When it comes to starting a family, most people think about the joy a baby will bring to their life instead of the debt he/she will bring to your bank account. However, having children is very expensive, and it’s something every parent or soon-to-be parent needs to fully understand. According to CNN Money, it will cost you $233,610 to raise one child through the age of 17, which does not include college. If that number is a shock to you, here are five expenses you should start preparing for now as you have children.
- Child Care
Child care is one of the biggest costs you’ll endure as your child get older. If both parents work, you’ll need to find someone to care for your child, whether it’s a nanny, a daycare center, or even a friend or family member. Doing this will cost you money, so it’s something you’ll need to work into your budget as your child grows. Keep in mind that this cost will only go up as you have more children too.
If you opt instead to have one parent stop working to raise the child, you still need to be prepared for what this will cost. Without the additional income, you will likely be forced to make cuts in other areas in order to maintain your budget, and this can put some hardships on a family who now has another mouth to feed.
When your baby is born, you’ll think your grocery bill won’t change much, but it will. If you formula feed, you will be spending a decent amount of money on formula for your child. As they grow, they’ll need more foods and snacks, and your bill will add up. Once your child is a teenager, they will start to eat like an adult, which means you’ll be running out of food more quickly.
- Medical and Dental Needs
Healthcare is a touchy subject, but going to the doctor is something your child will need to do. Not only can you count on spending hundreds of dollars on regular doctor visits for vaccines and check-ups, but throw in a few extra thousand for sick visits, emergency visits, and any type of other expenses you may endure, such as glasses, braces (or Invisalign for those who don’t want traditional braces), or even prescription medication your child may need for healthcare issues.
- Sports and Activities
Chances are you don’t want your child sitting on the couch all day, so you’ll need them to get involved in local sports and activities. Unfortunately, these are not free, and you will spend a pretty penny getting your child into all the activities he/she wants to do. Plus, as your child gets older and/or better, the cost for these activities goes up, so you’ll need to change your budget accordingly to make it all fit in.
The smartest thing you can do is to put money aside for your child to go to college, as this will likely be your biggest expense as a parent. Yes, you can take on financial aid or take out student loans (find out how to boost your credit score), but it’s still something you’ll need to pay back over time, plus interest. Instead, try starting a college savings fund for your child as soon as possible. Even if you don’t have enough to pay for their entire college, you’ll still have something, and that’s definitely better than nothing.
As you prepare to have children, know how this addition to your family will impact your finances, and then be sure you’re prepared to make it all work without pushing yourself further and further into debt.