Cost of Having a Baby and How Much to Save for it
Making the decision to start a family can be both exciting and daunting. You rather worry about coming up with a name for the baby, finding the perfect coming home outfit and decorating the nursery. Of course, you want to know the mother and child are well-taken care of, throughout and after pregnancy.
Another aspect is the financial considerations of having a baby. Meaning, it could cost a considerable amount of money to give birth and afterward. It’s not just having a sound financial cushion, it’s about making sure all aspects of your finances are prepared for when your little bundle of joy comes home.
How Much Can It Cost to Have a Baby?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a cut and dry answer to this question because it depends on various circumstances including how you plan on giving birth, your health during pregnancy and your health afterbirth.
Of course, the biggest concern during pregnancy is medical bills–it can cost even more if you encounter complications. Although you can’t anticipate what can happen during pregnancy, birth, and post-birth it’s helpful to understand the breakdown of some of the costs involved.
Here are some of the common scenarios:
Prenatal (or before birth)
We’re talking about ultrasounds, prenatal appointments and other related expenses (think fertility treatments or vitamins). If you need to get infertility treatments, that can set you back a pretty penny–according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, it could cost an average of $12,400 per cycle. There are also other non-medical related expenses such as maternity clothes and items for comfort like pillows.
This amount will depend on if you deliver vaginally or opt for a Cesarean, or c-section, delivery. According to data from Fair Health, vaginal delivery ranges between $5,000 to $11,000 throughout most of the U.S. This includes prenatal, hospital and the anesthesiologist’s fee. For a c-section, it can be anywhere from $7,500 to $14,500, with the costs increasing if you experience complications. Some of these costs may be covered by insurance depending on your plan.
After birth (or postnatal)
Think follow up appointments, treatment for any complications, immunizations for the baby and other types of costs for the baby. How much it’ll set you back depends on you and your baby’s health.
What About Health Insurance?
Health insurance is a complicated and exact costs are tough to predict because it really depends on your plan. However, many of the medical expenses mentioned above could be less if your plan pays for it. That’s why it’s a good idea to look at your coverage before planning to start your family (or at least as soon as you find out when you’re pregnant) to understand what you could be paying.
For example, you’ll want to review things like co-pay, deductibles, co-insurance, as well as the specific types of procedures covered. Feel free to contact your health insurance provider to get an estimate of your out-of-pocket costs. When doing so, check to see your doctors and other providers are covered by your plan, otherwise you could be paying more for out-of-network doctors if your plan allows it.
If you’re on a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you may consider taking advantage of opening up a health savings account (HSA), a flexible savings account (FSA) or a dependent care flexible savings account (DCFSA). These accounts can help you save on qualified medical expenses since you’re using pre-tax dollars to pay for them. Rules for opening and using these accounts can vary so check with your provider.
In any case, look at your insurance options (especially if it’s right around open enrollment season or if you have a qualifying event) to see what kind of plan will benefit you and your family the most. For example, an HDHP may be the cheapest option, but you could be paying more out of pocket if you incur a lot of medical expenses.
If you don’t have insurance, you may be able to qualify for insurance through HealthCare.gov’s marketplace. Depending on your income level, you may be able to qualify for subsidies.
Other Expenses to Consider
Having a baby doesn’t end at birth. Here’s what else you’ll need to consider when having a baby:
It’s not just strollers and diapers. There are many other items to consider like baby formula, bottles, pacifiers, nursing supplies, car seats and even furniture. The key here is to look at what are necessities and get those first. There are nice to haves (think baby wipe warmers) that aren’t necessary. You can purchase some of these items used to help save a bit of money.
Childcare can be extremely expensive especially if both parents work and there aren’t any relatives to help out. Costs can vary from state to state, but the average costs, according to The Center For American Progress is $1,230 a month for full-time center-based childcare and an average of $800 a month for a licensed at-home daycare.
There are also other considerations such as babysitters for after-hours care, assuming you and your spouse want to go on the occasional date night.
Life and Disability Insurance
Getting a life and disability insurance is important because you have someone depending on your income–it would be a shame if your surviving spouse and children have to worry about keeping up with daily expenses. Same goes for if you’re deemed incapable of working, what will you do then?
Luckily, term life and disability insurance don’t necessarily cost an arm and a leg. Many have a quick approval process, so do your research to see which one is best for your needs.
Taking leave might mean you’ll risk getting paid less (or at all) depending on your employer. This is definitely something to discuss beforehand, including how much time you plan on taking off, whether you can afford unpaid leave and how much your employer might pay.
It’s Not About How Much You Save
Of course, you want to set aside money for prenatal and birthing costs, plus a little bit for post-birth. This is important so you’re prepared and not needing to rely on expensive loans to pay for it. Consider padding your emergency fund too just in case you need to spend more than you anticipated for other expenses after you leave the hospital.
But what about afterwards? That’s where budgeting and scrutinizing your expenses are key so that you’re on top of your finances. Yes, you’ll have additional expenses so it’s a good idea to factor these into your budget now to see if you can reasonably afford it. Take a look at what expenses you can cut out and think carefully before making any upgrades like a bigger house or car. Are these really necessary?
While it sounds intimidating, having your budget in place and anticipating for any increased expenses is helpful–you could be too tired or stressed to want to worry about the day-to-day budgeting.
Make an Informed Decision
Having a baby means making a lot of decisions even before your bundle of joy enters the world. It’s a major lifestyle change and will have an impact on how much you spend and save. It’s crucial to anticipate upcoming expenses and work on budgeting well, so you’re not caught off guard.