How Much Money Should You Save For Your Baby?

The Data

According to a report called, “The Cost of Raising a Child,” by the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the cost of raising a child born in 2015 would be roughly between $12,350 to $13,900 a year. Wow!

This takes into account food, housing, transportation, health care, clothing, child care and education, and miscellaneous – with housing being the top at 29%. However, the numbers would be different (probably higher) today and they will vary depending on your income and where you live.

If you’re curious, you can check how much it may cost you according to the USDA’s Cost of Raising a Child Calculator. For my family of 5 children, our average cost per child per year would be estimated at $10,000 – $11,000.

Everyday Baby Expenses

Now that we’ve gone over the boring statistics (I was a math major, so I like the stats!), let’s take a look at the real-life everyday expenses and costs that we can expect – like diapers and wipes – for raising a baby.

You’re probably here because you’re expecting and wondering how much money you need to save for a baby. Or maybe you’re here because you want to start a family and you want to prepare yourself financially and budget for a baby. Great! You are wise to do so.

Everyone’s situation is different…

Like I mentioned above, although the costs will vary from family to family given different situations and costs of living in the area you live, it’s good to know the different kinds of expenses to plan for. If you spend on different things and your costs are higher or lower, you can always adjust accordingly.

In this article, we will go over some of the common expenses you will most likely incur as you raise your baby and how you can save and prepare. We will take into account just the first year from 0 to 12 months. We won’t cover the cost of birth and hospital expenses as this will depend on your health insurance coverage which can vary greatly from family to family (but we will account for well baby check-ups and doctor’s visits).

Here’s a breakdown of what we will cover:

  1. Cost of Child Care
  2. Cost of Basic Baby Supplies (i.e. diapers, clothes, baby gear, etc.)
  3. Doctor’s Visits

We’ll estimate the total cost for the year for each category – child care, baby supplies, and doctor’s visits. Then we’ll add each category to get the total cost for the whole year. Let’s dive in!

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Wondering how much money to save for a baby? Check out this article and find out. We'll go over how much a baby costs on average, the cost of a baby per month, and other important information you'll need to prepare financially for your baby.


Cost of Child Care

The national average monthly cost of child care for an infant in a child care center meeting the basic state licensing standards, according to the Center for American Progress is $1230 per month. Now this will vary from state to state and even facility to facility. So you will have to do your research in your own area and the facilities near you. We’ll use the national average for our estimate, and here’s our total:

Total Cost of Child Care:  $14,760

Cost of Baby Supplies

Before I start with the baby supplies, I do want to mention that I have included the baby essentials that you most likely will NEED for your baby’s first year. Since we are a family living on a tight budget and I am a striving minimalist, I included only the necessities that we cannot live without. Remember, you don’t need EVERY baby item or gadget… unless you have the money, but in that case, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.

You don’t need EVERY baby item or gadget! Click To Tweet

Also, if you can do without some of these things, by all means do it! If that means you will have more money in your pocket, in your savings account, or paid towards your debt, more power to you!

Here are the baby supplies and the estimated costs for each. We’ll calculate the total costs and costs per month after listing them all.

  • Diapering:
    • Diapers – $40/box per month
    • Wipes – $14/box per month
  • Feeding:
    • For breastfed babies:
      • Nursing pillow – $40
      • Nursing cover – $20
      • Breast pads – $13 for a pack of 8
      • Breast pump – $160
      • Baby bottles – $32 for a complete gift set (with small and large bottles and baby brush)
    • For formula-fed babies:
      • Baby bottles – $32 for a complete gift set (with small and large bottles and baby brush)
      • Baby Formula – $44 for 2 value sized cans (generic store brand) per month
  • Baby Gear & Furniture:
    • Stroller & Carseat Travel System – $150
    • Crib – $120 
    • Crib mattress – $40
    • Playpen (Playard/Bassinet) – $90
    • Baby Rocker or Bouncer – $45 
    • Highchair – $80
  • Clothing and Accessories:
    • Clothes – roughly $30 per size up (0-3M, 3-6M, 6-9M, 12M) – $120 Total
    • Receiving Blankets – $10 for a pack of 4
    • Crib sheets – $20 for 2
    • Burp cloths $14 for a pack of 8
    • Baby bath towel – $15 for a pack of 3
  • Miscellaneous Items:
    • Baby soap (head to toe) – $5/month
    • Laundry detergent – $12/month
    • Safety set – nail clippers, thermometer, suction bulb, etc. – $14
    • Diaper bag – $40
    • OTC baby medicine – $6/month

Please note that these are estimates, and the exact costs for each item will vary based on location, store, and brand. But just to give you an idea, these are the figures I have found (I like to shop at Target, so these prices are from there).

We calculated three different totals for Baby Supplies:

  1. Total One-Time Costs for the year (for non-consumables)
  2. Monthly Cost for Consumables (diapers, wipes, etc.), and
  3. Total for the Year

We also separated the costs for breastfed babies versus formula-fed babies. Here are the results:

  • For breastfed babies:  
    1. Total One-Time Costs (non-consumables):  $1023 for the year
    2. Monthly Cost (consumables):  $77 per month
    3. Total:  $1947 for the year
  • For formula-fed babies:
    1. Total One-Time Costs (non-consumables):  $790 for the year
    2. Monthly Cost (consumables):  $121 per month
    3. Total:  $2242 for the year

Next, let’s go over the cost for well baby check-ups and doctor visits.



Cost of Doctor Visits

During the first year, your baby will visit the doctor at least seven times for their well baby check-ups (at 3-5 days, 1, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 12 months). Each visit will include a full physical and the necessary immunizations (as scheduled).

As much as we want our babies to be healthy all year and not encounter any sicknesses, they will most likely get sick and have to go in to see the doctor. According to healthychildren.org and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), most children will have eight to ten colds in the first two years. They may get other sicknesses, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll account for just the common cold – an average of 5 times for the first year.

Like I had mentioned about everyone having different health insurance coverage, this will affect your co-payment for each doctor’s visit. Typical co-payments can range from $15 to $25, so we will use $20 as our ballpark figure.

Let’s calculate:

Adding up a total of 7 well baby check-ups and an average of 5 sick visits, we have a total of 12 doctor’s visits for the year. At the rate of $20 per visit, that would give us a total cost for doctor visits of $240 per year. Again, this is an estimate and will be higher or lower depending on your health insurance and the actual amount of times your baby will have to visit the doctor.

So…

How much does a baby cost?

Ok, so far, we’ve covered all three of the necessary costs – child care, baby supplies, and doctor’s visits. Now let’s total it all up.

Costs for a Baby for the First Year:

  • Childcare:  $14,760
  • Baby Supplies:
    • Breastfed:  $1947
    • Bottle-fed:  $2242
  • Doctor’s Visits:  $240

Grand Total Cost for a Baby for the First Year:

  • Breastfed:  $16,947
  • Bottle-fed:  $17,242

Cost for a baby per Month:

  • Breastfed:  $1413 per month
  • Bottle-fed:  $1437 per month


What is the cost for a baby per month?

According to our estimates, there doesn’t seem to be too much of a difference between the costs per month for a breastfed baby versus a bottle-fed baby. Our results estimate the cost for a baby per month, in general, is about $1500 (rounding up to be safe).

You can take this figure and plan to save up at least $1500 a month for your baby’s first year. However, I understand everyone’s situation is different, and you may not need childcare or certain baby supplies. That’s fine! For this reason, I created a Baby Budget Worksheet for you. Be sure to download it and input your actual expenses so you can plan for YOUR baby.

Download the Baby Budget Worksheet:



Final Thoughts

We went through a lot of numbers. Thanks for bearing with me! I hope after reading this article you are able to plan ahead financially and budget for your baby, at least for the essentials that we accounted for. You are wise to plan ahead and be prepared! In the next article, I will go over some of the ways that you can SAVE and prepare for the arrival of your bundle of joy! In the meantime, be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter to get our updates!



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Please Note:  This article was written in 2019. Figures are most likely to change in the future.



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