How Much Does a Baby Cost Per Month?

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baby cost, parenting tips

In many developed countries, including the United States, babies have become quite a luxury and expense. However, for centuries, babies have been birthed and cared for with almost no expense at all. It is up to you and your partner – if you have one – how lavish having a baby will be. Rest assured you can keep costs low if you choose to do so.

According to a 2014 USDA report, annual child-rearing expenses per child for a middle-income, two-parent family ranged from $12,800 to $14,970, depending on the age of the child.

Needs versus wants

First, let’s consider what a baby needs: love, food, shelter, warmth, hygiene and attention. By keeping this in mind, it will give you an idea of what we need to budget for your baby’s needs. Remember, it’s up to you to budget and buy things that your baby needs, rather than what you want. Like anything in life, it can be easy to spend thousands if you’re not careful with your budgeting.

1. Food

Food will all depend on how your baby is feeding. Breastfeeding will be free, while baby formula will cost you up to $3 per day, depending on the brand you choose. To be safe, plan on budgeting about $100 per month.

2. Hygiene – this is a fancy word for diapers

When it comes to diapers, it comes down to 2 choices: cloth and disposable. Well, actually there is also the hybrid diaper, which is a cloth pantie (cover) with disposable insert, either biodegradable or conventional. In our throwaway society, many people choose disposable. On the other hand, once you buy your cloth diapers (one-time investment of about $50-150), the average costs will include washing them, which is next to nothing. Most experts state you should spend about $10 in washing costs. If you were to go the disposable route, plan on spending at least $70 per month. For a complete guide to diapering, see our article The Green Diaper Dilemma.

3. The BIG expense- daycare

If you are fortunate enough to have a stay-at-home parent, this cost can be avoided entirely. However, that is not realistic for many of today’s families. One option to help cut this expenditure would be if you and your partner are willing/able to work different shifts. This doesn’t work for every family.

Daycare, depending on the company and what you want, can easily cost more than $300 per week for a full-time service. If you were to hire an in-home nanny that only caters to your child, this could be double, if not triple the daycare cost. Let’s take the average mentioned and say daycare/nanny services would cost you at a minimum $1,000 per month. According to a recent report, child care services cost more than college education in most US states.

4. Clothes

If you have a child already, you probably already know how many pairs of clothes he or she can go through in a day. It’s not uncommon to change outfits up to five times a day. While you can pile up on clothes before the baby is born, you’re probably still going to want to budget at least $20 to $40 per month on new onesie outfits. However, this range can be much higher if you want to go organic or choose designer outfits. To play it safe, let’s budget $40 for new clothes each month. If you are an Eco-mom, you might want to consider second hand clothing for your baby. Not only are you helping your family budget, but our environment too.

5. Toys and Books

Like clothes, you don’t want to purchase a new toy every week; however, it doesn’t hurt to budget for a new toy here and there. Just like the clothing, the sky is the limit when purchasing a newer toy. You can spend anywhere from $1 for a simple rattle to more than $300 for an ExerSaucer that has all the bells and whistles. Play it safe and budget about $20 per month for your child’s amusement.

baby cost, parenting tips, daycare

Conclusion

Remember, these are just the recurring costs once your baby is a few months old. This won’t include all the necessary one-time startup costs such as nursery furniture, clothing, strollers, etc. The start-up costs alone can easily reach into the thousands. As we can see, it’s safe to say a baby will cost you about $230 per month WITHOUT daycare, but if you have to ship your child off to a daycare center, these costs can shoot up to $1,300 per month or $15,600 for the year.

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Author:Stephanie L

Stephanie is a freelance writer, who also works with organization Howmuchisit. She lives in Gilbert, Arizona, with her husband and two children. She enjoys reading, writing, scrap-booking and hiking the local mountain ranges.

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