Three years ago, I wrote a post about preparing financially for a baby (my most-requested Marvelous Money topic at the time!). I promised in that post to revisit the topic at some point in the future when I actually had children, and I’m so happy to do so today! My angle: what it actually cost us to add a baby to our family in the first year.
Several of you have shared that you think of me as a “big sister” going a few steps ahead of you, which is wonderfully sweet and a title I take seriously. I want to share these numbers not because you’ll be able to copy and paste them into your own life, but because if you’re thinking about having children and wondering how it will affect your finances (hand of my younger self raised high!), it is incredibly hard to find useful numbers.
I hope this post offers some hope, helpful perspective, and fodder for conversation with your spouse! :)
First, a few details about the parameters I chose:
— Our daughter was born in January, which is excellent for sharing numbers, since we budget every dollar on an annual basis. I’ve included all of the June-related costs from 2016 here (unless otherwise noted), as well as the June-related costs from 2015 that we incurred while preparing for her arrival.
— I have not included the retail price of gifts we received, items we borrowed, etc. here — just what we actually paid out of pocket. Obviously, there is a HUGE range of prices for everything baby-related, and it can make a big difference how much you buy used or buy at all. This is not meant to be a universal cost breakdown but just a glimpse at one family’s expenses based on our unique circumstances and priorities.
— I did not include any healthcare costs, as those were paid for by savings in our HSA and I don’t consider them “out of pocket.”
— I did not include “shelter” costs (i.e. our mortgage) or transportation, since we would have had those anyway. I also did not include any portion of our grocery budget, because it did not change in June’s first year with us.
That should cover the preliminaries! Here’s the breakdown, with explanation following…
Birth: This included our birth class and our doula.
Books: I bought four pregnancy and parenting books – my favorites are here!
Childcare: This is by far the largest portion of the total, but I have not even an iota of regret about spending this money! There is almost nothing I would rather spend on than making sure June is safe, loved, and well cared for when we’re not with her, and we were so happy with the school we sent her to for her first year. This covered about eight months of care post-leave.
Clothing: We were incredibly lucky to receive LOTS of hand-me-downs from Nancy and my sister. The majority of the rest of June’s clothing was purchased at my favorite twice-a-year consignment sale, with a few additional special items here and there. I think this is a category where we saved a lot of money, especially considering we had a girl – ha!
Diapers and wipes: We almost exclusively used Water Wipes and Up&Up diapers and were very happy with both.
Feeding: This included our Kiinde supplies and some formula. Thankfully, breastfeeding dropped this category wayyy down!
Gear: This category included everything that we didn’t borrow or receive as a gift, including our baby monitor, our bassinet, a console for our stroller, a convertible car seat, baby gates, and more. You can read about some of our favorite gear at different ages in these posts!
Nursery: This was the only category whose total surprised me a bit, but we did have several large expenses that added up! The good news is that these purchases were the LEAST important, so they could easily be forgone if you’re on a tight budget. Larger purchases included the light fixture ($120); the glider, fabric, and upholstery ($475); a quilt for the twin bed ($110); and the Liberty fabric for the crib skirt ($154 – that stuff ain’t cheap!).
Personal care: This category included diaper cream, Nose Frida supplies, burp cloths, a thermometer, body wash, toothbrushes, and other toiletry type things!
Toys, gifts, and fun: Thankfully, babies don’t need too much to have fun :) This category included her beloved action stackers, a few books (we received SO many as gifts!), cups and a ring stacker, and the ukulele we got her for her first Christmas.
If you’re a visual person, here’s the breakdown in pie chart form:
And one with the major categories besides childcare:
There you have it! If you’d like to share, I’d love to hear how our breakdown stacks up to your own spending, or where you were able to save if you also have a sweet baby! Thank you, as always, for being so kind and thoughtful, friends!
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