Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The cost of a baby?

Savingadvice.com recently did an article on the common myths of adding a baby to the family. This has a special interest to me as a non-parent because my wife and I have talked about having a child.

So, I've heavily researched this topic as well. Here are my comments on their 'myths'.

Myth #1 Your cute new baby is going to cost you hundreds of dollars per month in food and feeding supplies:

While breast feeding is free, many mothers cannot for a variety of reasons. Formula, then, is going to be a huge expense. However this falls into the 'what if' category, which can include having a baby with severe medical problems leading to a huge financial drain. After they are weaned however, parents can save a lot of money by making their own babyfood.

Myth #2 You will spend a ton of money on clothes to keep the baby warm:

While they suggest Walmart and Target for discount clothes, I recommend yard sales. Babies go through clothes like there's no tomorrow, so there is no shortage of parents looking to offload their old baby clothes for a buck a piece. Soak them in some good disinfectant/soap and wash when you bring them home, and you'll likely have a closet full of clothes that were worn less than the new shirt you bought at Dillards (ever wonder how many people 'tried on' your shirt before you bought it?).

Myth #3 You might as well buy stock in the diaper company

Cloth diapers will save you money, but I've yet to run the numbers on just how much. But the benefit to the environment? Indispensable. We may try both, but remember there are other costs associated with cloth diapers including the water/electricity used to wash and dry them. I would also be concerned with keeping the washing machine clean.

Myth #4 You have to buy everything on a list in order to have everything that you need for your baby

More ways to spend your money. However even if you must have or really want all of the items on those lists, they can easily be found used for far less.

Myth #5 You have to buy special detergent to wash the baby clothes with

I had never heard of this, and certainly don't agree with it. What difference would the detergent make so long as they do not have an allergic reaction?

Myth #6 You need a nursery or an extra room for the baby

This may be a myth, but I support it! For one, I don't agree with letting your baby just lay on a blanket on the floor - especially if you have pets. Or if you wake up in the morning groggy and frequently trip over things on the floor while headed to the bathroom. But having a separate room certainly helps parents take turns doing the baby thing while letting the other sleep.

Here's what they don't address, the "real" costs of having a baby.

Daycare: Daycare is going to cost you an arm and a leg, and infants can be placed in day care as young as a couple of months old. For two professional parents who need their incomes to support the household, this is a necessity. Paying a thousand a month or more on daycare is quite common.

Insurance: This is also going to be a huge expense. Depending on your company's plan (or worse, if you are self employed) your family health insurance plan could cost more than your home. If my wife and I had a child, we would either have to cut our benefits or pay more than we pay for our mortgage/taxes/insurance combined.

Lost Wages: When both parents work, you are undoubtedly going to be losing wages when you have a child.

1 comment:

Jim said...

It is these types of things that have me and my wife waiting before starting a family. I don't think it is selfish to make sure that you are financially and emotionally ready to handle the next generation. By taking the necessary steps it will make it much easier to provide the proper environment for the child. I think these myths are almost more of a list of inconveniences than anything. I don't agree with the cloth diaper thing either, there is a difference. Baby clothes don't have to be fancy either because they grow out of them rapidly in early years. Never put a baby on the floor unattended, they will disappear. For now waiting works better for us.