How Much Do Kid's Cost?

Updated on July 06, 2009
C.L. asks from Dallas, TX
29 answers

I'm newly married and my husband and I are wanting to plan and prepare (budget wise) to start a family. I'm a nanny so I'm well aware of all the 'stuff' kiddo's need, but I have no idea how much things cost. What would an approximate montly budget be? We haven't decided yet if I would stay home yet either.


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answers from Dallas on

A LOT! :)

Daycare if you choose to go that route for a newborn (at a good, reputable and trustworthy place in Dallas) will run you $700-$850/month depending on the place. If you breastfeed that is convenient...formula if you can't breastfeed bc of physical reasons or time or work, etc is expensive. You can expect at least a can per week at the beginning...$24/can depending on brand. Diapers will run you about $16/week. Then there's wipes, etc. Doctor visits, co-pays are $20-40 each visit (and there will be many...both scheduled and unscheduled) plus any ER visits, medications, etc. Add in toys, clothes, and misc things like extra laundry detergent, extra water use, babysitters when needed, etc and it adds up quick. But, that being said, they are TOTALLY worth it. :)

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answers from Dallas on

You just have to remember that you will never have enough money, but thank goodness you are thinking about the cost before jump in. Please also think about other unexpected cost. My son had to have two set of tubes put in which cost over $800 each time and countless doctor visits at $25 dollars each visit. We set up there college fund at the tune of $200 a month and there is always the cost of classes (swim, dance or little gym). If you are a stay at home mom you might want to do. I would say if I had to take a guess I budget at least $1,000 a month not including day care. I am probably over, but better to guess to much than not enough.



answers from Dallas on

you are NEVER financially ready to have kids and no amount of planning a budget will make you ready!! very responsible of you though!

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answers from Dallas on

First, congratulations for taking such a responsible step in your relationship and family planning! Second, no matter how you cut it, kids are expensive!!!!!!!!!!

You've received very good advice from the other moms who've posted. And to add to it, make sure you and your husband communicate your priorities continuously to each other. People grow and change independently to their kids and spouses, and priorities shift and unless you continue to foster your relationship, having kids can be a huge "cost" to your relationship (I learned that the hard way with husband #1).

Financially speaking, there are some major things that are dubbed "life-changing events" by insurance companies, etc. and they truly are what they say...Marriage, home purchase, baby, death, etc. are all things that fall in that category and they need to be planned for. If I could have had that conversation with the me of 10 years ago, there's a good possibility that I wouldn't be the me that I am now!

Set your goals and priorities and don't be afraid to wait to have a baby until the time is right. I am a young mom compared to many of my friends and fellow PTA members, and I'm glad for it, but there are many of my friends who waited until their 40s to start their family... Husband #2 is one of those, aforementioned, who waited!!

Seek the guidance of a financial counselor or trusted person in the finacial field. I work in mortgage/real estate and see so many sad stories because of premature decisions. But, lastly, remember that life doesn't always go according to plan! And it's OK to not have things go the "one right way". Sometimes the best things in life are unintentional.


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answers from Dallas on

I think it is great that you are planning this so carefully. It is a question that is hard to answer. SO many factors come into play.

When we were planning our one and only now 14 yr old daughter, we ran a lot of numbers. Hubby and I are very much numbers people and planners.

We prioritized things important to us, namely, I would be a SAHM. I do not regret that decision at all. EDIT: another HUGE priority was that we would always have our date night weekly. It is SO important to keep the connection with Hubby. We have only missed date night occasionally due to sickness. We still go out at least once a week.

While planning, also consider the college costs, etc. I know it seems tough when they are newborns but it is better than being hit with $40,000 a yr for college!! Before our daughter was born her college fund was established. We made plans to contribute a minimum of $10,000 per year by her birthday each year. On the very good years, we put in more just in case the next year might not go so well.

We also took into consideration of a wedding (we've already offered her the $$ to use on a house or something vs a wedding, LOL), first car ( I've been driving her first car for 3 yrs and she will get it when she gets her license) We value safety and her first car is very nice and SAFE.

A lot of people don't feel the need to provide college funding for their children. We feel it is our duty as her parents to provide for her and set her up debt free as she goes out on her own.

Then we look at the day to day expenses. Sometimes there will be unexpected expenses. I'll say that our expenses now with daughter are higher than when she was younger. She is a varsity cheerleader for the upcoming year and we have already spent $1200 and school has not started! She's also accomplished in orchestra and new violins are not cheap ($3000), then you have laptops, etc to keep up with school.

I realize I am talking WAY down the road from where you are considering now. I'm just saying that our expenses are higher now since she has gotten older.

I think it is great that you are planning but don't "overplan" either. Enjoy your family!!!

Yes, our retirement is done. Your retirement is very important

We only have about 4 yrs left with our "baby" at home. They grow up TOO fast.

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answers from Tyler on

If you are caught up in the material, you will spend thousands. However, kids really don't NEED as much as the ads would have you believe. You can't plan for everything. If you don't have a burning desire for a child, don't have one. When you think you can't live w/o one, you might be ready to face the challenge. My husband and I started out with virtually nothing more than his job. We had 3 in three years. We made it, but there was never money left over. We learned to live frugally, our children learned the same lessons, and we have wonderful memories, some of the best during the leanest times.

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answers from Dallas on

I was a nanny for 17 years myself until I retired to start my own family. My little guy is almost 2 now.

let me start by saying this: It is never a good time and you never have enough money to have a baby!
That being said, there are just so many variables to consider.

A huge money saver (not to mention the benifit to baby)is breastfeeding. Formula is a huge expense(not to mention inadequite). Interesting fact: baby girls who were fed formula instead of breast milk are 33% more likely to get breast cancer. And formula is actually the 4th choice down the list for babies- first being breast milk.

We buy diapers and wipes at Costco in bulk. They are great diapers! We used Pampers before that. Cloth is a long term savings but can be costly to build your stash initially.

For clothing we shopped sales and close outs the entire pregnancy. We are just now needing to buy clothes again. Also use hand-me-downs from friends and family and shop resale shops. Our baby lived in onesies you buy in multi-packs unless we were going out and then I put a cute outfit on him.

There are so many accessories/"needs" out there you can spend your money on to get started. You will find though by trial and error that most of the things you thought were needs you never use and the thing syou didn't think about are the things you are running out in the middle of the night to get.
Here are a few examples: changing table, we change him on the ottoman or bed. Bumbo seat, by the time we got around to buying one I realized he wouldn't need it in a few short months so we passed it up.

It is good to plan. Maybe you should try living only on your husbands income for 3 months. Put all of your's away to buy stuff for baby. This will also give you some idea of if you can afford to stay home with baby or not. It will also help ease you into a budget and cutting back some.

Babies come every day at unexpected times to unexpected parents. You just have to go with the flow.

Feel free to contact me if you want to chat or want any further advice/tips.

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answers from Dallas on

Wow, C., this is a loaded question because it just depends. Are you are Nordstrom shopper, or are you a target shopper? Are you okay with used items, or must you have new? Will you breast feed, or will you buy formula? Will your baby be healthy or need many doctor visits? And it goes on and on.........

This much is true. It's expensive, but at some point you just take the plunge. This will be your number one priority both financially and emotionally once you do!

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answers from Dallas on

It varies very, very widely. Some of it you have control over, some of it you don't. For example, I spend almost nothing on DD's clothes--we do all hand-me-downs, or my mom sews the rest. She gets almost all of her toys as gifts from extended family, and we either make the rest or buy them at garage sales. We also got a lot of hand-me-down equipment, and got the rest through craig's list. But daycare can be a lot--we pay $125/wk for 4 days/wk in an in-home situation, and that's on the cheap side. Diapers are probably about $50/mo, and if you use formula, that's REALLY expensive (I bf'ed until 10 mos, so saved a lot of money that way). But then there's health insurance (ours is subsidized through DH's work, so about $100/mo) plus plenty of dr. bills (DD was born with a congenital heart defect--which completely transformed our finances--but even just regular care and sniffles aren't cheap...). And then there's stuff like babysitters, if you want a night out (we do that rarely, and try to trade with friends for babysitting when we do...); any trips cost more once you have to pay for a seat for the kid; saving for college, if you can swing it.... Really, however, it just changes your whole life, so it's hard to put a pricetag on (for instance, no more going out to the bar, or much less eating out...but then things that used to seem important, don't anymore...)

In the end, having babies can't be a financial decision. If we all waited until we could easily afford it, the population would die off 'cuz there'd be so few babies! You should by all means plan as much as you can, and make rational decisions, but your baby will be your priority, and you will find a way to make it work. A word of caution, though--I used to work as a nanny, too, for a family who was quite wealthy. My DD does not have a FRACTION of the stuff those kids did, and she's just fine--loving parents is what's important, not designer stuff!

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answers from Amarillo on

I have to agree with the other moms, a lot!!!

Being you are a newly wed - wait at least one or two years to get to know each other a couple - before you add any children to the home. Make a road map (goals) of what the two of you plan to do as a unit with dates and times listed. Where do you want to be in XXX? In this same time frame, find out what your husband's ideas are about parenting and discipline, and what he wants to do with the children when they are with him (fishing, going to park, or going to a movie). Express what you will do with them outside of being the main caregiver as well. You might be surprised at what you will find out and how you two may have to amend and compromise as a united front for child rearing. Remember, you are two different people coming together as a family from two different backgrounds.

As far as working in or out of the home decide upon this first. Also take a notebook with you and write down all the prices on formulas, diapers (cloth/disposable), food, clothing (t-shirts and outside coverings), car seats, highchairs, swings, health and life insurance changes, utilities. You can buy some of these items second hand. How many children do you want? No one tells you your life will not be the same for the next 18 to 20 years, are you ready for that? As one poster put it you will need the under eye makeup for staying up too late nursing the infant to waiting for the teen to come home safely from a date.

The emphasis on college is great but not all children are college material which is what people forget (a vocation maybe in order). Saving for college is great but what about your retirement? A well know financial planner stated that children can get loans for college buy you will not be able to get a loan to retire so plan wisely now before the children arrive. Do look at the long run. We are not all number crunchers but it does help to have an objective view of things.

Include date night weekly or monthly but put one on the calender and stick to it. This may be the only way you two can speak to each other later when children do come. This is a great way to reconnect to each other and remember you got married. If the husband/wife unit is not working on the same wave length then the marriage is not going in the right direction. Reaffirm you thoughts and goals and adjust any that need it. Learn the art of compromise and flexibility. Not everything is going to go the way you write it down but the flexibility will help you keep on track to meet that goal.

Do take time to smell the roses along the way. The ideas listed above are just that ideas and guides. Each family unit must figure out how to make them work.

These are some of the things that I have suggested to my son and his new wife and to another woman who recently got married. The main thing here is COMMUNICATION - husband/wife and children/parents. Above all, be kind and gentle to each other. The other S. married 37 years.

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answers from Dallas on

If you are considering being a stay-at-home mom, my advice to you is to start right now living off just one salary and putting your salary directly into savings. That allows you to make lifestyle adjustments now, and see if you are able to cut costs enough to meet expenses without your salary. Of course, a baby will add to those costs, but this would be a good trial, and give you the cushion of the savings you accumulate until the baby is born. There is lots of "stuff" out there, but a baby's actual "needs" are a lot simpler. Of course everyone "wants" all the newest and cutest baby things, but if you're on a budget, your baby won't care if you have them or not. It's wonderful you are thinking ahead ~ good luck!

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answers from Dallas on

Well, to start off, if you have insurance, your pregnancy is going to cost you about $1000 for the doc, plus copays and prenatal vitamins.
Most people have family/friends that can give them some of the things needed. For example, my father-in-law bought the baby her crib/dresser for us at $600. Then you have the stroller/car seat at about $200, changing table, bouncy chair, high chair at about $50-$100, etc.
Then comes dr. visits copays, diapers at $10 per pack per week, wipes at $2.50 a tub per week, fomula if you're not breastfeeding (breast is best), and baby food at about .50 cents a jar at first.
Don't forget clothes, toys, childcare which can range as you know. Birthdays which can be astronomical, plus Christmas, and once they're in school, they always need money for something or another. Then comes college.

But you know what, they say that it's never the right time to have kids. There's always some reason that you can come up with not to do it at that time. Everything always works itself out and it's totally worth it! I love both of my kids dearly and we are always provided for. I commend you for thinking seriously before you make such big decision, but I wouldnt worry about it too much. Good luck!

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answers from Dallas on

God bless you. I wish more people thought this way before having babies.

If you breast feed you will save a bundle.
Diapers, go to the store and when pricing them, plan on using at least 10 per day - multiply by 30days = 300 per month (how many packages gets you 300 diapers at $ per pkcg?) for example

You can probably get baby furniture at a used place. I did for my second child born ten years after my first and it used furniture was as great as new ones. Check Craig's list.
See if possible family can help with items such as play pen, high chair, light weight stroller, etc. Every one always wants to buy those cute baby clothes but in reality they don't wear all of them before they grow out of them.

The first year is always the most expensive. Don't forget the cost of maternity clothes, and dr copays while pregnant and sick days off.

Sounds scary doesn't it but babies are so wonderful and well worth it. Planning in advance and saving some money to prepare being off work and buying all the goodies will give you and your husband a sense of security during that time and also will allow a little extra money for you to get out of the house and go on a date now and then with your hubby. :)

You are so smart! Good luck and happy planning! C.

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answers from Dallas on

Day care is expensive. If you want a quality place you need to be prepared to spend at least $600 a month, usually more.

Diapers, you will go through them like water. Plan on using at least one of the big 96 packs a week. Wipes the same. So that would be about $25 a week.

I breast fed my kids, formula was too expensive. We made our own baby food and that cost less money. Also making baby food is easy. Buy a baby food cookbook and follow directions.

People will buy you things, but don't expect to get everything for free. Cribs are $100 to $400 and up. Furniture for the baby will cost you another $500.

We are getting qualified to foster parent kids. The state of Texas believes that it will cost you approximately $1000 a month to properly take care of a child. I believe it. Now my kids are older and going out to eat at any place where you personally don't have to carry the tray runs at least $50 and that's without any expensive drinks. As they grow they will want food. My son has to eat at least 3000 calories a day and he's skinny as a pole. They want to do activities too. Karate/gymnastics and other classes cost at least $80 to $100 a month. Music is $120 to $200 a month.

Amazingly we trusted God. I quit my job when our first was a year old and my husband's income doubled within 6 months. Then his income went up again. I have time to write books even though I home school our kids. I have 3 books out and contracts for 2 more. Trust God and great things will happen.

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answers from Dallas on

Way to go on thinking and planning BEFORE acting!! :-) You say you're a newly-wed, so let me encourage you to spend a year or two married before jumping into a family. You don't state your age, but I'd say wait even longer if you're under 25.

If you don't have a pet already, may I suggest you start with a puppy. This will give you a heads up on full-time parenting responsibilities since puppies cannot be left unattended for overnight trips or other long departures & need to be taught boundaries. This will also get you started in "dependent care expenses." ;-)

Finally, when it comes time to start a family, please note that babies, like weddings, are a marketer's dream. There are many items stores and companies and even other mothers sometimes will tell you that you MUST have for your baby that are absolutely NOT necessary. If you have the funds and the inclination, you may well wish to buy some of these things, but so many things you'll suddenly feel you have to have are non-essential. When it comes down to it, a newborn could sleep in a dresser drawer for a few days. Get a good, practical friend with a young child to take you through Babies R Us and help you make a list of essentials. By all means, add things you just like, but don't feel you must.

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answers from Dallas on

I was working when we had our first child and decided to stay home during my maternity leave, it can be done. I excursively breast feed my children , not only do you save money on formula but you also save medical bills, BF babies have less infections than formula feed babies. When my oldest was about a year old my husband decided that we needed another income. I started a home day care so that I could continue to stay at home with my child. I was registered with the state active in a day care association and became nationally accredited home day care I look at it as a career. I had two other children during the time that I was doing day care, I soon became a single parent and only doing day care owed a house and was able to provide well for my children. I was very financially careful with my money . Once my children were old enough I decided to go to school full time and we lived off of my savings until I graduated. This was all done while being single. So as a couple it can be done with out owing any one any money. I do not owe on my house it is payed for , I do not have a car payment ( although I save what I would be paying on a car so that when I need a new one I have cash to pay for it) I have no credit cards that I owe.
Good luck.



answers from Dallas on

It's great that ya'll are thinking about this now! The only other thing that I would add to what others have is that make sure you are realistic and budget for unexpected things. For example I had totally PLANNED and expected on breastfeeding for a full year(and had a lot of help) but for some reason I never produced enough milk and literally "dried up" within a few months. We had to buy formula to supplement from the get go, then use it all the time from then on out. I was disappointed I couldn't breast feed for the obvious benefits, but also bc formula is expensive. But what can you do when those unexpected situations come up? It has been hard buying formula but I have found ways to even save on that. In case you are one of them here is some advice: i always asked my pediatrician for any formula coupons/samples of the one she recommended and she always gave me a lot every visit. I also bought/traded formula coupons with people on Craigslist. They have people all the time looking and willing to trade for different brands.
But hopefully you will be one of those people who can breast feed. Also, I borrowed my sister's bread pump in the beginning (got my own parts for pumping) which saved me tons. I have even seen breast pumps at baby resale shops for sale. I love baby resale shops- that is where we have gotten a majority of our baby items, even name brand ones. Also check out yard sales, craigs list, etc... we have gotten nice things for cheap through these places.
My only other advice is just to have some type of emergency fund for those rainy days! We have had many unexpected dr's visits (which add up) bc my girl got sick. But other than that it has been do-able for us- even on one income! Having a baby is so worth it!



answers from Dallas on

They aren't something you can truly budget for. Different kids cost different amounts due to an enormous amount of reasons.

Medical Costs - some have no problem (my oldest) some have tons of problems (my youngest)

Don't base you decision on budget, I've been told a million times that if you wait till you can afford one, you'll never have one. As a nanny, you know what you charge, would stay at home knowing that you will be working to pay your nanny? What are your existing bills etc.

If you want a baby - have a baby. Where there is a will there is a way.



answers from Dallas on

My sister in law told me (when I asked her)... to budget in a luxury car payment ($400-$600) per month. :)



answers from Dallas on

I love the fact that you're giving this so much thought before you move forward. That's wonderful!

Here are a few tools that might help...
Looks like it could be $11 - 16K the first year.

Here's another one that the USDA has:

Good Luck! A free guide to affordable family activities in Flower Mound, Lewisville, Highland Village and the surrounding communitities.



answers from Dallas on

They'll cost everything you have. Not only will you buy clothes for them, you will have to replace some of yours because of spit up or permanent markers. If you have boys, your furniture will become the center ring for the wrestling matches. Your light fixtures, windows and porcelain knickknacks will live in fear of balls. With girls your jewelry, makeup and clothes will get "borrowed". You'll extra makeup to cover the circles under your eyes---up late with feeding babies becomes up late waiting for teenagers to get home. You get the idea.

But they are worth 1,000,000 times more. They are the greatest joy you'll ever have. No material possession, no matter how grand, can even hold a candle to your children. They are the finest thing you'll ever do.

I know this isn't the answer you're looking for, but I wanted to say, "Just do it---you'll never be prepared enough. Finances all work out somehow."

Mom of 8



answers from Dallas on

All of the money you got! :)~ Like someone else said, if you wait until you can afford it, you won't ever have one. But I do recommend to wait until you have been with your partner for atleast 2-4 years (including dating time). Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

A LOT!!!! But every dollar is well worth it. When planning your budget, you need to figure you not working b/c once the baby comes you could change your mind and you don't want to be stuck working when you really want to be home with you baby and childcare is CRAZY expensive - and why have babies if you are going to let someone else raise them?!?!?

When coming up with a budge - diapers about $60/month; breastfeeding - free or formula - $150/month; baby food - $30/month; the you have clothes, shoes, carseats, strollers, bikes, toys, wipes, bibs

This is just somethings to think about...I have an 8 month old that is allergic to milk and soy and I breastfeed, so I have had to cut out all dairy and soy products (which means that I have to eat more expensive foods then normally because I have to shop at places like whole foods and central market). We could have never budgeted for this because our first daughter had no problems like this.

Best of luck and enjoy your married life...It is so much fun!!!



answers from Dallas on

There really isn't a number to focus on because everyones expenses and expectations for 'stuff' is different. Insurance vs no insurance. Breastfeeding vs Formula. New clothing vs hand me downs or thrift store. Daycare vs staying home. The variable are endless.

I didn't read all of the responses, but I would say that living off of one salary for as long as you can and stashing the money in the bank would be your best option. Now is the time to learn how to be thrifty and figure out if staying home would be an option. Shop around and get ideas of costs and what you're willing and wanting to do.

We have friends that chose to put every dollar the wife made into the bank and got used to living off of one salary from the moment they married. I mean, they didn't touch her paychecks, they went directly into the bank. When they decided to have a family, she became a stay-at-home mom and already had a nice chunk of change in the bank. They didn't suffer her paycheck because they never used it in the first place.

**Edit: Congratulations on thinking ahead. I went back and read the responses below mine and would have to say that you've gotten some REALLY good advice.

Best of luck to you in this new phase of your life. HAVE FUN!



answers from Dallas on

What a question to ask! As other mothers have answered, the cost vary depending on the choices you make (breastfeeding/formula, daycare/stay at home, cloth diapers/ disposable, etc.). You said that you are a nanny and you know all the stuff children need . . . the most important thing that they need during those early years (esp. 0-3) is their Mommy. I would highly recommend you stay at home at least part of the time. I stay home during the day with my one year old daughter and work as a counselor in the evenings for about 3-4 hours (4 days a week). I am the main caretaker of my daughter and I still get to have work outside the home. I also exclusively breastfeed (saving a lot of money) and we save majorly in health care cost because she is never sick (it would be a very different story if she were in daycare). Best of luck with your decisions!



answers from Dallas on

OMG! I feel so old now!

Your question leaves me dumbfounded and almost speechless. But my answer is that kids cost you everything you are and everything you have or want to be. Even more than taking a spouse, bearing a child is giving yourself to another unconditionally. There is no cost-benefit analysis or ratio. It's a long term investment that pays little dividends daily but you have to wait decades for the greatest payback and reinvest everything back into the project.

In the beginning, we used to tell ourselves that we'd have more money in X number of years when we didn't have to pay child care or when this or that event or milestone arrived. Our girls are 24 and 28 now, and we have two granddaughters for are 4 years and 3 1/2 months.



answers from Dallas on

This really is a tough question. Remember that it takes a lot to get started, crib, car seat, stroller, etc. But after all of that, make sure you can cover formula and diapers. I bought a large container of both from Sams, I beleive about every 2 weeks. Or maybe formula every 2 weeks and diapers every 3-4. I dont exactly remember. As far a clothes, yes you will need some, but you will get some at your shower and mommies always pass clothes down. We have hardly bought ANY clothes in almost 4 years! Day care is expensive it you need to look at that.



answers from Dallas on

Breast feed for a year. It saved us about $4,000 in formula and DD never had any stomach issues like colic or reflux.



answers from Dallas on

I read somewhere when I was pregnant that babies cost about $1300/month. I've got a four month old son, and I've found that be right on the money (haha!). We pay $950/month in daycare, and I would say the average is $1000. Good luck! It's VERY expensive, but worth it!

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