What It Costs to Have (and Raise) a Kid

All the Costs of Having a Baby
Mar 17, 2021

It's a good thing babies are cute. Because the price tag...not so much. Here are the costs you can expect when you're expecting, from getting pregnant until they're on their own.

Take it from the top. 

Expenses start piling up as soon as your bun's in the oven. Even earlier in some cases. Think: doc visits, ultrasounds, blood tests, etc. Then there are all the little things, like prenatal vitamins, maternity clothes, birthing classes, and a nine-month supply of Ben & Jerry's.

Related: The Cost of Fertility Treatments

I hear the whole birth thing is expensive, too. 

Costs vary widely by location and insurance coverage,  but recent data puts the national average out-of-pocket costs between $5,000 and $11,000 for complication-free vaginal delivery at the hospital — even with health insurance.

What if I'm adopting?

It depends on where you live and how you adopt. Fostering to adopt could cost around $2,500 depending on your state and programs. And frequently, you receive government assistance while the child is under the foster system. Adopting through an agency can be much more expensive. By some estimates, anywhere from $25K to $45K, depending on the country you adopt from. 

And once we're home?

The USDA says you'll spend about $270,000 (adjusted for inflation) for your kid's first 18 years. And that's a nationwide estimate for a middle-income family. It could be much more (or less) depending on your address and lifestyle.

Whoa, baby. 

Definitely not cheap. Here are a few ways that could hit your budget:

  • You might need a bigger pad to accommodate your growing family. That probably means bigger electricity and utility bills, too.

  • If you're heading back to work, expect to shell out at least 10% of your income for childcare

  • Adding another person to your health insurance plan. And covering any extra out-of-pocket fees. 

  • One-time expenses like a stroller, and ongoing ones like wipes. Plus more long-term impacts to your clothing and entertainment spending. Including things like art classes and sports equipment down the line. 

Related: How I Budgeted for a New Baby

I notice you haven't mentioned college.

It's not included in that $230K. And ICYMI, college is usually expensive. As in, about $25K to $53K a year for tuition, fees, room, and board. If you plan to chip in, a 529 plan can help. That's an investment account where your cash money grows tax-free. You won't owe taxes on withdrawals, either – so long as the money's used for qualified education expenses.

Related: The Best Investment Account for Every Money Goal

Please tell me that's everything.

Almost. Financial experts suggest that new parents get life insurance to protect their kids from facing big bills if something bad were to happen. Knock on wood...then add a new line item to your budget. Monthly premiums are usually between $30 and $50 for the young-ish and healthy.


You're not the only one making a commitment when you have a kid. Your wallet is, too. Some financial family planning can help you spend less time whining and more time picking a good name and decorating the nursery.

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