The other day my mother casually mentioned when she was my age she was married with a baby on the way — woah. Although I am nowhere near ready to start a family, it got me thinking about what I would need to prepare for one.
My mother grew up at a different time and country, so clearly there were different things to take into consideration when starting a family. No matter what age you are and where you live; it still costs a lot of money to raise a child.
Thanks to the awesome website babycenter.com, I was able to crunch some numbers to see an approximation of how much money you would need for a baby. For the purposes of this article, when asked to input demographics; I said the child would be born in 2011, to two parents earning between $56,300 to $98,500 a year and would be expected to attend a public college.
Here is a table showing the various costs based off regional locations:
Expense Annually City or suburb in the West City or suburb in the Northeast City or suburb in the South City or suburb in the Midwest Rural Area (under 2,500)
Housing $4,670 $4,590 $3,520 $3,730 $2,400
Food $1,891 $2,083 $2,000 $1,931 $1,846
Transportation $1,706 $1,558 $1,538 $1,543 $1,711
Clothing $786 $810 $736 $723 $715
Healthcare $923 $896 $931 $943 $980
$1,956 $3,141 $1,900 $2,110 $1,026
Miscellaneous $1,183 $1,073 $943 $1,116 $1,028
College $18,548 $18,548 $18,548 $18,548 $18,548
Total $310,262 $328,910 $282,416 $291,920 $248,900
Although I am very aware of cost-of-living differences between the Northeast and more rural areas, seeing the cost of raising a child back to back was alarming. If I were to stay in New York to raise my child, I would be paying $36,990 more than if I moved back to the Midwest where I grew up. By moving to the Midwest, I would save approximately $1,681 a year in Chicago, and $3,636 in a rural area.
The website calculated obvious costs like education, healthcare and clothing, but they also looked at things like housing and miscellaneous items. Quite honestly, I never considered the cost to just house a child: added space, higher utilities, extra furniture. Miscellaneous items included entertainment, reading materials and personal care products for your child.
Clearly, when it comes time for me to start a family I will be more financially prepared and luckily, these costs are not lump-sum. I still think it’s important to keep these costs in mind at a young age to start the appropriate savings accounts for the life you want in the future. Considering I am 23, single and living in New York, I think it will be about 80 years before I am actually ready to have a baby, and another 80 before I am financially ready.