a week on infant care for my daughter - we did the math, and it wasn't too much of a hit to have mom stay home. I wish I was doing YNAB before we had the baby - then I could tell you exactly, but I'm estimating we spent about $250 a week on our 2.5 year old (including childcare, additional insurance, food, formula, and diapers)

    Don't forget insurance - my premium doubled the day she was born.

    Giving birth was nothing to sneeze at either - we were somewhere around 5G's out-of-pocket - not including premiums. The bill was somewhere around $50k for wife and kid due to complications.
  • vespitovespito Posts: 137Member
    Thanks everyone for the replies. My wife loves her job (mostly) so we'll both be working after. Right now I've added a "baby" category and moved $300/month into it. I'm also working on identifying where the day care will come from.

    I should be getting a bonus (once a year thing) towards July, which I'll sock away towards day care. Between that and never taking a vacation or eating, we should be fine :D.

    Honestly, I think we will be able to trim, scrimp and save to afford the day care. At least that is what I'm telling myself (and my YNAB budget seems to agree although it will be tight).

    The hope is to not lower my 401k contributions or dip into savings; I'd also like to start an education fund, but just like $25/month.

    Now if I can just figure out how to afford a 2 bedroom apartment in SF, that would be something.

    What this all comes down to is minimizing the financial stress to ourselves/marriage as much as possible. I grew up in a household with a lot of stress and fights about money, so I'd like to change that for my little one(s) as well as for me and my wife.

    Tindelsurf - which type of insurance? Life insurance? That was something I was not expecting.

    AnnaGrace - hope to make our own baby food, that's the plan anyway

    Jessiebird - good point about being too tired to cook - right now I cook almost every night. Looks like our eating out/entertainment budget will need some bulking up, although like AnnaGrace said, we'll probably be too tired to go out.
  • MRKlinkMRKlink Posts: 799Member, Beta Tester
    I've been checking around for this info too, since we have 6 months to go! :) Thanks for the responses.

    If I didn't have a job that only has meetings in the evening when DH is home, I would quit working. Though it will be interesting for me to figure out when I'm going to do the work that I currently go into the office for -- not required to be in the office, but it's more motivating to be there then at home. I don't make enough money to justify paying for childcare all the time, but I do love my job. I don't know what's going to happen when DH is on a business trip though. An occasional sitter will have to do. We have family and friends nearby that I am hoping will be willing to babysit.

    I am estimating somewhere around 3k for delivery hospital bill, so I'm praying there will be no complications. I will have to check my max out-of-pocket for the year on that too, hmm. I also don't get paid for maternity leave, so we're working on saving some extra for that too. I have no idea how much time to take off yet! It makes me thankful that DH has a good job. I'll have to check on the health insurance thing. I really have NO idea how much extra it will cost. Right now, we pay $40/month for the two of us for the high deductible plan, so I can't imagine it's going to be a terribly huge expense to add a kid.

    I've been looking into the cloth diapering thing, since this is our first kid, and we want a few more. It seems like a cheaper long-term cost, but I am not quite sure I'd keep up with the laundry well enough for it either. It seems like a lot of work, and DH doesn't really like the idea. But there's a store here that also holds some classes about cloth diapering, so maybe I'll try to attend one of those and see how it goes.

    We already have some hand-me-down larger stuff, like a stroller and car seat from DH's sister (though it might be nice to have newer ones). So we mostly just need a crib, and hopefully we can get people to chip in for one as a gift. My sister has a changing table she's willing to let us have too (even though I would've just used a dresser with a pad otherwise). Because DH & I both lived alone for 5+ years before we met and got married, we have the rest of the bedroom furniture we need. (Really.... there's 3 twin beds dismantled in our basement, 2 tall dressers, 1 short/long dresser, and a desk. Two of the twin beds, the desk, and one of each type of dresser are the bedroom set I grew up with, and it's been passed down the family. It's gorgeous cherry furniture, but it could probably use some refinishing/restoring sometime in the future!)

    I'm hoping we can be decently efficient cost-wise, but we'll see! I am glad you pointed out the ordering take-out thing too Jessie. I can definitely see us doing that, and it's not something I was really planning for yet. I'd better work some extra takeout money into the budget. Though, I'm sure for the first 2 weeks, we'll have some meals from church people for the freezer (one of the side-benefits of going to a church!). I might try to make some freezer meals ahead of time too.

    Thanks for giving me some things to think about!
  • blackdiamondblackdiamond Posts: 2,462Member, Beta Tester
    Maybe it's a WA thing (we obviously do things a bit differently here), but our medical expenses for child birth are covered 100%. I think it's a law for insurance to cover it, but don't know how it works without insurance.

    The real expense is purchasing the stuff required to go with a baby and a lot of this is more of a want than a true need. My parents handled two kids in a small car and we sometimes struggle with a full size SUV and only have one kid (until next Friday). If you focus on your needs and then looks at consignment shops you can save a lot of money. My wife had purchased almost all of our larger stuff at consignment shops.

    Once the kid arrives you'll be going out a lot less so for a while this seemed to offset the new expenses for us. Once we made the transition from breast feeding to forumula expenses went up a bit and then back down with the transition to regular milk. Diapers cost money, but it hasn't felt as expensive to me as I thought it would. We do bulk from Costco and look for deals..
  • jessiebirdjessiebird Posts: 4,911Member, Beta Tester
    Diapers cost money, but it hasn't felt as expensive to me as I thought it would. We do bulk from Costco and look for deals..

    It's been over a decade since I bought them but I really used to like Kirkland diapers.
  • tindelsurftindelsurf Posts: 248Member
    vespito wrote:
    Tindelsurf - which type of insurance? Life insurance? That was something I was not expecting.

    I was thinking medical insurance - Our premium went from ~$25 a week to ~$45 a week the second she was born. And next year it's going up to $85 a week! Ugh.

    As far as life insurance - Term Life for a child is super cheap... don't spend more than $150/year for a $25k plan. You just need enough insurance to bury them in the case that your worst nightmare happens, which I sincerely hope doesn't happen to you. I'm really not trying to be morbid - that's not the intent anyway. The intent is to get you to think about it.

    Oh, and I forgot to congratulate you - so congrats - it's the beginning of your life... you'll find out what I mean.

    You also need a will in case something happens to you and your wife with specific instructions for the placement of your child. If you don't, then who knows what will happen, and the laws are different in every state!
  • vespitovespito Posts: 137Member
    Thanks everyone for the comments!
  • AmelieAmelie Posts: 1Member
    I also live in the Bay Area and have two small kiddos (4 and 1). All the costs of babies pale in comparison to the cost of childcare in our area. My kids have always gone to an excellent childcare center but it's not cheap. We presently pay $1,935 for 40 hours per week in the infant room -- that's just for the baby! The big kid is another $1395. Nannies are more expensive unless you have three children. The nannies I talk to at the park make $18-20/h, plus benefits. And don't forget about taxes on the nanny.

    Diapers, formula, baby food ... peanuts. Seriously.

    And just when you get used to the cost of childcare, it's time to start figuring out where the little ones will go to school. *sigh*
  • LunaLuna Posts: 3,989Member, Beta Tester
  • brown685brown685 Posts: 754Member, Beta Tester
    Cloth Diapers can be great. They are a lot of laundry.

    A lot of it depends on how cheap you want to go with it. Diaper covers with, folded inserts (a folded cloth diaper is the insert) seems to be the cheapest way to go. And from what I understand is fairly easy. We went with fuzzy bunzs. Which are not cheap, but have worked very well.

    Some things to consider: Will the day care take children with cloth diapers? In my area they tend to insist on disposable diapers. How long do you want to go between washes? The longer you go, the more you need, and the better your containment system needs to be. I recommended having about 24 on hand, and plan on washing them every other day. This seems to have worked best for us.

  • all_smilesall_smiles Posts: 94Member
    Happy Holidays!!
    We used cloth diapers for the first year. It saved a bundle but the initial cost was higher. We used the GroVia system. Reusable shells with soaker pads that snapped in. Daily we had 2 shells going and if my baby only urinated, we could let one shell air out and use the 2nd shell with a fresh shell and switched back and forth. Breastfed babies are disgusting when it comes to #2 but we never had any blowouts. Poop definitely got on the shells but we just found a new one and carried on. Our stast was 32 or so soaker pads, and 15ish shells. We swished the really dirty soakers and shells in the toilet(a sprayer would have been nice) and did laundry with Nellies Laundry Soda very 2 days. The soakers do take time to dry so we used the dryer but during the summer we hung to dry and fluffed in the dryer. The shells were usually hung to dry (quick to dry).

    Our daughter hated being damp so we changed her a lot... it was a hassle but cheaper with cloth. We went to disposables when I went back to work because daycare didn't want cloth, but we continued to use cloth at home. We got lazy when she started to walk a lot - the diapers seemed to impeed her a bit but if we stuck with it she would have worn them to potty training. I am due in March 2013 and I plan to make a go at the cloth again. Definitely worth the initial steep learning curve - once you have the hang of it, it becomes routine and easier.

    Good Luck and sorry for the cloth diaper diatrade in your journal :)

    Other costs include clothes and formula. Most of our clothes were second hand. Up until about 2 years old, kids don't destroy their clothes they just grow out of them. Makes for great buys at consignment shops or bags of hand me downs from friends or coworkers. Formula was the big purchase every 2 weeks after my daughter decided to stop breastfeeding. Before we switched her to milk it was at least $100canadian/ month. My daughter didn't like purees(sp?) for very long so I don't recall the cost of baby food. She just ate my meal. Add some extra to your food budget for snacks(which are essential), and more fruit.

    Like others have posted secondhand items are readly available, but check to make sure they are safe and not recalled. Most of our big baby items were used and were in great condition. Lysol, bleach and vinegar were used to sanitize the occasional item(not all together :)).

    Again Good Luck and you will be well on your way by just thinking about the costs let alone preparing your budget to handle the extra costs. Life will change but change is good.

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