WANT A BABY?

www.TheCitizensWhoCare.org

How Much Does It Really Cost to Have a Baby?
Where'd All the Money Go?
Hey, Big Spender!
Sweating the Small Stuff
And Baby Makes Stress
Baby Budgeting, Then and Now
How They Manage
Smarter with the Second
Facing a Scary Surprise
How much does it cost to raise a child?
What is included in the cost of raising a child report?
What is not included?
How much does raising a child cost ME?
11 Step Program for those thinking of having kids
Resources

How Much Does It Really Cost to Have a Baby?

A lot more than you think, according to results from our survey.

Special Offer Everybody knows that having a child puts a dent in your family finances, but not everybody plans for it. What's worse, even those who do plan have lots of misperceptions about just how big an impact a little baby can have, according to a survey of 1,000 new and expectant parents commissioned by Redbook and VISA. And in this case, what you don't know can hurt you: Financial strain only compounds the emotional challenges a newborn brings to a household. "The smartest thing you can do is sit down before you have your baby and map out a financial plan," says Rosetta Jones, a vice president at VISA USA, which provides a baby budgeting calculator at practicalmoneyskills.com . Unfortunately, fewer than half of expectant parents surveyed even bothered to create a new budget that includes expenses for their baby. Or babies. As of 2013, twins accounted for about 3 in 100 births in the United States. And 1 in 837 births were triplets or higher order multiples. Between 1980 and 2009, the birth rate for twins rose by about 76 percent and has remained about the same since then.

Read on to learn about other money mistakes new parents make the most — and what you can do to avoid them.

Where'd All the Money Go?

76% of expectant parents say they feel financially prepared for having a baby — but 41% of new parents admit that, in hindsight, they were not as financially prepared as they thought.

Why the huge discrepancy? It turns out there's a major financial roadblock that expectant parents often fail to account for: hospital bills. One in four new parents ended up spending more than $2,000 on out-of-pocket costs for services associated with a normal delivery — costs that they thought would be covered by insurance. On average, expectant parents are allotting just $776 to cover out-of-pocket delivery costs.

Call your insurance company to find out exactly what will be covered for your delivery. And make sure you have the right idea about postdelivery costs too: Log on to the Internet to see what you could be paying for day care, a crib, a car seat, a stroller — even baby wipes, formula and diapers (at eight a day for newborns, they add up fast!). Then tally up what your costs will likely be, factoring in your family's lost income due to maternity and paternity leave. But don't forget — you'll have new savings, too, since you'll be going out a lot less once the baby arrives! "New parents don't spend on personal indulgences the way they used to," says Brette McWhorter Sember, author of Your Practical Pregnancy Planner. "These savings bring some balance to the enormous new costs."

Hey, Big Spender!

Nearly half of new parents say they spent more money than necessary on a car seat; 36% overspent on strollers; about 25% went overboard on baby photos, a crib and clothing.

All new parents say they won't lavish their child with toys and clothes. But many respondents to our survey did just that. And you can't really blame them. "There's been a huge surge in luxury items for babies," says Tamara Draut, author of Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead. "No matter what a couple's financial status is, they feel pressure to buy these things — the bar has been raised for everybody."

How can you fight the urge to splurge? Let someone else do it for you. If you've really got to have that $300 stroller, put it on your gift registry. Expectant parents in our survey were counting on their friends and family to buy 46 percent of their baby's first year of clothes, 40 percent of toys and 39 percent of baby-care items as gifts. Another alternative: Hit thrift stores or eBay to find what you want, albeit used. Miriam Nunberg, a 41-year-old mother of two from Brooklyn, scours yard sales for toys and tricycles. "People get rid of this stuff when their babies grow out of them and you can buy them for almost nothing," she says. Another tactic: Borrow. Ask your friends and family for hand-me-down clothes, used toys and gear.

Sweating the Small Stuff

48% of expectant parents think that managing everyday expenses will be their biggest financial worry, but only a third of new parents feel the same way.

Even though expectant parents tend to underestimate the overall financial impact of having a baby, they also overestimate the cost of daily expenses. Expectant parents figure on spending an average of $120 a month on diapers; new parents actually spend half that. What gives? New parents are savvier shoppers: Three-fourths of them shop for baby items at discount retailers, compared with only half of expectant parents. It makes sense: A Consumer Reports comparison recently found that some store-brand diapers work just as well as brand-name ones and cost a lot less — assuming you change six diapers a day, you'd save about $220 a year.

The best news about basic baby costs: "Daily baby expenses, such as for food, diapers and wipes, actually haven't gone up dramatically over the years," says Alan Fields, coauthor of the shopping guide Baby Bargains.

And Baby Makes Stress

36% of expectant parents anticipate that tension in their relationship will increase after their baby's birth. Watch out: Nearly half of new parents found that to be the case.

Of course, not getting any sleep and dealing with a crying baby don't help matters, but the added financial responsibilities also put a lot of added strain on relationships: Most new parents say baby expenses have increased their stress level, and the majority of expectant parents predict that they'll be in the same boat. In addition to the simple strain of all the new costs, there's uncertainty and disagreement as to what's really necessary — a sure formula for conflict. And once the baby arrives, couples tend to work together less on their finances. In our survey, the percentage of couples who split their family's financial management equally dropped from 44 percent before the baby was born to 32 percent after the baby's arrival. Who's taking on the added responsibility? Mom! Half of new mothers report that they handle the family money, up from 37 percent prior to the baby's birth.

"The combination of having a kid and all the financial pressures that involves, especially when one parent stays home for a while, naturally leads to relationship stress," says David Bach, author of Smart Couples Finish Rich. What can you do to cut down on the stress? Richard Ryan, a psychology professor at the University of Rochester, advises couples to keep one concept in mind: teamwork. Whether it's a big-impact issue like a budget or a small one like buying a toy, keep each other in the loop and discuss concerns openly. "The goal is to focus on agreement," says Ryan. That's not easy to do, but according to our survey, couples believe they can make it work: The majority of new and expectant parents say they are prepared to tackle any challenge. And that mutual optimism is money in the bank.

Baby Budgeting, Then and Now

Surprise — the prices on many baby items have gone down in the last decade. (1994 prices have been adjusted for inflation.)

.

1994
2005

Huggies 100 count Step 1 diapers

$19.45
$13.00

336 count Pampers Baby Fresh Wipes

$10.22
$7.70

16-oz. can of name-brand formula at grocery store

$10.17
$17.60

Crib

$196
$220

Average cost of first year's layette

$653
$500

How They Manage

The Bargain Hunters

•Kam Aures, 31, a stay-at-home mom, and T.J. Aures, 29, a corrections officer, Boulder Junction, WI - Parents of Cayden, 18 months

Kam and T.J. were both raised by stay-at-home moms and wanted the same experience for Cayden. So they saved for months before Kam even got pregnant. Once she did, she combed library sales for books and garage sales for clothing. "I've found Ralph Lauren outfits for a dollar," she says. Kam nursed Cayden for about nine months, then got three months of free formula by using coupons. The Aureses have kept their daily expenses low, so they can afford to splurge now and then. "Sometimes there's a really cute outfit that you just can't pass up," says Kam.

Caught Off Guard

• Lisa Hazen, 34, a Web designer, and Shawn Hazen, 32, an art director, Oakland

• Parents of Finn, 4 months

The Hazens knew a baby meant all kinds of new expenses, but they were still surprised: "Living in the San Francisco Bay area, I've been shocked by how expensive everything is for a baby," Lisa says. "Child care is going to cost $1,000 a month, even with me going back to work only three days a week." The Hazens have curtailed dinners out and other expenses, but they're still just scraping by. "We're trying to cut wherever we can," says Lisa.

Smarter with the Second

Caroline Morris, 35, a communications manager, and Andrew Morris, 38, a management consultant, Atlanta Parents of Lindsay, 3, and Claire, 7 months

The Morrises spent hundreds of dollars on high chairs, bouncy seats and other gear for Lindsay. "When you're a first-time mom, you just don't know what will work when you have a screaming baby," says Caroline. But once she realized that every toy looked battered within a few days, Caroline decided to shop at consignment stores. With Claire, the Morrises were money-conscious from the get-go, shopping at Costco for store-brand diapers. Says Caroline, "The child doesn't know the difference and it's usually just as good."

Facing a Scary Surprise

Devona Burt, 30, a stay-at-home mom and student, and Charlie Burt, 34, a construction manager, Houston, TX - Parents of Byson, 15 months

Devona and Charlie Burt thought they were financially prepared for their baby — they even had $4,000 saved for baby-related expenses. But Byson was delivered prematurely, and the Burts were hit with, among other bills, $200 in monthly insurance co-payments and $45 a week for hospital parking. "Our savings were completely wiped out," says Devona. Byson's health is improving, she says, a blessing that offsets any financial setback.

The 10-Year Plan
Here's what you can expect your annual kid expenses to be through
your child's 10th birthday, depending on your income.
Child's Age Household Income
.
< $41,700
$41,700 to $70,200
>$70,201
<1
$7,040
$9,840
$14,620
1
7,250
10,140
15,070
3
7,890
11,070
16,370
5
8,380
11,760
17,380
10
9,750
13,380
19,540
10 yrs
$88,870
$124,440
$183,940
18 yrs*
$118,590
$250,260
$250,260
18 yrs**
$124,800
$170,460
$249,180

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture *-Single-parent family; **-Dual-parent family

Source: www.redbookmag.com/money-career/tips-advice/money-baby-cost and The Cost of Raising Children 0-18

 

How much does it cost to raise a child?

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently came out with its latest figures on the cost of raising a child. The title should have read “How to scare the heck out of any parents-to-be”. Want to know the sticker price of that cutie pie? $286,050. That would be for the middle income families. If you are a “high” income family (read: earn more than $98000 before tax) the cost of raising a kid born in 2009 would be $475,680!!! Half a million for one kid? That is not even including college costs. If I include college and have 2 kids, it could be more than a million dollars! Is it just me or does this amount sound really high? Lets see what is included in this amount and what is not.

What is included in the cost of raising a child report?

The USDA survey had 7 categories

1. Housing consisting of shelter, utilities, house furnishings and equipment

2. Food expenses consisting of food and nonalcoholic beverages purchased at the grocery, convenience, and specialty stores, dining at restaurants and household expenditures on school meals.

3. Transportation expenses consist of the monthly payments on vehicle loans, down payments, gasoline and motor oil, maintenance and repairs, insurance, and public transportation(including airline fares).

4. Clothing expenses consist of children’s apparel such as diapers, shirts, pants, dresses, and suits; footwear; and clothing services such as dry cleaning, alterations, and repair.

5. Health care expenses consist of medical and dental services not covered by insurance, prescription drugs and medical supplies not covered by insurance, and health insurance premiums not paid by an employer or other organization. Medical services include those related to physical and mental health.

6. Child care and education expenses consist of day care tuition and supplies; baby-sitting; and elementary and high school tuition, books, fees, and supplies. Books, fees, and supplies may be for private or public schools.

7. Miscellaneous expenses consist of personal care items, entertainment and reading materials.

Since 1960, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided estimates of expenditures on children from birth through age 17. Here is a chart comparing the expenses in 1960 and 2009.

The major change comes from Child care and education (increasing from 2% to 17%).

What is not included?

This survey doesn’t include a few things which doesn’t seem right to me.
  • Cost of college : Or at least the money many parents start setting aside for education when their little ones are still in diapers. I am looking into 529s now, I don’t even have a kid.
  • Lost income or career opportunities : Lot of parents decide to have one stay at home parent to raise the kid.
  • Life insurance : I don’t have life insurance yet but I plan to get a term life as soon I have a kid, so I feel this should be included. If I am alone I won’t be buying life insurance for myself.
  • Tax benefits : Don’t parents get some kind of tax benefits?
  • Cost of living : According to the survey child care (day care) costs around $5000 per year. But I know for a fact that it costs around $1000 a month where I live.
  • Twins, triplets or more

How much does raising a child cost ME?

USDA also provides a handy calculator to figure out how much it will cost you to raise your child. Living in CA, it will cost me an extra $2000 to raise a kid every year than the national average. Just for fun I decided to enter a couple of more kids. If I have 3 kids, I will spend $832,728 over the next 17 years! That is without college costs. If I include that I am easily looking at $1+ million. Oh my!

I understand this is a very personal issue. For example I don’t think it will cost the amount of money they quote in the following categories :

  • Housing : The survey says you will have to move to a bigger home for each child. I plan to live in a modest home and that won’t change whether I have a kid or not. When I buy a home, I will make sure that it is in a decent school district even though I don’t have a kid right now.
  • Food : I do plan our meals and grocery shopping, so I might save a chunk on food expenses.
  • Transportation : I am not a parent yet, but at least until I have to start driving a lot for sporting events and such, I don’t see why I will spend $3380 for transportation. What am I missing here?
  • Health Care : I have good health care from my employer (fingers crossed) and that will continue for the kids. So except the co-pays for which I will use FSA or HSA, this won’t be a big part of our expenses.

But we will pay through the nose for the following:

  • Child care : As I mentioned my coworker pays $1050 for a shared day care situation.
  • Education : I plan to help my kids with college expenses, so I will set aside a good amount of money for their future college expense.
  • Sports and other extra curricular activities : If my kids are interested in sports or music or anything, I will encourage them as much as possible and pay for it.

I understand whether to have a kid or not is not purely a financial decision. There is no denying that they are going to cost money. A lot of money. There are other non financial concerns and my husband and I are committed to giving them the best possible life that we can afford. But these kinds of surveys and big numbers do scare me. I will have to create my own spreadsheet and run some numbers for my family and should probably try the stay-at-home calculator as well.

I am asking parents, what is the cost of raising a child? Are their numbers accurate? Or are they too low? Too high? Are you surprised by how much it costs to raise a child? What are your biggest expenses? What other categories that are not included here should I be aware of?

11 Step Program for those thinking of having kids

If you're still wanting to have kids before 25 or 30, complete this experiment.

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...

1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...

1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag of potatoes weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.

1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.

1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, Spounge Bob Square Pants, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent! But, do us a favor. Wait until you can afford to take care of a child for at least 18 years.

Resources

1. U.S. Department of Agriculture report on cost of raising a child
2. Calculator for cost of raising a child
3. Stay-at-home calculator
4. Most recent Child care cost by state

Source: www.wealthinformatics.com/2010/09/27/cost-of-raising-a-child/

 
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