Children & Adolescents Clinic

 Home Parent's Guide

Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0

The Economics of Babies

Babies are expensive! Besides initial expenses (layette, crib, etc.), continuing costs (diapers, food, etc.), and medical costs, you must also consider the costs of staying home with your baby or of child care if both parents work outside the home.

If you decide to stay home and you have been a two-income family, the economic adjustment to a single income can be difficult: you must revise your household budget and also resolve the conflicts that less money may create.

Hints on the Economics of Being a Parent:

  • You may find to your surprise, that it is actually cheaper to stay at home with your baby than it is to go back to work. Click for a worksheet to figure out the relative costs of staying at home vs. going back to work.
  • The saying "A penny saved is a penny earned" is truer than ever; you can use the occasion of moving to a single income as a challenge to budget your finances and to develop financial habits that will enable you to save money.
  • Entertain at home--dinners cost less and there are no baby-sitting fees. Potlucks are no imposition on your guests and mean much less work for you.
  • Baby-sitting coops are a great way to make new friends and will help your baby develop his social skills in relating to other children and to strangers.
  • New parents are great targets for all sorts of promotions. You can expect to be deluged with phone calls, direct mail, and callers. Take your time, and think carefully about whether you really need the products.
  • As with everything else in parenting, things generally go much better if you prepare ahead of time. If you can, use the time before you have the baby to save money, to pay off debts, and to get your financial affairs in better shape.
  • Economics and finances are the source of a great deal of conflict and anxiety in many families. You may want to schedule regular times when you and your spouse can review the family's finances and decide what to do.
  • After you become a new parent, you will need to make out a will. A key provision of such a will is the provision for who will raise your child if something should happen to you. A simple will can be produced by an attorney for approximately $100.
  • If extra income is needed, consider a business out of your home; there are a considerable number of possibilities.

Written by Kate Capage.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems