by Jaynee Sasso
The days leading up to the birth of your newborn are filled with excitement as well as anxiety as you consider the great responsibility of being a parent. Parenthood is one of the most rewarding and costly decisions you can make. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that for the average family, it will cost $221,190 to raise a child over the next 17 years, not including college tuition. However, this total is not written in stone and will vary based on the income levels of U.S. families. For example, a family earning less than $56,870 annually can expect to spend $159,870 to raise a child from birth through high school. Such fluctuation proves that budgeting for a new baby is essential in an effort to prevent overspending.
Countless parents who desire to give their child the best will make the costly mistake of spending more than necessary for the well being of their child. The key is to be realistic about what you can afford. You must be willing to adjust your present lifestyle to accommodate the additional expenses of raising a child. A few tips will go a long way.
- Write down a list of what your baby will need for the first year of life: food, clothing, medical care and childcare. I encourage you to do some research before the arrival of your bundle of joy.
- Shop around to ensure that you get the best deals. Compare prices on formula, clothing and baby gear such as strollers, car seat, baby furniture, etc. There are many ways to save money and still provide a comfortable and nurturing environment to raise your child.
- Expensive doesn’t mean better and buying pre-owned is smart. There has always existed a debate among new parents and parental veterans about what is necessary in raising a child. New parents who strive to be the perfect parents sometimes feel guilty in their efforts to minimize the cost of caring for their newborn. For example, buying pre-owned baby furniture, gently used clothing, or a less expensive diaper bag can seem as if you are not putting your best foot forward. However, I suggest not investing your hard earned money in designer clothes, bedding and nursery décor. These things will lose their value as your child grows and matures.
- Instead, make the decision to save money and put it toward funding your child’s education. Think about it this way, many babies have grown into successful and productive adults without the use of modern conveniences such as bottle warmers, diaper genies, or Baby Einstein video collections.
The most important thing a child needs for his or her development is a pair of loving parents who are not preoccupied with the insignificant material things of life.
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