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Costs of Parenting

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Between $144,000 and $290,000. That's how much it is estimated that it will cost to raise a child through the age of eighteen according to the Department of Agriculture. That doesn't even count the cost of college. Who knew it could cost so much to raise one small baby? When you begin to take into consideration the cost of college, you could be looking at another $65,000 to $134,000, at least, depending upon whether your child goes to a public university or private university.

While the costs of parenting can obviously be staggering, most parents manage to make it and raise not just one child but in many cases, multiple children. How do they do it?

It must be taken into consideration that while the total cost of parenting is expensive, it doesn't hit you all at once. Beyond the hospital bills associated with the birth, in the early days the largest expenses you will face are the costs of diapers and possibly formula if you are not nursing. Baby gear, such as cribs, car seats and strollers, can be expensive, but many new parents are helped with these needs by family and friends. Overall, you should plan to spend a minimum of about $500 to cover the cost of baby furniture and gear.

When it comes to diapers you should plan for an outlay of about $25 per week, if using disposables. If you choose to use cloth diapers, the initial cost outlay will be much more expensive but you will be able to avoid repetitive costs, unless you choose to use a diaper service. High-quality cloth diapers will typically run about $300 for a good supply to get started with. Once your baby is a few months old you may need to purchase another supply of larger diapers unless you have chosen a "one-size" style of diaper which grows with your child.

In terms of feeding your new bundle of joy, if you are nursing, your costs will be considerably less than if you are bottle feeding, although some women do need to supplement with formula from time to time. If you are bottle feeding your baby, he or she will require different amounts at different stages up through age one, but you should plan to spend a minimum of $150 per month on formula; depending on your baby's needs and the type and brand of formula that is most suitable for your baby. Some babies can only tolerate certain brands of formula and if that happens to be a more expensive brand then the total cost will naturally be higher.

Many parents find that they actually do not need to spend a lot of money on clothing for their new baby during the first year due to the generosity of grandparents and baby showers that are likely to be offered.

If both parents are working daycare is another cost that will need to be taken into consideration unless you are fortunate enough to have a family member that will care for your baby.The cost of daycare can vary greatly based on your geographic location and the daycare in which you enroll your baby. At a minimum, you should plan to spend between $350 and $1,250 per month in daycare costs.

You should also take into consideration the cost of health insurance for your new baby because your health insurance premium will rise accordingly. During the first year of your baby's life he or she will need several well-baby checkups and immunizations which can become quite costly if you do not have insurance. Check with your insurance provider to find out how much of an increase you can expect.

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