What It Costs to Have (and Raise) a Kid

Published on: Nov 25, 2019fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
All the Costs of Having a Baby

The Story

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 preggers 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 pegs the national avg at over $12,000 for vaginal delivery and nearly $17,000 for a C-section.  

What if I’m adopting?

It depends where you live and who you wanna adopt. In most states, adopting a baby in the foster care system is free or almost free. The Dept of Health and Human Services found it’s much more expensive if you go through an agency. As in, anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000. Up to $50,000 for an international adoption from certain countries. 

And once we’re home?

The USDA says you’ll spend about a quarter of a mil by your kid's 17th bday. And that’s a nationwide estimate for a middle-income family. It could be much more 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 $230,000 number. And ICYMI, things like tuition and room and board are usually expensive. $20,000 to $50,000-a-year expensive. 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.