Can I afford a baby? It’s a question considered for both unplanned and planned pregnancies. Parenting can be rewarding in many ways, but the financial responsibilities of raising a child can be draining.
While the financial burden isn’t the only thing you should consider, you should assess your current financial situation before choosing to parent. But what if you find yourself pregnant unexpectedly? Luckily, there are several options and resources available to help. Let’s discuss the financial commitment of a baby and how you can be best prepared.
Can I Afford a Baby? The Costs Associated with Raising a Child
As with any significant life decision, it’s vital to be prepared and aware of how parenting will impact your financial circumstances. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs as much as $233,610 to raise a child from birth through age 17. That only assesses the costs based on a child’s basic needs. It doesn’t include the average childbirth and prenatal health care costs, which average between $12,000-16,000 for delivery in the United States.
When looking at the statistics from a financial standpoint, the idea of affording a baby may leave you feeling like you’ll never be ready to parent. However, you should assess your options based on more than the financial impact. The financial aspect of raising a child varies from state to state and family to family. Let’s look at the factors that impact the financial obligation you need to consider.
What Should I Do to Be Financially Prepared for a Baby?
Before choosing parenting, you’ll need to consider several factors of raising a child. If you are wondering “Can I afford a baby?,” here are some tips to help you decide:
1. Check Your Health Care Coverage
The first expenses you’ll have will be related to childbirth and prenatal care. Make sure you know what to expect with your medical insurance coverage. Call your insurance company to determine the estimated out-of-pocket costs. Don’t forget to account for deductibles and copays.
You’ll also need to consider the cost of the baby’s medical care after birth. Find out what steps you need to take to register the child as a dependent. If you are employed, look into your maternity leave options. If you don’t have paid leave, check into short-term disability insurance.
If you need help understanding the overall costs of childbirth and prenatal care, Texas Adoption Center can help. We also have excellent financial assistance resources to help cover the costs of medical care.
2. Assess Child Care Costs
Next, you’ll need to consider child care costs. Who will take care of the baby if you plan to return to work? Do you have family or friends willing to care for your child while at work? If not, shop around to find affordable daycare.
Do your best to line up a daycare in advance to ensure your baby has a spot. Choose a licensed provider. This allows you to claim a deduction for childcare expenses on your tax returns. Ask what you will need to bring with your baby to determine additional costs.
3. Think Long Term
While the immediate financial impact is evident, you’ll also need to look at the long-term expenses. Consider the bigger picture. Do you currently have space for a growing baby in your home environment? If not, will you be stable enough to move to a larger home?
If you have a partner, discuss the financial impact of having a baby together. Make sure you are both on the same page. While you may have support and resources now, will that financial assistance continue to be accessible as your child grows? Can you maintain your expenses long-term?
Anticipate any significant purchases you’ll need to make. Don’t feel pressured to spend money unless it is absolutely necessary. For example, having a larger vehicle may be more convenient, but is it essential?
4. Start Saving
If you choose parenting, start saving now. One of the best ways to prepare is to save as much money as possible before the baby arrives. Reduce excess debt wherever possible. If you are currently working, pick up extra shifts where you can. As long as you’re feeling well, it’s best to work hard in the beginning so you can take time off as you get closer to your delivery.
Wait until after birth to purchase a lot of “stuff.” Of course, you’ll want to shower your baby with all the latest toys and gadgets, but do they really need it? Waiting to purchase non-essential items gives you a chance to get to know your baby. You’ll buy things they’ll use instead of items they don’t like.
Explore all your options for financial assistance. Take advantage of as much support as you can and apply for anything you are eligible to receive. If friends and family have maternity clothes or baby gear that they’re willing to lend you, accept their offers. You may also want to consider opening a separate bank account to save.
5. Understand Your Options
“I can’t afford a baby, but I’m pregnant.” If you find yourself with this thought and feeling as though you simply can’t afford to raise a child, you are not alone. Luckily, you have several options available. For example, adoption services are an excellent option.
Talk with a professional who knows the ins and outs of each option. Texas Adoption Center helps countless women navigate the decision-making process with confidence. We can help you find financial resources to help ease the stress and burden of the expenses. We can also provide you with the vital information you need to make the best decision for you and your baby.
Essential Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing Parenting
Now that you know the financial expectations of having a baby, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you have the means to afford the expenses?
- What is your work’s maternity policy?
- What type of health coverage do you have for maternity services?
- Is the baby’s father supportive?
- Do you have friends and family to help?
- Are you ready to give up your “me time?”
- Are you healthy enough to handle childbirth?
- Are you prepared for the lifestyle changes that come with parenting?
- Are you eligible to apply for any financial assistance?
Contact Texas Adoption Center for More Information on the Cost of Raising a Child
If you have questions or need more information on the overall expense of raising a child, Texas Adoption Center is here to help. With direct access to valuable pregnancy resources, we can help you find the proper support and financial assistance for your needs. We can also discuss your options and connect you with other birth parents for more information on the adoption process.
For caring and compassionate support for all your needs, we’re here to help! Contact us online, shoot us a text, or give us a call at (512) 893-7943.