We have two plus years of baby care and the expenses that come with it now under our belt. At the same time, a lot of our friends and family are now having babies for the very first time, as are many of you, my dear readers.
As a result, I’m constantly encountering questions about how much things cost, what I recommend, how to do X, Y and Z, and everything in between.
If that inquisitive soul sounds like you, this post is a treat because I hope to tackle many of the most common questions I’ve heard to date.
Without further ado, here are the FAQs of baby costs:
(1) How much does it cost to deliver a baby?
That question alone deserves its own post, which I’ll get to next month and link back here.
The short answer is that it depends mainly on the difficulty of the delivery (complications add costs), the type of delivery (natural or C-section) and whether you have insurance and what type it is. Obviously, two out of three of those factors are usually unknown until delivery day and can’t be predicted.
I can tell you that locally, the cash cost (no insurance) would be somewhere between 5 and 10 thousand dollars for a hospital delivery. Insured cost all depends on your deductibles, co-pays and maternity coverage, and any additional insurance. As a result, our cost was actually a credit which I wrote about last year.
(2) Do I buy item “X” new or used?
Deciding between new and used goods is especially touchy with kids, because we’re often prone to want the best for them. I wrote a post comparing new and used baby goods last year, in which I take a look at two factors I use in evaluating this question: safety and the effects of age.
(3) How much do I need to save for the first year?
(4) How can we save on childcare costs?
With childcare reaching or often surpassing the cost of rent in many areas of our country, it’s no wonder that it’s a huge consideration when planning for a baby.
I would suggest considering life as a single-income family. I would also suggest looking at any possibility where relatives can provide childcare. Finally, if income is an issue, I’d look into organizations like the YMCA, which often provide discounted services for income-sensitive families.
(5) Would you have done anything differently?
I probably would have worried less. Cash is king, and as long as you can put a bit of money away for the purpose of your new child, and use that money slowly and wisely, you will probably be okay.
(6) Where do you recommend shopping for baby goods?
I recommend wholesale clubs for diapers, wipes and the like. Stores like Target and Walmart are fantastic for highly rated, low-cost goods like furniture and supplies if you’re buying new. It’s also where I get smaller items like feeding and bath supplies. I suggest family and friends for clothes, if possible, or trading websites like ThredUp.
(7) How are you saving for college?
After some research, we settled on a 529 plan from Charles Schwab. It’s straightforward and offers a variety of investment choices. If you live in a state with a state income tax (I don’t), looking at your own state’s 529 plan might also have tax benefits for you.
(8) How did you get health insurance for your baby?
To have the baby’s birth hospital costs covered, we needed to add our son to his mother’s policy initially. After a short period, we set him up under my individual policy which is a high-deductible plan I’ve written about. His regular visits are covered 100% by our plan, with all other care up to the deductible covered 100% by us at the negotiated rates.
(9) Which gear is worth buying and which is a waste of money?
I’m glad you asked. I wrote two posts about this in the past, outlining exactly where I think everything falls: post one and post two. The pack-and-play, for example, is one of the best purchases we made.
(10) How long did you breast feed?
12 months full-time, with another few months part-time, and it was one of the best cost-saving strategies we used, though our primary reasons were our son’s health (and it showed).
Those are the 10 questions that come up most often, and I hope that my answers will guide you in the right direction. I encourage you to leave a comment here or send me an email if you have other questions you’d like to throw my way, and I’d be happy to do a follow-up post if it’s warranted.