Open Your Heart and Wallet… You’re Having a Baby

Growing up and watching enough movies I’ve seen a good share of love stories.  That fairy tale idea of falling in love, getting married, and having kids is ingrained in our society.  I followed that same schematic throughout my own life.  Now, I’m older with a wife and a kid.  I’m in my fairy tale ending!  Except that’s not the whole story is itt?  Anyone else who has kids realizes that there is one glaring piece of information that is left out of the story.  Kids… they cost… a lot.

According to the 2012 United States Department of Agriculture report on Expenditures on Children by Families, the estimated cost for middle income parents can expect to spend about $12,600 to $14,700 annually for child-rearing expenses.

If you’re planning on living that fairy tale life yourself than that means you’re going to be shelling out anywhere from $226,800 to $264,000 over 18 years.

So, where is all your money going?


First the price tag starts when parents first learn they are pregnant.  In an instance there are a plethora of items need to prepare the house for a baby and dad Leif Detlefsen says that all the purchases add up quickly.

“You have to buy a lot like cribs, swing sets, toys, strollers, rocking chairs,” said Leif.  “Plus, all the everyday stuff like clothes, diapers, wipes, and before you know it you have spent a good chunk of change.”

And the cost for each of these items can vary depending on where or how parents shop.  Used items can save a lot of money on the big baby items in the house.  Leif purchased a swing set used for $300 while a new one of the brand would cost over $2000.

Click here for an interactive view of a baby room and the prices attached to some of the big ticket items.

The Arrival

After parents spend pregnancy time and money prepping the house, it’s finally time to meet the bundle of joy and that can get pricey if you happen to live in the U.S.


As discussed in The New York Times, giving birth in the United States is more expensive than any other country in the world and the cost varies depending on the type of delivery. The article points to an analysis by Truven Health Analytics that compares the cost of childbirth in the U.S. compared to other countries around the world.  In 2012, the average cost in the US was $9,775 for a delivery, with the average Cesarean costing $15, 041 which is almost 300% more than 2nd ranking Switzerland.


And that price tag can give a lot of people sticker shock however, in the same Truven Health study it shows that the cost of childbirth is substantially lower for those with commercial insurance.  Local Jacksonville dad Ronaldo Crespo says he was surprised to see the charges at the hospital but glad he had insurance.  “It would have cost us over $21,000 when I looked at the bill at first,” said Ronaldo, “but after insurance payments we ended paying $850 for the doctor, $1,000 for an epidural, and $1,500 for the hospital stay.” 

Commerical Insurance

So, You Have a Baby…

As parents return home with baby and bills in hand they now have another giant questions and cost to attend to. How are you going to pay for all the baby’s healthcare? Babies get sick and need their regular doctors visits.  Here insurance plays another big role as without it you pay much more to keep your kid healthy.

Parents also have to figure out who is going to watch the kid during the day. More and more people are raising their children with two working parents which means someone has to watch the kids during the day.  Unfortunately,  child care costs have nearly doubled in the last quarter century according to a U.S. Census Bureau report Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements.

Cost can vary wildly depending on multiple factors.  Where the family lives will have a huge impact.  The Census Bureau report shows that for an infant in center-based care the average annual cost ranges from $4,863 in Mississippi to $16,430 in Massachusetts.

The age of the child and the type of care also plays a role in the price that parents pay.  I was paying nearly $1,000 a month for a day care center when my two boys were both infants,” said Leif, “and now that my kids are in school I pay a little over $300 for Extended Day at public school.”

“I’m paying $700 monthly for my 1-year old and each time she moves up to the next room the price goes down slightly,” said Thomas Lee.


That glimmer of hope when day care cost lower may make parents think that as kids grow the costs will diminish but just like healthcare, the cost of college is rising.  In the 2013-14 academic year, the average net cost for a full-time student at an in-state public university was over $18,000 for tuition, fees, room, board, books and incidental expenses.  That cost is projected to continue to rise and much of this is causing families to start setting aside money once their child is born.

For Leif that’s an added $4,000 a year.  “We are doing the Educational IRA that allows a maximum of $2,000 per year for each kids,” Leif said.

The Real Story

From fairy tale to reality, having kids is a lot more than just love and marriage.  Becoming a parent is the scariest thing in the world and you’ll never know just exactly what to do with your kids.  It’s a learning experience from day one but it is a lot less scary when you know the cost that come with a child than when you find out on the fly.

For a good way to prepare yourself for the adventure try out these helpful links to find out how much it might cost you to raise a child or how much you should start saving to put that child through college. 

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