Are You Prepared for the Real Cost of Kids?

You can’t put a price-tag on a parent’s love – but you can estimate the cost of raising a child, and a new study finds that most couples underestimate what they’ll be spending when that bundle of joy.

18 percent of those surveyed thought that caring for their baby would cost less than $1,000 in the first year, and almost half thought it would be under $5,000. So perhaps it’s not surprising that three out of 10 of the couples said that they had made no financial preparations for a baby.

The founder of Tot Squad, Jennifer Saxton, recommends that couples who are planning to add a baby to the family start preparing financially two years in advance. Learn about your employers' parental leave policies. “And also, thinking about timing your pregnancy to meet your insurance deductible, so you don’t get hit with two deductibles,” she adds. And parents-to-be need to research childcare well in advance, both to estimate costs and get on the waitlist for infant daycare.

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Ob/Gyn Dr. Nita Landry says in her own practice, she’s seen couples trying to time their deliveries to meet insurance deadlines – there’s an extra incentive to push!

Jennifer’s tips also include:

• Itemize your expected baby expenses, so you can budget for them.

• See what you can borrow or buy used – but do buy a brand-new car seat!

• But you don’t need the most expensive car seat – they all have to meet the same safety standards. And consider one that will be usable throughout your baby’s childhood.

• Consider starting an automatic savings account for your child, and watch your discretionary spending before baby comes.

• This is great time to start a college savings account!

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New parents will enjoy all that unconditional love more if they aren’t worried about the bills, so a little planning will go a long way to make baby’s arrival a joyful one.

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