It’s no secret that raising a child can cost more than you bargained for, but recent studies show that having a baby is more expensive than ever. Samantha Albergo, a patient accountant for Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, estimates that the standard delivery of a newborn alone can cost upward of $32,000 without insurance.
“For a typical delivery (which means a healthy mom and baby with no Neonatal Intensive Care Unit stay) you’ll be billed for room and board, sterile instruments used during the delivery, labs, pharmacy if you get an epidural or any drugs [including post-birth painkillers or anti-nausea meds], the actual labor — meaning the physician delivering the child and nurses assisting — plus other types of diagnostic services, perhaps an ultrasound in the room or any other imaging needed,” she explains.
Parents are already digging themselves into a financial hole and their journey as parents has just begun. While it’s estimated that parents can spend almost a quarter of a million dollars raising a child through adulthood, some locations have proven more affordable than others.
That’s why Alabamians will be happy to learn that Birmingham is officially the most affordable place to raise a child in the United States. When parents are living in this location, they will only pay an estimated $16,383 in their child’s first year of life (discounting delivery costs).
By stark contrast, the average household in Washington, D.C. is expected to pay more than $35,000 on similar expenses. Although Maryland has ranked among America’s top states for high-quality public education between 2009 and 2018, that higher expense amount may not be feasible for all. Considering an engineer’s salary can vary between $50,000 and $150,000 annually, a low-cost living solution could be a lifesaver.
This survey performed by Redfin was able to calculate these costs based on the cost of living, the price of food, and expenses associated with childcare and education in the area. After all, kids eat a lot of food and they need at least 1,300 mg of calcium every day by the time they’re nine years old.
Redfin also notes that the cost of baby items can cost up to $8,000 in the first year alone. These include various products like diapers, clothing, cleaning supplies, and proper baby-proofed tools. Even baby-related items made of the four most common metals can get pricey. Just keep in mind that child-resistant packaging will receive a passing grade if it works 80% of the time. It’s necessary that you invest in child barriers that you can trust to keep your infant safe.
Birmingham wasn’t the only state topping the charts in terms of affordability. This southern state is only a couple hundred dollars cheaper than the second most-affordable place to live: Little Rock, Arkansas. It only costs $16,565 to raise a child in their first year, according to Forbes.
Charleston, South Carolina came in third by a hair on its head. The average cost to raise a child here only shakes out to $16,566.
Even if you live in these affordable states, you still need to adjust your budget when you’re planning on having a baby. You might need to hold off on chemical peels or laser hair removal for a while!
Here are some of the best, simple ways you can save up for a baby in the next few months:
Start saving early: One of the best things you can do as a new parent is to practice living on less before the baby arrives. Navigating a new budget takes time and practice, but you’ll find it’s much easier to cope with the cost of a child when you’re spending money more wisely. Shop at more frugal stores and try to reign in luxurious spending. For example, if you’re spending more than the average person each year on makeup and beauty products, cut your spending down to $144 or less.
Ditch the formula: There are countless benefits to breastfeeding your newborn, but studies have shown that forgoing formula can save you nearly $1,000 per year or more. As you continue to breastfeed your baby, your body will accommodate by making more milk, making formula an extraneous cost. Unless there’s a medical reason why you can’t breastfeed, this is the best (and cheapest) option for your baby in their first year. In many cases, you can also get your insurance provider to pay for a breast pump.
Buy second-hand baby clothes: Every new parent wants to spoil their baby with cute clothing. Unfortunately, these clothes will make their way to the back of the drawer in a matter of weeks. Babies grow out of clothing at lightning speeds, making those expensive baby clothes a bad investment in the long run. Save some extra money by buying second-hand.
Don’t fall into parenting traps: Businesses know that parents want to do what’s best for their children, but some of these companies take it too far. It’s tempting to take your child to a baby yoga class or a swimming class since swimming is the fourth most-popular sport in the U.S. but these costs will build up over time. Cut costs here and thereby forgoing expensive classes and simply introducing your child to the pool own time — and on a free budget.
Move to Alabama: Alabama is known for its beautiful landscapes and friendly people. When you want to make your dollar stretch longer, try following the advice of Redfin and move to the Heart of Dixie.