Associating costs to children isn't a nice way of viewing a new cute baby but it may be a good idea for many. Sadly, people in many countries need to figure out if they can afford children at all. I also hear this question often, how different will my economy be the first few years of my baby's life? Each family is individual but my experience is how expensive (or cheap) a child's life will be depends greatly on lifestyle. Roughly speaking, living a
boring non-eventful life without much fun, will make a child seem expensive. Being used to a life with more "fun", not necessary a luxury life, will probably decrease overall family expenses after having that wonderful new baby.
It's very unfortunate that money plays a role in having children but that's the way it is. It plays little role here in Sweden, where we have few poor people and a great support system, but a large role in most other countries. Looking at family finances, preferably before having a child, is also a sure way of having less arguments and nasty surprises.
A baby needs very little, almost nothing, during the first couple of years. It's possible to get by on little. Breastfeeding, some basic clothes, clothes diapers, and little more. But living comfortably with a baby in a modern society is a different thing. Car seat, stroller, more clothing (perhaps winter clothing as well), diapers, crib, etc. The list can be made endless.
According to Swedish bank Swedbank, a baby's first year costs roughly $15 000 for an average person in Sweden. But keep in mind this number includes a parent at home on paid paternity/maternity leave the first 12 months. Costs in other countries will be much higher because of health insurance and little or no paid paternity/maternity leave.
For a family who doesn't travel or eat out, have no or few hobbies, purchases little clothes or consumer items, and generally live very simple, a baby might appear expensive. Since the family is doing very little except "living" costs can only go up. There are few expenses to save on since life was fairly uneventful before the baby's arrival. This is not necessary a bad thing but I notice that many families forget about this fact and have little margin for extra expenses. They are shocked when having to buy a car seat, winter clothes, or traveling with the new addition to the family.
Families who have hobbies, like restaurants, travel, and socialize more are likely to encounter decreased expenses for a number of years. How? Travel and eating will not stop but decrease and just this simple change has a large impact on finances. More time will be spent at home with the baby and family dinners are far more pleasant with a cute baby around. Less time is likely spent on hobbiesa nd isntead hoon the baby.
No way is better than the other, the point is to be prepared. A baby is a phenomenal gift but also means sleepless nights, less sex and time for the relationship, little personal time, and a lot more stress. The result if often arguments about money and finances. A child might not increase family costs for many years, if ever, but it's a great idea to look at this beforehand. It will lead to a much happier family and ultimately a happier baby.
What should a family plan for ahead of the baby? Look over insurances (life and health care especially) and start saving money ahead of time if needed. Many families should plan on lots of added expenses during the first few years. If possible, it's also a great idea to start saving for the baby directly after birth. A small monthly amount will mean a fairly decent travel/education/car fund when the little one becomes a teenager.
Have a nice weekend
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