Thursday, June 14, 2012

How Much Does a Baby Really Cost?

Ok, I found this article, and just had to share it:

How Much Does a Baby Really Cost?

I couldn't agree more.  You always hear these ridiculous figures about how expensive children are.  But that's assuming that parents are buying every little gadget possible for their kids, AND that they're buying everything new.  I read the book Baby Bargains when I was pregnant with Sly.  I would recommend it as a good guide to what baby products are available, and which one might be worthwhile to have.  But you definitely need to take all the cost totals with a HUGE grain of salt.

In this article, the author calculated that it costs about the same as buying a cup of coffee a day to raise a baby.  I haven't done my own calculations, but this seems very believable.

So how is this possible?

- Accept donations from friends and family!  I already have more (hand-me-down) clothes than I will ever need for the baby girl we're expecting, up to at least a year old.  It was the same way with Sly.  Our crib, changing table, stroller(s), high chair (s), baby carrier(s), bouncer, swing, cradle, and innumerable other baby implements were completely free.  As soon as people hear you're expecting, they start emptying out their attics, or scouring the garage sales for you.  It's awesome.  Ask someone to throw you a baby shower if it's your first one - people are more than happy to give you the things you will need.
- Cloth diapers - as I've already talked about ad nauseum, they save you bundles.
- Breast feeding - obviously MUCH cheaper than formula
- Buy second-hand - we've picked up all our books that way (besides ones that were gifts), and most of the toys which we've purchased ourselves (which is a very small percentage)


  1. We're quite a bit more isolated than you guys are. The only true handmedowns we got are things my mom saved from when I was a baby, and a box of clothing mailed from a friend in Michigan. Then we got some new stuff as presents. But the majority of Pippa's clothing we got for free on Craigslist and Freecycle, plus stuff we bought second hand, and then a number of things we did indeed buy new, but always on sale. A baby carrier was a gift, but we had to buy, used or on sale, the crib, playpen, stroller, and cloth diapers. Maybe we're just not well-liked, lol. And medical costs for this pregnancy were high, due to me not being covered by MSP. $1500 at least, and we're awaiting reimbursement which may never come for a further $1500. It doesn't look like that article considered medical costs.

    Still, most of these costs cover all subsequent children. If the next baby is a girl, I don't need to buy a thing. And I'm covered by MSP now, so the medical costs will be zero.

    Still I think it's a mistake to tell people to count on getting more than they need from others. We emphatically have not.

  2. You do bring up a good point about the costs of pre-natal care/labor/delivery. I guess those weren't factored in because the article was more about "baby's first year POST birth". But yes, unless you have really good insurance, those things can be crazy expensive.

    As for getting free stuff from's true, I live in the same city as my entire extended family and many friends/acquaintances. I forget sometimes that not everyone is lucky enough to have so many connections live so close to them. Also, it would also depend on the relative timing of your baby's birth in comparison to other babies with those same "connections" - Sly was the first grandkid on both sides, so probably got spoiled more than he would have. Also, I had several cousins who are 4+ kids in, and looking to unload some excess baby crap.

  3. I live in a place with a large Catholic homeschooling community- I would suggest getting yourself on the e-mail list of your 'park day'- even if you don't plan on homeschooling- these will be great moms and kids for your children until 1st grade and usually the moms trade baby and toddler items (just always check for broken parts and recalled items)

    also NEVER say no to hand-me-downs- just have a black garbage bag ready so that you can immediately 'goodwill' items you don't need and have labelled bins ready to organize items for the future- in my experience, if I don't deal with things immediately, it becomes frustrating clutter

  4. We received a lot of baby items too. In fact, we received SO much that we gave half of it away before our first baby was even born! I have to agree though that medical costs are really the worst part of it all. We have owed over a thousand dollars to hospitals/doctors after each birth.