Money Matters
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Moms weigh in: Average monthly cost of a baby??

I'm curious ... a few weeks ago, AnKa I think it was, said monthly expenses for a new baby don't really amount to that much; I think I remember reading it was only ~$30/month or so. (Sorry if I'm not remembering the OP or amount correctly ... does anyone else remember this??)

At any rate, just read in a post below (which asked how worried people are about the economy), Mrs Manners noted that they have about $3K worth of expenses per month "with the nanny, diapers, formula, clothes and any savings for ds."

A HUGE difference. Anyone else care to weigh in as to how much money they spend on their new baby per month?

Re: Moms weigh in: Average monthly cost of a baby??

  • I just quit my job to without daycare costs will only be for formula and diapers.  Formula is $25 per can a week.  Diapers are about $30...last almost two weeks.  Round to $200 a month.  And I buy premium can get store brand much cheaper.

    But then count in buying new clothes about every 2-3 months...I just spent $100 and she's good for awhile.

    You spend what you want.  Some people think Gymboree and Janie & Jack clothes are a necessity.  I'm fine with onesies from Walmart.

  • Don't have a baby yet, but here is one (of many) calculators that are out there to help you determine costs:

    Cost per month can vary widely, though.

    If you are using cloth diapers, obviously you would not have the expense of the disposables once you invested in the diapers.

    If you breastfeed, you will not have the cost of formula. On the flip side, you could have a baby who is allergic or needs special formula to the tune of hundreds of dollars per month.

    The cost of daycare. If you are staying at home or family will be watching the baby, that will be a much different cost than if you live in a HCOL area where daycare could be 1-2k per month.

    Do you plan to start a college savings fund?

    The amount you spend on toys, clothes, gadgets, solid foods, etc all add up, but can vary widely depending on your values and priorities.


    Our expected budget is about $700 per month once daycare starts at ~$500. The remaining 200 includes formula, fruits/vegetables for making homemade baby food, toys, medical visits and supplies, and formula. We may also throw a couple hundred in a savings too. Haven't completely decided on that.

  • It depends.  If you breastfeed you don't have to pay for anything food.  If you cloth diaper there is some upfront cost but not much more until you need to buy the next size up.  We use Similac and it is $28 for 27oz and that makes 41 6oz bottles so it last longer the younger the baby, but at 4 months my baby goes through a box in about 10 days.  I cloth diaper and have never bought disposable diapers or wipes so I couldn't tell you how much that is.  I really haven't bought to much as far as clothes and baby furniture, family has provided much of that.  Then there is child care.  those are the only monthly expenses I can think of.
  • Ditto to almostabuck.  A lot has to do with your daycare costs.  Our daycare will likely be about $500 per month.  I'm breastfeeding, so no formula costs for us.  We are averaging a package of wipes and a package of diapers a week right now (newborn jumbo size).  You also need to figure in health care costs as well.  A lot will just depend on  your child!  Some kids have no problem in a dirty diaper and some scream the moment the pee hits the diaper.

    We prepped by saving money for my maternity leave (unpaid).  We also bought diapers and wipes in anticipation (we bought sensitive wipes each time to be safe).  We signed up for coupons at all the websites (huggies, pampers, luvs, similac, enfamil, etc).  We shopped sales early.  We accepted hand me down clothes and toys.


    I give up trying to add my kids' photos. Just know that they are adorable.
  • My expenses:

    Daycare $800 - $1000 per month

    Diapers $30 per month

    Formula $125 per month

    Very very little other expenses.  If you have a shower, you'll probably get most items you need.  For clothing, luckily we have lots of family and friends with young ones and we receive ample hand me downs (very cute stuff too!) so I never need to buy clothes. 

    If I were stay at home mom, I too believe it's relatively cheap to raise a baby.  We find lots of free events for family fun time through our city. 

    Daycare is the killer!  Formula is the second biggest killer. 

  • I think most people spend between $30 and $3K.  Stick out tongue

    The reality is that this $$$ amount will change each month based on the age of your child and your family's situations (SAHM v. working, etc.).  

    We spend $30-$40 on diapers and wipes each month.

    We spend $204/week on daycare (so $816 to $1020 per month) for four days.

    DS eats food now, but I don't separate that from our groceries.

    We buy clothes/toys/gear as needed.

    Also, I BF for 14+ months, but we did have the startup costs of the pump, bottles, etc.  

    The amount will be individual to you, and you can either limit it or let it go wild, depending on what you buy.

  • Our biggest cost was me moving to part-time work this year.  Getting used to half of my salary has been a challenge!  Most of our other costs were up front and we had all of the pregnancy to save for those.  From this point on, we're pretty set and are only budgeting $75/month for the baby...and that's with a pretty generous cushion.  Here's a breakdown of baby expenses:

    I am using cloth diapers, so that was an upfront investment of about $300. I got all one-size diapers, so we won't need to upgrade to a bigger size.  We'll just unsnap a couple of snaps!

    I am breastfeeding, got a pump for free (replaced the consumable parts for $15), and spent about $40 on storage and bottles.

    Almost all of DD's clothes are hand-me-downs, from the consignment store, or from the shower.  I've spent probably less than $100 on clothes for her (mostly fun stuff that I can't pass up at the consignment store).

    My DH will be home with DD 3 days a week in the mornings.  My mom will be with her the other 2 days.  I only work half days, so we only need my mom about 6 hours/week.  We are planning on paying her $30/week.  She said she won't accept it and if we pay her that she will put it all in an acct for DD.

    Well baby visits are completely covered by our insurance.  Other doctor's visits will have a $20 copay.  Urgent care would be a $20 copay.  The ER would be a $50 copay.

    We spent about $300 on gear that we didn't get at the shower (car seat bases, etc.)

    We spent about $700 to set up the nursery (furniture, bedding, decorations).


  • I agree with all the PPs but wanted to weigh-in with a different perspective as most everyone is discussing NEWBORN costs and things do change dramatically once your child is a toddler!

    A tiny bit of background since there are a million ways to raise a child, this is just mine:

    My daughters is now 2 years old and I have SAH with her since she was born.  We have a huge group of friends, all SAH moms with same age kids and have been meeting up since our kids were 2 months old because we all just about went insane being at home 24/7!   We live in the San Francisco, CA area and there are a TON of local zoos, children's museums and play places/cafe's at our disposal and I am fortunate enough to be able to afford to participate.

    With all that said, we are very active and that's why the following expenses are what they are:

    Diapers: one value box of 180 diapers per month $38

    Wipes: 1/2 of a value box of 6 refills or 400 wipes per month $6

    Groceries just for Emily (toddler snacks only like string cheese, yogurt, organic milk and crackers, fruits, etc. in this calculation because she eats what we do for breakfast, lunch and dinner!) per month: $56

    Tumbling Class (meets once a week): $55/mo.

    Gymboree Class (meets once a week): $89/mo

    Zoo membership (annual is $160): $13/mo

    Habitot Children's museum & Studio Grow Children's play place (we go to each once a week: $60/mo

    Music Together Class (meets once a week): $175 for 3month semester or $58/mo

    Toys & puzzles: $20/mo (an average on what I spent this past year)

    Clothes/shoes (a brand new Winter wardrobe each October and a brand new Summer Wardrobe each April) averages out this past year to:  $150/m

    Once a year well-baby exam: $15 co-pay only as Insurance covers at 100% (as an infant, you will need to be seen monthly through month 9 then at 1 year, 15mo, 18mo and 2 year)


    Grand total: approximately $532 per month


  • Mrs.Shavers,

    Thanks for the older kid info. It sounds like you and your daughter do a ton of fun stuff.

  • We are working on a baby budget right now too.  We are hoping to BF with minimal costs for solid foods later by making our own.  I'm still deciding between CD and disposables but figure $75/mo for disp. (might be low?) and $25 for wipes.  I'm budgeting $100 for dr. copays and meds, but I really hope that is too much!  Add another $50 for clothes/toys, but I really expect most of that to be taken care of through showers, grandparents, and hand-me-downs.  We hope to put at least $100 into baby's savings account every month too.  Total: $350/month

    I'm staying at home, so no daycare costs.  One thing I'm not sure of (but could easily find out and need to) is how much more DH will have to put in for family health insurance.  The internet calculators are much more thorough and even include things like photo processing!

  • I SAH so there is my salary that is gone. We spend $20/10 days for next step formula and $40 a month for diapers. Around 5-6 months we were buying 2 cans every week, $200 a month. It varies based on age and solids.

    If I worked it would be between 1k-$1500 in daycare depending on the provider. We live in a HCOL area. I usually pick up clothes the season after while they are on sale and then during that season I'll pick up what I need. I am not really sure how much I spent, but you get better at sale shopping and know what your child will wear as you go. 

    Then there are extras like Gymboree, which is $69 a month. The one thing I didn't realize is that baby proofing is a one time cost of $100-$400 depending on your space and child (stairs, etc). Baby food is $.89 a jar, 3 a day at its height and then snacks (organic price). So that adds in to the formula cost around 6-8 months depending on your child.

    image Nicholas loved for 28 weeks, 4/11/10
    Baby Boy loved for 15 weeks, 5/31/11
    Baby Girl loved for 16.5 weeks. 3/1/12
  • image TobeMrs.Shavers:

    I agree with all the PPs but wanted to weigh-in with a different perspective as most everyone is discussing NEWBORN costs and things do change dramatically once your child is a toddler!


    Grand total: approximately $532 per month

    Bingo.  I have a 2.5yo DD and a 15m DS.  The costs of our newborns were relatively low for a variety of reasons - I BF, no daycare (although remember to factor the insane cost of me giving up my job), my kids were/are healthy*, etc.

    Plus, many women get baby showers so many of the bigger-ticket items needed for infants are purchased by others.  If you do not have a baby shower or people don't get you the big-ticket items, these are outlays that you yourself will have.

    However, the real costs kick in when the kids hit toddler age and staying home all day on an activity mat or playing with soft blocks isn't enough for them.  We do many activities similar to Mrs.Shavers, as well as "school" (it's actually a structured play group) two hours/two days a week for my DD.  We attend a Friends school which is perhaps the least expensive in the area, and it costs $1100/year.  Next year it will cost more because she will attend 3x/week, and so on.

    Clothing gets dirty/ruined faster when a toddler is running around, tripping and falling, smearing things on it, etc., so clothing expenses can be higher.  They also eat more food, require more laundry, and break more books/toys now that they are bigger and stronger.

    I anticipate that these costs will continue to increase as the kids get older.


    *My DS isn't entirely healthy.  He has a developmental delay that thankfully has been almost 100% addressed through Early Intervention therapy, which is "free" (taxpayer-funded) in our County, so we are incredibly lucky.  I hate to bring up the obvious negative, but children can be born with all kinds of health issues, and the costs of same can spiral.

  • Whether you work or sah is the big difference I think in the cost.  Here daycare alone for a newborn is $1500 a month.  Also depends on if you bf or ff, formula is another $70 a month or so.  Then there is diapers $40.  Those are the big expenses.  Then you have clothes, toys & other things like strollers that don't come every month but can add up too.
  • Diapers/Wipes - $20/month - we use parent's choice

    I bf and make solids - maybe $5/month?

    Clothes - still good with shower gifts and hand me downs, likely won't need anything until she outgrows 1st bday present clothes

    Will be starting a class in Feb - $29 for once a week, 6 wks long - so $20/month.  Otherwise we'll just attend playgroups which are free.

    So with class, $45/month.

  • If I were to stay home, I would want to do it the way MrsShavers does...with lots of activities and structure to my days/weeks.  And that gets expensive--fast.  Even if you're super smart about seeking the free or almost free activities, that leaves a lot of free time each week, which would drive me bonkers. 

    Our two DD's are in daycare and our cost is approx. $2200/month.  It was a little more than half that for just an infant.  We also buy premium diapers and wipes and brand name formula, so that adds to the hefty price tag--but if we had to we could go store brand on all.  As for clothes, I buy new...a mix of cheap and expensive and I don't go hog wild.  I would estimate the cost for both kids over the course of a year to be a little over $100 a month.  It would be more if my second was a different gender, because then we wouldn't be able to use the handmedowns from DD#1.

    I would count on at least $250 a month in your calculations (if you SAH).  If you happen to do it on much less, then I would use the excess that you budgeted to start a 529 or other savings plan.

  • newborns are pretty cheap, butI wasn't after the babies were born. there was transitional clothing, more meals delivered than cooked, etc. plus once the babies got a bit older there were activities like gymboree and music together. Even if you are a SAH unless you are a total recluse you are going to have expenses like hosting playdates (not much but coffee for the moms and snacks for the kids), etc.

  • Well, I'm going to list our expenses below.

    1. Daycare: $1000/month

    2. College Savings: $300

    3. Diapers: $50

    4.Breastfeeding supplies (breastpads, milk storage bags, pump supplies, ect): $20

    5. Clothes:$20-50 (depending on how fast he grows...and this is from the consignment shop)

     Those are the big expenses.  There are certainly areas where many people spend more (or less) than us.  There are also big one-time expenses, even when they get older.  New car seat (for when they outgrow their bucket), new stroller (for us, since we have a snap-and-go) when he outgrows his bucket, safety/childproof stuff once he's mobile, etc.

    Hope this helps!

  • It probably was me. I do think that besides  the lost wage for a SAHM or the cost for childcare there is very little to pay for. Especially if you BF and make your own baby food.

    We're not really saving for college at this point, our DDs get a lot of checks from relatives that we use towards that, so we're lucky there.

  • Diito H4S

    ?Some "unexpected costs" may include a whole new wardrobe for you. Most people don't go straight from maternity clothes to their old ones. If you BF, even if you don't buy special nursing clothes your larger chest might not fit into old shirts.

    I also agree they get more expensive as they get older. My BF, cloth diapered, cloth wiped, receiving hand-me-downs DS is practically free while my toddler is constantly outgrowing clothes & ?shoes, breaking things ($126 to replace two slats on our wood blinds this week) and eats like a horse.

  • This can really vary.... my niece has to have special formula so just formula, diapers, and food are probably $300 a month. This doesn't include daycare or lost wages and health insurance. For us an additional baby would be $200 a month, but our insurance blows. And this is the basics. There are a lot of things to take into account. Then again, with our son we spent maybe 25 a month on diapers and wipes and I breastfed. It can be very inexpensive or a huge increase depending of your expenses and the needs of your baby.


    Books read in 2011- 62/75
  • Increased cost to purchase health insurance is a surprise expense; ours went up 300 a month. (3600 a year permanent increase)

    Don't forget paying the deductibles and copays for delivery and hospital stay; ours was 2400 (I had a csection).  Post natal expenses out of pocket were about 500. So, 2900 within 90 days after birth.

    If you're quitting your job, and you earned 2000 a month, your out of pocket cost for day care is 2000 a month, or 24k a year. If you stay home for four years, you will cost yourself a hundred thousand dollars. Plus lost benefits and retirement contributions.  If you're buying daycare it'll run you anywhere from 600-1200 a month, or up to 10K a year.

    The new clothes for you is a real expense; bank on having to buy a fair amount of new clothes for you.

    Formula is about 130 a month; diapers and wipes are 120 a month; so 250 a month for the first year which is 3000 the first year; thereafter, no formula, so 1500 a year for the next two years.

    It's a lot of money.



  •  Broken down per month for first year:

    Daycare: $400
    Food: $20 (breastfeed and eats babyfood)
    Clothes/month: $25
    Savings: $100
    Pictures: $25
    Toys: $20
    Gear: $200 (furniture, carseat, stroller, etc)
    Family Insurance: $250 (up from $120 for couple)
    Co-pays/Well-Baby: $10
    Diapers: $20

  • For us when ds was a baby:

    Daycare $170 a week so $680 a month

    prepaid college plan is $364 a month for 60 months

    diapers (LUVS brand) was about $30 or $40 a month

    Formula (I breastfed and supplemented with formula) was $15 a can and about a can every 1 1/2 to 2 weeks so roughly $40 a month

    drs appointments galore in the beginning so tons of copays...about $30 a month.

    wipes, clothes, toys, etc about $50 a month or so.

    So in the beginning we spent about $1200 a month.


    Ds is almost 3 and daycare is now only $145 a month, but he eats a lot more now and uses pull ups which are way more expensive than diapers so we still spend a chunk each month....scary to look at really :o)


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