According to the USDA, the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 (not including college) has risen to $222,360 for the average middle income American family. Luckily all that cost doesn't kick in at the very beginning. But there will be expenses, both large and small, that you may want to figure into your monthly budget when preparing for that new arrival. While it's so much more exciting to shop for baby accessories than go over your budget, a few hours of careful preparation over the course of those months can help prevent a slide into debt for parents.
Up first, medical expenses...Research with your insurance company and doctor or midwife the costs for prenatal care, prenatal testing and delivery may be and what portion is covered by health insurance. Even with very good insurance coverage, you may find that there are extra expenses beyond your co-pay for your visits and some prenatal testing may not actually be covered by your insurance. Ask what tests they offer, decide what you would like and then check with your insurance company to see if it is covered or how much is covered (your doctor's office can give you the code that your insurance company will need to check your coverage).
Delivery expenses can exceed what your insurance allows leaving you with thousands of dollars in medical bills while trying to enjoy your new bundle of joy. Many doctors' offices now require payment for certain portions of delivery expenses prior to your first contraction (mine states it is due by your 28th week). Be sure to find out what their payment requirements are so you aren't headed into your third trimester with hefty medical bills looming over your head and not a single item for your nursery. While you have the insurance company on the phone, you may want to check the cost of things like a private versus shared room and how long they cover your stay after the baby is born.
$222,360....has it sunk in yet? WOW!
For the month of February we are going to focus on keeping your family organized. We'll address topics from staying organized while pregnant, getting organized for baby and simple ways to teach your kids to help keep your house in order.