No matter how much you might have planned ahead, there will still be unforeseen costs after having a baby. Reports from the US Department of Agriculture peg the cost of raising a child today at $233,610 for a middle-income family – without the price of college. Whether you have been warned ahead of time or are genuinely shocked about these expenses, an article on the financial steps to consider before having a baby by Marcus notes how parents should create a budget for both pre- and post-pregnancy expenses. This will involve adding up all the small expenses like bibs and clothing (which very quickly add up) and the potential large expenses such as childcare. Doing this as early as possible will give you time to adjust your finances before you run into any issues. You should also have dedicated savings for this fund, which you can tap into whenever necessary. Remember, however, that this should be completely separate from your retirement fund or 401(k) as you need to look after your own financial wellness as well – this will be better for both you and your child in the long run. Yet having a child is not just about preparing for the expected expenses. It is also the unexpected expenses you must be ready for, as they can hit your bank balance when you least expect it.
Emergency trips to the doctor
Regardless of how healthy your baby is, doctor's check-ups can add up, especially with emergency trips. As a new parent, you may be more inclined to seek medical help for your peace of mind. This is what we discussed on ‘Reflux in Infants – Symptoms and How to Help,’ as pediatricians always know best when it comes to diagnosing symptoms you haven’t noticed before. It’s but one example of the kind of medical expense you may unexpectedly incur.
Skyrocketing utility bills
When you bring an infant into your home, your electricity bills may skyrocket as you leave the heating on to keep your baby nestled and warm. Your other utility bills may increase too, especially as you will be staying home more often. There will be bigger loads of laundry, more lights left on, and more dishes and bottles to wash. Review your bills monthly to see if you need to be more frugal with what you use.
Mothers may run into a number of complications with breastfeeding, or may need to rush back to work, and therefore think that introducing formula milk into their baby’s diet is a sound alternative. However, NYC mother Jessica Fitzsimons told Insider that you will go through a tub of formula faster than you think. This could cost hundreds of dollars monthly, especially if “your baby is finicky about the specific formula.” Your best bet may be to opt for a breast pump to prolong feeding your baby breast milk for as long as you can – which is actually more nutritious. Another option would be to buy formula in bulk.
New clothes for yourself
You might have already accounted for new clothing for your baby, but new mothers need a wardrobe of their own. This was one of the points raised in a post by Vox on unexpected parenting costs. Mothers will need new nursing bras for breastfeeding, as well as clothing that makes this much easier to do in public. You might also look into getting other clothes as you transition into your postpartum body, for maximum comfort and confidence.
Paying for convenience
Things to make your life easier may come at a steep price. Your personal shopping habits may change as you learn to think more pragmatically as a new parent, and as such, your purchases will support this new mindset. Whether this is purchasing something at a steeper price because it’s accessible, or investing in delivery services and subscriptions to simply relieve an ounce of stress – your expenses will look entirely different when you become a new parent. However, don’t let these comforts run away with your money. Plan ahead to decide what you really need to avoid buying for items you will only use a few times.
This list is by no means meant to scare you, but to help prepare you for your new reality. You can’t put a price on your new bundle of joy, and with the right financial planning and preparations, you will get by.
Written by Carmela Petrone