Don’t Make the Mistake of NOT Budgeting for Baby

The arrival of a new baby is always exciting. It’s also always expensive, and budgeting for a baby can feel overwhelming.

A new little bundle of joy can mean a huge bundle of new expenses. Budgeting will keep you from panicking when those expenses suddenly arise!

The United States Department of Agriculture conducts an annual study on the average expenditure on children and they found that the cost of a child is usually between $10,000 and $25,000 a year. This varies on the age of the child and the income level of the parents but remains expensive regardless of your socioeconomic status.

This Baby Cost Calculator is a great tool for wrapping your head around what needs budgeting.

New parents often learn early on that everything costs much more than they anticipated. You can count on spending close to $50 per week on food and diapers. Add that to childcare, foreseen and unforeseen medical expenses and things can quickly start to add up. Most families will have at least one member who takes some extra time off, decreasing your income.

Planning now can alleviate some of these stresses. Although expensive it’s definitely not impossible to pay for a new child with some simple budgeting.

Here are expenses you’re sure to pay, and should begin to plan for:

Medical bills

Even with insurance, maternity care (Prenatal, labor, postpartum) can cost around $450 – $550 dollars. That’s straight out of your pocket! Without insurance, you may spend as much as $7500 – $11,000! Make sure to review your policy and find out what you will end up paying. Don’t forget the co-pays that will show up later in the first year for checkups and immunizations–those add up, too.


A typical setup of a crib and/or bassinet, crib mattress, basic bedding, and blankets changing table, dresser, and baby monitors will set you back, at least, $700-$1100. If you’re going high-end, you may want to set aside a few thousand dollars when budgeting for the nursery.

Keep in mind, a nursery is not a necessity

“In the majority of non-Western societies, babies sleep with their parents–if not in the bed, then in the same room. So do young children. It is only in industrialized Western countries that sleep has become a compartmentalized, private affair.” // InCultureParent

Don’t feel pressured into having a nursery, or moving into a bigger place (and stretching your finances even tighter!) just to have one. The fact is, bed- and room-sharing is how it’s been done for hundreds of thousands of years. Instead, put off those expenses, save that money, and then get a bigger place when you’re ready for baby #2!


Gift registries can do wonders here. Also, friends and consignment shops can be a godsend since babies grow so fast. It can be rather easy to find quality, barely used items. The average cost for baby clothes is about $60 a month for the first year.


budgeting for diapers

Your baby will use more than 2,500 diapers in their first year! Get ready to start budgeting for a lot of expensive poop.  At least $550 for disposables that first year. Cloth diapers from a diaper service are comparable; if you buy and wash your own, you’ll save quite a bit. A diaper service can cost you about $75/month, and doing the washing of cloth diapers yourself is more around $20/month. Wipes will add another $15-$30/month.


A car seat will set you back $100 to $350. A strong and durable stroller can range anywhere from $75-$1000 depending on your needs. Then you’ll need a diaper bag and baby carrier. A smart budget would be about $500 for mobility needs.


Feeding baby in the first year provides a whole set of costs and challenges. Good luck finding the right bottle! You’ll need bottles and nipples, burp cloths, bibs, and a highchair. That’s another $200 or more.

Breastfeeding offers health and cost-saving benefits, as well as an unforgettable bonding experience, but it’s not available to everyone. While breastfeeding you’ll need to invest in bras and a pump. Expect to pay about $175 for quality nursing gear.

A year’s worth of formula can range from $1,2500 to $2,000 or more, and depends greatly on the brand. 


If you both continue to work after birth, the biggest budgeting challenge ahead of you is definitely child care. The average price for full-time daycare can be as high as $15,000 in some areas; in-home care can be anywhere between $200 and $1000 per week. These numbers will fluctuate greatly depending on where you live and the age of your child. Expect to spend an average of $7,000 a year on care for your baby. But again, that number may get much, much higher.


Bouncy seats, swings,  play mats, etc. This can range quite a bit on product quality and your penchant for adorable items. Expect to spend about $200 – $400 the first year.

Their Future

Start saving for college now. The price continues to rise in America and it’s becoming more and more important. There are numerous types of savings plans banks offer for this exact purpose. Saving $50 per month from the day a child’s born could give you $20,000 by the time he or she turns 17, assuming a 7% return on investment. – from Check out that article here

This all may seem a bit overwhelming, but you can do it! Utilize the cost calculator above, start planning now, and your budget will quickly start to make sense.

Good luck parents!

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