The Costs of Becoming a Mom
The January 7 birth of Blue Ivy Carter, the first child of R&B royal couple, Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z, has opened the floodgates for this year’s baby boom in Hollywood. Next up? Superstars Jessica Simpson and Hilary Duff are both expecting bundles of joy in early 2012.
And what about you? Thinking about starting a family of your own this year? Well, you’d better hold onto your handbag, honey!
Having a baby is a beautiful, life-changing experience. Unfortunately, it’s also an extremely costly endeavour. From maternity clothes to diapers, daycare to college, having a baby is a big investment. If you’re going to be a new parent soon or are planning to have a baby, here’s roughly what you can expect to spend during the nine months leading up to your due date (and beyond).
Prenatal Diet ($100s to $1000s)
Although it’s easy to get excited about the countless things you can buy your newborn, tiny UGGs are not a necessity. Stop thinking about things and instead start investing in your health. Prenatal care is essential both before and throughout your pregnancy. This is what will help ensure a healthy delivery and a healthy baby.
Prenatal vitamins are the building blocks of any prenatal diet. Women of childbearing age (even those who aren’t planning on starting a family) should invest in a standard multivitamin. Find one that contains folic acid (this nutrient helps prevent some common birth defects and is a main ingredient in doctor-prescribed prenatal vitamins). Over-the-counter options cost between $10 and $20. Most health insurance plans should cover any specialty nutrients prescribed by your Ob/Gyn.
Your baby literally depends on your body for essential nutrients, so maintaining a healthy diet while pregnant is critical. As such, expect that your grocery bill might just double. Instead of filling your diet with starchy and fatty foods, opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, and yogurt. Avoid highly processed foods and try to stay away from unhealthy restaurants. This new diet may put a cramp on your budget, but healthy eating is one expense you simply cannot avoid.
Maternity Leave ($10,000s)
Working women should brace for a major pay cut during the first year of motherhood. While some companies offer extensive parental leave packages, most provide only basic coverage that abides by Canada’s Employment Insurance program. As of January 1, 2012, these benefits cover only 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to the amount of $45,900. That’s a maximum of $485 per week.
Capital Costs of Having a Child ($100s to $1,000s)
Cribs, strollers, changing tables, car seats’first-time moms need to purchase a lot of essential care items during the months leading up to their due date. Luckily, there are ways to save when it comes to purchasing these big-ticket items:
- Register for shower gifts. Friends and family members love spoiling newborns with cuddly gifts and clothing. If you’re worried about the costs of purchasing some of the more important items, consider registering for a handful at your local department store. This will help you manage your costs, and provide your family with tons of great gift ideas.
- Stock up on gently used items. Talk to friends, family members, coworkers and neighbours before you start swiping your charge card. Borrowing or purchasing a gently used, but fully functional stroller or car seat could help you cut your capital costs significantly.
The Stuff You Can’t Live Without ($1,000s over an ongoing period)
Babies go through a lot of ‘stuff’’diapers, formula, clothing, toys; the list goes on and on. And while you want your child to have the absolute best, it’s critical that you stop and consider your household budget before you start buying everything at the designer baby boutique. Newborns grow’fast. So don’t waste your money investing in exorbitantly priced outfits. Discount stores and hand-me-down items will look just as good without costing you an arm and a leg. Gently used toys are another great way to keep your budget in check. If you’re environmentally minded, consider investing in washable diapers rather than the expensive disposable variety. Finally, talk to your doctor about formula options. This is one area where you don’t want to be stingy, especially if your baby has special dietary needs.
Looking to the Future ($10,000s)
The two biggest future costs to consider when pregnant are childcare and educational savings. Saving for your baby’s future is somewhat easy, if you can afford it. RESPs (Registered Education Savings Plans) require relatively small but consistent contributions. Automatic deposits will make saving for your child’s college education a no-brainer.
Childcare can be a bit more difficult. In most major Canadian cities, formal daycare can cost as much as $1,000 a month. Home daycares are slightly more affordable, averaging around $750 a month.
Luckily, daycare is a tax-deductible item, so make sure to claim it on your taxes.
Oh Baby, You’re Worth It!
Whether you’re R&B royalty or just a regular first-time mom, it’s important that you take the time to plan your pregnancy, both from a health perspective and a financial standpoint.
Rest assured, you may have to forsake your designer clothes for the price of raising a little one, but you will never doubt that it’s absolutely, unequivocally…worth it.