# Calculating the Cost of a Baby

You've decided it's time to grow your family, but where do you begin? Well, we assume you know where to begin, but we are talking about where you should begin planning. Baby proofing, crib building and nursery painting are all steps in the preparation process. But the most important step is making sure you are financially secure.

There are many resources on the web that can predict how much the cost of having a child is. One particularly helpful tool is the Baby Cost Calculator featured on BabyCenter.com. The calculator divides costs into two categories: ongoing and one-time. You can predict how much you will spend based on questions and options under each category.

Ongoing Costs

This category depends on whether you are planning on raising the child yourself, hiring help or enrolling him or her in daycare service. Besides childcare, other costs include:

• Diapers
• Food
• Clothing
• Medicine/first aid
• Toiletries
• Toys/books/etc.
• College savings

One expense that was not included anywhere in the calculator was the hospital bill. The U.S. Department of Labor states that health insurance should cover the cost of childbirth. Drug-induced labor will typically cost extra.  You can enroll in a health plan up to 30 days before birth, but there will still be some costs you will be expected to cover. Unfortunately the plan prohibits coverage for preexisting conditions.

One-Time Costs

Many of these costs are related to ongoing cost items. For example, food is an ongoing cost, but buying bottles, a highchair, or other goods is a one-time cost. Based on the average prices of these necessities the Baby Cost Calculator came up with a one-time cost estimation of \$2,300. An overview of one-time cost items are:

• Gear: infant car seat, stroller, diaper bag, etc.
• Activity equipment
• Nursery
• Feeding
• Breastfeeding
• Bathing/grooming
• Other: safety gates, childproofing supplies, pacifiers, etc.

Overall, you can expect to pay anywhere from \$10,000 to \$15,ooo, on average, to fund the first year of your child's life. Before you decide to add to your family, make sure you have your finances in order and this is something you can afford. Once a child is in your life you will you want to provide as much as you can for them. Having your budget set and organized will make your family's goals much easier.

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