We all have heard the fact that raising a child from birth to 18 costs over $200,000. In 2017 the average cost of raising a child with a middle-class lifestyle to 17, not 18, 17 is $233,610. I have also heard this depends on the area you live in (college not included). Thank you mom and dad, love you both (make sure to thank your parents too). In this post I will mention how to save money with a kid.
However, while you do need to pay for medicine, food, diapers, etc, I have seen that most of the costs of children are by decision. I have mentioned many ways to save with your child in a previous post, in this post I will go into further detail of how to save money with a kid.
First Birthday Parties
I brought this up before. However, I have come across a situation in which I feel like I need to emphasize on how you should save money by not throwing a first birthday party.
One of my co-workers just had a child and her child is now older than one. She mentioned her family was throwing a first birthday party and her parents and in-laws were apparently trying to one up each other by providing her child gifts. It was apparently dramatic. Even if the first birthday party is free I feel like potential drama is just not worth it. This should be the first step to save money with a kid.
*Sigh* because college is not expensive enough, why not pay for an extra few years (extreme sarcasm notice)? Private high school could cost $13,030 annually and I have heard some may cost as much as going to Harvard. Some argue that this is meant to increase chances of their children going to ivy league schools. However, many people believe that ivy league is losing its edge. I do not know if they are or not. All I know is that many of my colleagues are taking degrees or performing research from some prestigious institutes. It seems like the only edge these schools have is extra money, but maybe they spend it in areas where there is no academic edge like gyms.
Essentially, you could spend as much as parents who send their children to college for just high school where, (let’s face it), most what your child will do is forgotten in only a years. And all for the chance, just a chance, to get into an ivy league school in which will not guarantee their success. I do not see this as a cost that is worth it, especially if you feel financially pinched.
Wait, what? But public school is free, right? Silly me, I forgot the government is full of Mother Teresas who want to give to the poor and make sure our future generations…ok I just laughed so hard while writing this I could not even finish that sentence. You get the point. There is no such thing as free school, even with public schools.
Where does the money come from? Taxes, particularly property taxes. One of the most significant factors in buying a house is school zoning.
My state, the state of Pennsylvania, very heavily relies on property taxes to pay for schools. When my family moved while I was young, my mother constantly told me how if we moved in a fraction of a kilometer differently in either direction I would have gone to a different school. Not a high school, but an ELEMENTARY school. I heard many rumors about the other schools and chances are my parents did too and that probably influenced their decisions. This can be a decision that could add hundreds or thousands to your budget annually. Just avoiding private school will not help you save money with your kid. Do not choose a place too expensive to live just for your child to go to a good school.
When your child can move onto solid food there is not much more advice I can give than my previous budgeting advice. However, if you are a new parent you are at least likely to be worried about baby food. Baby food and formula can be very expensive (much like any other food). However, I have heard of making your own baby food. It can only cost a third of the price as buying jars, you have full control of what your bundle of joy consume, and you can lower your child’s chance of food allergies by introducing your child to the foods with risks to allergies. That is the route me and the missus plan to do when we have kids.
I know this point was made before, but I will keep saying it until it sinks in. GET HEALTH INSURANCE. This is not just required for child birth, although on average that rolls people back over $10,000 according to the Business Insider. That is assuming there are no complications. Before and after birth this can cost over $30,000. I know it sounds expensive especially considering you are just producing a living, breathing, human being (extreme sarcasm notice, it is hard to put a price on that).
Recently my cousins had a beautiful child. They were not even one year old yet they had to be rushed into an ER for reasons I will not disclose. I cannot imagine what was going through my cousins’ head. However, I’m pretty sure saying it shatters your world is accurate.
Do not worry, my cousins’ child is fine. But when all the dust settles from arguably the worst thing that can happen, financial troubles should raise the dust further. Your child may have medical issues, having good insurance will prevent financial harm, but also open options for your sick child.
Yup the notorious diapers. Sorry folks, this is not something you should look to cut back on with a kid. Diapers are a necessity. Babies can go through 10-12 diapers per day their first few months and it does not become much lesser after. As if the potential for infections, allergic reactions, toxicity, are not enough reasons to get quality diapers, a child’s development could be stunted using low quality diapers. Low quality diapers that are not absorbent can stunt a child’s ability to walk according to New York University.
Unfortunately, only 70% of parents can afford diapers whether it is high quality disposable or cloth diapers. Regardless they are a must no matter how expensive they are.
Disposable diapers can cost $750/year. The typical delivery service costs $1,200/year. Wash at home diapers cost $225/year. Cloth is clearly the most affordable option for high quality diapers.
Impact on the Earth
However, not only should you consider the cost to your wallet, you should consider the cost to your planet. Cloth diapers do not have the convenience of disposable diapers, but there is little landfill and fewer raw materials used. However, a Washington Post article showed that according to everything from energy to raw materials cloth diapers alone have just as much an impact on Earth as disposables.
This is because cotton is the primary material and it is surprisingly how high the cost of growing cotton is to the planet. Not to mention the laundry.
That being said, disposable diapers typically take 500 years to decompose. Furthermore, 20 billion are added to landfills each year in the US so these landfills are just filling up.
There are however biodegradable diapers. Some of the best ones are provided by a new service Dyper. They make their diapers out of bamboo, which is much easier to grow than cotton. In fact, I had to clear bamboo at my uncle’s work, several times in a few months. I asked if there was a better way. He said no, my wife said that even if you set concrete over it, the bamboo will grow right through.
They degrade better than most diapers, you can even compost them at home. (They do not recommend using it for food plants though due to pathogens). Not only are they good for the Earth, but they are good for your bundles of joy. Dyper does not treat any of their diapers with any chemicals that either cause rashes or have been found to be carcinogenic by the EPA. (Yeah we need to worry about that for our kids).
The typical diaper delivery service from Dyper costs $64/month, keep in mind this is $770/year, less than the average diaper delivery service. They provide 140-260 diapers/month depending on the size of your child and they are designed to be highly absorbent. They even have algorithms and artificial intelligence to make sure you are properly stocked. If you run out of diapers they will deliver them to you wherever you are. Literally, even if you are on vacation they will send diapers to you within 2-3 days if you tell them.
As if this was not good enough, they are launching a cloth diaper service in July 2019. These diapers are reusable, adjustable, improve with every wash, and have the exact same chemical treatment as their disposables (no harmful chemicals).
On top of the well-crafted cloth diapers they will send you quarterly disposable diapers for when you travel or just need the convenience. It is not out when I published this post so make sure to check in the future.
Dyper is an amazing service which will provide everything you will need to care for your diaper moments and are incredibly flexible. Not to mention they are less expensive than most other diaper delivery services, making it a great way to save money with a kid. Plus the use of dyper will better ensure a healthy environment for future generations.
Everyone’s child is the future of humanity and they deserve and need quality. There is little correlation between quality and price, remember that. In fact, paraphrasing from one of my favorite authors “quality is never cheap, but there is a certain point where the price only pays for prestige and not quality.” It appears that many people confuse prestige for their child’s needs. Distinguishing your child’s needs from desires is how you can save money with a kid while ensuring a life of quality for them while helping you forge your wealth.