Let’s face it, having a baby is expensive, which is why, many couples in these tough financial times are choosing to wait for better economic conditions before having a little bundle of joy.
In fact, recent data published by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that birth rates among young women in their twenties have fallen from 90 births per 1,000 women in 2010 to 85.3 births in 2011.
CDC statistician, Brady Hamilton, said that the tough economic climate is directly affecting the birth rate and the decision by many Americans to have a baby. “The economy has declined, and that certainly is a factor that goes into people’s decisions about having a child,” he said.
“Women may say to themselves, ‘It’s not a particularly good time right now… let’s wait a little bit,” he told Reuters Health.[i]
Such a trend in declining birth rates also occurred during the Great Depression, with women having on average one less child each in the decade that followed. And while the birth rate again climbed in the 1950s and 60s, the 1970s Energy Crisis levelled out birth rates to approximately two children per woman.
Indeed, in another survey released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ (ACOG), nearly 1 in 5 married women aged between 18 and 44 said the shaky economy has affected their plans to increase the size of their family.[ii]
Yet, despite the decline in births, would-be parents don’t have to hold back their decision to have a child if they do their sums and are mindful of their expenses.
So how much does having a baby cost?
Having a baby is a wonderful gift, yet from the minute you see the positive sign on the home pregnancy test you need to be considering the costs. One of the biggest factors to consider is insurance.
For those 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance, the average cost of a natural delivery without complications can range anywhere from $9,000 to $17,000, depending on where in the US you live and whether there is a discount for uninsured patients. Moreover, those without insurance having a C-section can expect to pay up to $25,000 or even more.[iii]
When sizing up the costs, it makes financial sense to have insurance. For patients with insurance, out-of-pocket expenses usually range from $500 to $3,000, depending on the plan. However, this can exclude ultrasound, any prenatal care and premature birth care, which can set you back thousands of dollars more.
That said, even a good insurance plan won’t necessarily protect you and your partner some paying out some serious coin just to deliver the baby. To help buffer from such hefty medical expenses, it is wise to make a comprehensive budget to keep track of your expenses.
Budgeting for you and your child
When creating a budget, take into consideration that your household income will drop considerably if either you or your partner take time off work to look after the baby. In addition, you will also be expected to maintain your current household costs, including the utility bills as well as the mortgage or rent.
Start budgeting by analysing your current household expenses. You need to know where your money is going and where you can make savings. Online baby cost calculators are one great way to help you forecast a budget.
What are the essential costs?
Ask any attendant at a baby store what you need to give your baby the best start in life and they will undoubtedly give you a list of 200 things that are considered “essential” for your baby. In reality, this is not the best advice. It is better to turn to your friends and family who have had children about what are the ‘essential’ baby products. You can also find good advice in baby books, which often have lists of priority items needed for basic baby care.
Here is a short checklist and indicative cost estimate of the bare essentials of what you may need to have before your baby enters the world:[iv]
- Bassinet $180
- Crib $100
- Baby monitor $150
- Nightlight $50
- Change table $150
- Diapers $23
- Baby wipes $8
- Barrier cream $10
- Baby soap $6
- Baby bath $17
- Stroller $100
- Baby car seat $80
- Baby sling/pouch $150
- Diaper travel bag $25
- Steriliser $100
- Formula $25
- Bottles $10
- Highchair $50
- Body suits $20
- Sunhat $10
- Beanie $10
- Socks $3
- Cardigan $30
- Jackets $40
- Chest of Drawers $100
- Toys $50
- Bouncinette $60
Tip: To keep costs under control, check out the latest deals and coupons on baby items such as diapers, prams and baby clothes on the internet.
Use your support network
Your most valuable resource when it comes to supporting your baby are your friends and family. If you are having trouble financially, it is always best to speak to a family member or friend about your problems. Your parents understand what it was like to bring up a child and are best qualified to help you find your financial feet.
In addition, family and friends might have hand-me-downs that they can give to your baby as well as be able to watch your newborn if you have to return to work – this can save you a bundle on expensive child care – just remember to show your appreciation for giving up their time.
Even with the best support, many American households struggle with maintaining the financial status quo. If all else fails and the immediate costs of having a child are getting on top of you, then it could be time to consider a low-interest personal loan from a reputable lender.
A personal loan will get you in to debt, but can also relieve you from the more pressing financial woes such as overdue household bills or to pay for your child’s immunization shots. That said, a personal loan is a liability and it must be paid off. As soon as your financial health improves, it is recommended that you prioritise paying the debt off as soon as possible.
[iv] All prices are estimates based on www.walmart.com
Fiona Hamann is the senior PR manager at Aussie. She is passionate about all facets of communications including PR, writing, editing, website content, new media, crisis and issues management and branding in the finance industry – home loans, personal loans, credit cards, and insurance.” Attached is an image of Fiona, she will deal with any questions.