If you already have a child, you’re well aware that not all expenses can be budgeted for due to the unpredictable nature of kids.
If you’re planning on or are expecting a second baby, congratulations!
This article will discuss what things you need to be mindful of when going from 1 to 2 kids financially, as well as ways to be smart with your money when making such a life-changing decision. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s good to know what sort of financial implications having kids entails.
As stressful as the topic of finance can be, take pride in the fact that you aren’t shying away from the subject. Instead, you’ve decided to embrace the reality of it and prepare for your little one’s future.
Good News, The Second Child Costs Less Than The First
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average cost of raising a child is roughly $233,000 throughout 18 years. That’s not including college.
However, you can take some solace in the fact that while raising a child is inevitably pricey, second children rarely cost as much as first children.
Second-time parents aren’t as focused on purchasing name-brand items as they were the first time around. Also, big-ticket items (strollers, cribs, larger homes, family vehicles, etc.) have already been purchased and are reusable.
Regardless of your income, the key to ensuring that you can financially provide for your ever-expanding family is preparation.
Many of the factors you need to consider are the same as those you thought about when you decided on having your first child. The main difference is that these expenses will co-occur with the costs that your firstborn child continues to rack up.
Financial Considerations For Having A Second Child
Where do you live?
Certain countries are significantly less expensive to give birth to and raise a child than it is in other countries.
Domestically, regional differences in the U.S. vary as well, but not to the same degree.
Be sure to consider the following in your list of financial expenses:
- What is the cost of prenatal care, including OB-GYN appointments, ultrasounds, vitamins and supplements, and blood testing?
- How much of my expenses can I expect my health insurance to cover?
- What is the cost of delivery (vaginal or C-section), medications, epidurals, and hospital stay?
How will another child affect my career?
You may be unaffected in this category if you’ve already decided to focus on being a stay-at-home mom, but in case you haven’t, it’s not a decision to take lightly.
You need to decide what direction to take:
- Do I plan to stay home with my children, work from home, or return to the office?
- Will I need to pay for daycare, babysitting, nannies, or other care services?
- If I don’t choose to go back to work, how does that affect my future job prospect?
- Will my family be able to survive on a single income?
- Am I willing or able to rely on my partner for income for the time-being?
Will my health be impacted by another pregnancy and child?
Every person is impacted differently by pregnancy. Since you’ve experienced pregnancy before, you can estimate what to expect the second time around.
Ask yourself the following:
- Should I expect to take a lot of time off during pregnancy? How sick was I during the first trimester?
- Is there a work-from-home option available?
- Will I require additional medication or doctor appointments to ease the hardship of my pregnancy?
- Should I expect any pregnancy or birth-related complications?
Tips To Make Financially Smart Decisions While Growing Your Family
Now that you’ve thought deeply regarding your personal and financial situation, it’s time to decide if having another baby makes sense for you.
You may feel overwhelmed making such a decision, which is entirely normal! As daunting as it may be, keep in mind that there are ways to save money and make it work. Keep the following in mind:
Invest in high-quality baby items
High-quality items typically come at a high cost. Although it may not be totally obvious at first, it makes sense to spend more on quality the more you think about it. One high-quality stroller will cost less than two mid-quality strollers. Same with toys. Know that infants and children are surprisingly tough on their belongings, making it worth the extra money to have an item that will last as long as your little ones need it.
To find out which items are worth your dollars, take the time to do your research. Read customer reviews, product descriptions, and user manuals to ensure that you pick a product that good for your child.
Take care of your belongings
As mentioned earlier, young ones have no grasp on the how or why of taking care of one’s item to increase its longevity. As a parent, take the initiative to purchase the waterproof shoe spray, store the bicycles indoors, and keep toys packed safely. It’s a mindset you need to get into.
Not only will this help your items last longer, but it will model great habits for your kids. They’re watching you and absorbing more than you think!
Don’t overbuy baby supplies
Society has done an exceptional job of making parents feel like their child needs everything on the market to prosper, and this is absolutely untrue.
Converse with seasoned parents (that you trust) and ask them to share their experiences with certain baby products and their level of necessity.
Write down the list of baby products that you need, and when shopping, stick to the list. I’ll say it again, stick to the list! Be mindful of purchases you already made for your first child, and be diligent in restoring the use of as many of those items as possible.
Have open communication about finances with your partner
This is probably a “duh!” moment, but for a lot of couples, this is surprisingly a taboo topic.
The only people who have a say in whether or not you are ready to have another child are you and your partner. That’s it! Make sure that the both of you are on board.
It can be scary, and the topic itself is often stressful or even uncomfortable. That being said, consider it inevitable. It’s infinitely better to discuss finances before a crisis than in the heat of it.
Talk about the following and do the math:
- Your current income
- Your maternity leave income (if applicable)
- Your partner’s income
- Your current debts
- Your credit
- Your budgeting skills
- Your ability to save money
As long as you know where your finances truly stand, they don’t have to be “perfect” or “ideal.” But they do need to be thoroughly understood at least objectively. Keep yourself as aware as possible of your bank account balance. In this case, ignorance is most certainly not bliss and will get you into real trouble!
How do you get an objective understanding of your finances? Glad you asked.
Create a detailed financial budget
I don’t care if you suck at this or don’t know how to do it. You’ve got to figure it out. Create a detailed budget of your household’s total income and expenses for a month. Don’t leave anything out, and ensure that both you and your partner are completely honest.
Once you’ve done this, evaluate areas to improve on. Start shaving down the dollar amounts to a reasonable but realistic level.
Finally, consider all of the expenses that’ll arise once you become pregnant. Start out with a nine-month plan. You can start marking on a calendar the expenses you foresee and when they’ll occur. For example, you wouldn’t need to pay for size two diapers while seven weeks pregnant. That expense can wait.
If you need assistance with all this, there are some great online baby budgeting printables you can download.
Ultimately, you and your partner will decide whether or not expanding your family is the right choice.
If it is, you’ve got to consider what that means for your family financially.
Each and every family holds a different expectation of what constitutes a necessary expense, and that’s fine. There are plenty of different parenting philosophies.
Just be sure to take the time to evaluate what makes the most sense for your family.