Guest post by Zoe Price
There’s no doubt if you’ve had any conversations about kids, you’ll have heard parents express how expensive it really is to raise a child. Truthfully, being told that it is expensive doesn’t really help you if you’re trying to understand the costs of having a child, what you can expect to have to pay for at each stage of your child’s life, and what expenses you’re likely to face each day. With proper financial planning and realistic expectations, having a child doesn’t need to be financially stressful and you can enjoy the excitement and experience instead of the stress of the expenses that you’re going to incur.
Of course, having a child is an ongoing expense, so we’ll try and highlight the expenses you’ll face at each stage of your child’s development, from the obvious to the things you might not think about until it’s time to shell out for them. We’re not here to scare you, but just to prepare you for all the little expenses you might not think about associated with raising your child. Let’s get started.
Let’s start from the very beginning of your exciting journey to parenthood – your pregnancy.
First, let’s get the medical expenses out of the way. During the pregnancy itself, it’s recommended that your antenatal care begin as soon as possible so your first visit to your doctor should happen almost as soon as you suspect you’re pregnant. Regular check-ups with a health professional can help ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy. It’s recommended by health professionals to schedule several visits and check-ups during your pregnancy. During these checks, your doctor can monitor your blood pressure and health as well as monitor your baby’s development. It’s also possible to note any complications early in the development.
Expenses outside of these check-ups are less severe than what’s to come. You’ll need a new wardrobe with some maternity clothes as your pregnancy progresses. This will include maternity wear like jeans, bras, and bigger-sized clothing. Comfort is what you’re going for here! You might also consider a vitamin supplement to help your body during the very intense process of growing a life.
Some new parents might want to take antenatal classes, which will also cost something – you’re your budget will start to get strained, especially as you enter your later stages of pregnancy right after birth when you’ll likely not be able to continue working, particularly if your employer doesn’t offer paid maternity leave.
Setting Up the Nursery
You’re going to need to make some purchases before your new baby comes home to set up a nursery and stock it with some essentials you’re going to need to care for your baby. You might get lots of these at your baby shower or as gifts from friends and family, but let’s go through the costs.
You’ll need some new furniture for the nursery if you’re going to have a separate room for it. This will include a crib, changing table, and some general makeover items like curtains, a comfortable chair for you to sit in, and some toys to outfit the room and crib with. A baby monitor is a worthwhile investment too if you’re going to spend time outside of the room. You’re also going to need a bath, some blankets, and products like creams and powders – and of course a healthy stock of diapers and pacifiers. You’ll need baby bottles and a milk expressor too. These expenses will add up quickly, making this set up phase quite expensive.
Outside of the nursery, you’ll need a lot of baby clothes because you’re going to go through a few a day, and they’re going to need replacing as your baby grows. You’re also going to need a car seat, a good quality stroller, and a few items to baby-proof the house, like baby gates for your stairs and similar protective items to use around the home.
The Birth Itself
Usually, a lot of the expenses of the actual childbirth will be covered by health insurance. Your real costs are going to be setting up to care for your new baby.
Before you know it, you’ll be in labour and your bundle of joy will be on the way into the world! The birth process can be an expensive one depending on your healthcare coverage and how you go about delivering your baby. For example, a caesarean section birth will have its own set of expenses compared to natural childbirth, but might not be avoidable.
The Baby Phase
This is where the costs are really going to start to mount, so strap in and get ready.
First off, your baby is going to need some vaccinations – which likely won’t cost anything if you have health insurance, but you need to take your baby to the doctor to get them. You might also need to add your baby to your health insurance if you have a paid plan.
Your tiny baby is just about as cheap as it’s going to get for you as a new parent from here on out. Your real expenses during the baby phase are diapers and related expenses like baby wipes and diaper bags. You can estimate that during that first year of your baby’s life you can use around 3,000 diapers, which can quickly add up to a small fortune. Of course, you can save some money by not using disposable diapers and opting for reusable ones.
If you need to use baby formula, you need to factor in the costs of this too as an ongoing expense. Remember to also factor in the increase in laundry that’s going to come with having a new baby around the house, so more detergent, water, and electricity costs too.
If you’re planning on going back to work, you’ll need to factor nanny or daycare costs in too, unless you have a willing grandparent to help!
Before you know it, the bottles and nappies will be cast aside, and your child will have a new set of requirements. Not least of all, you’ll need to replace the crib with a bed, get a booster seat, and a whole new wardrobe, which will probably include training underwear (pull-ups) and clothing that seems to be too small before it’s even home from the store.
Milk and formula will quickly be replaced with solid foods, which you’ll need to purchase, along with plastic plates, cutlery, and other mealtime-related things. When it comes time to potty training, you’ll need the potty.
This is also the phase of your child’s life where you’ll want to start considering things like swimming lessons and other activities for your toddler. Your inquisitive toddler is going to need to be entertained and for this, you’re likely going to need to start buying educational toys and games like blocks, puzzles, and storybooks.
School and Beyond
By the time your child is a toddler, you’ve likely already started looking for and registering interest in some kindergarten and even junior schools. You’ll probably also soon realise that if you want to look outside of public schooling, this is going to be expensive. Public schools are often able to offer a very high level of education, and only require parents to pay very low student fees to cover the costs of extra-curricular activities for things like music lessons or art supplies, but that isn’t the only expense, you’ll need to buy books and stationery for your child to use at school so the costs associated even with public schooling shouldn’t be overlooked. If you’re inclined, private schooling is an expensive prospect and should be planned well in advance.
The real education costs are going to come when your child reaches university level. It might seem like you’re looking too far into the future already, but having a good savings plan set up early to cover the costs of university study will go a long way. A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is a great way to save for these tertiary studying expenses, as Wealthsimple’s RESP guide explains. WealthSimple offers investment plans for every eventuality and can help tailor the right plan for you with solid investment portfolios. They also offer stock-trading, crypto trading, and tax assistance, describing their company ethos as the world’s most human financial company.
All the requirements, the needs, and expenses we’ve been through and their associated costs sound like a lot to take in, but remember, you’re going to have a lot of help and support from those around you, and these purchases can be made over many months (or even years) to give you plenty of time to get everything ready. The most important part of parenthood is to just enjoy the experience and the rich reward that comes with being a parent, so don’t let the financial implications weigh too heavily on your shoulders. Plan as best you can and take advantage of long-term savings and second-hand sales, and you’ll have no trouble providing the absolute best for your baby.