How much did your monthly spending increase with a baby? Trying to budget

posted 7 months ago in Babies
Post # 3
1064 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - A vineyard

We had to raise our budget by 300ish. More when we have to replace her clothes every few months. Some of that is because I formula feed. But some of it is the diapers and wipes. We go through a lot of them 

Post # 4
9672 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

A shit ton.

Something that I didn’t consider before we had our daughter were doctors bills. I mean, I thought about it but I never thought she would need to see the doctor sometimes 4 times a month. I have great insurance but our daughter was very sickly for about four months while she was in daycare which required multiple doctors visits which is copay. Not to mention the copay for urgent care which is more. 

Sometimes that added in an extra $200 to the monthly budget. 

Post # 5
775 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

I live in Saskatchewan which is relatively low COL, especially compared to California. Also minimal healthcare bills since we only have to pay for meds here. But I second what slomotion said, if we had to pay for NICU + therapy + alllllll the follow up doctors visits we would be adding at least $500/month.

In reality we’ve added a total of $800/month. That’s $350 for part time daycare, $250 for formula/baby food, $100 that we put by for any expenses like clothes or toys or baby gates/baby proofing stuff (this adds up so we can spend a larger amount each time we need to go up a size in clothes or something else), $50 (ish) in increased electricity and heat, and $50 for medicines. We only have to pay $25 per month per prescription, so this could easily be larger depending on your insurance. We cloth diaper so that saves money, and water is included with rent. Otherwise utilities will go up even with disposable diapers since you will be doing laundry all the time. Plus it was about $1500 in start up costs like furniture, cloth diapers, etc. And even with all this, we still have to shop second hand for all clothes, skip purchases/strategically budget often, and buy the cheapest options available. It works for us, but not everyone would be happy this way, and I would suggest another $100 to $150 a month just for discretionary spending of new clothes or being able to pick up something you find without having to check the budget is important to you. 

Post # 6
1764 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

The switch from a couples health insurance plan to a family plan was huge for us.  Especially since I left my low-paying teaching job to stay at home, and they had paid for 80% of our health insurance.  My husband’s company will only pay for a single person plan.  I looked at my husband’s w2 this year and I think it said 19k was withheld for health insurance.  We also opened up a life insurance policy because that now mattered more to us more than before.

Aside from that, we didn’t have many added expenses right away.  I exclusive pumped so my daughter’s food was free.  We received tons of clothes and diapers as gifts.  Anything we did spend on that stuff was offset by not going out to eat etc as much as before.  My daughter never got sick in that first year.   I did spend a bunch on new clothes for myself since my body shape was entirely different while I was breastfeeding, and none of my clothes fit at all. 

When my daughter was 9 months old, she was diagnosed with food allergies.  Now she is 2, and we buy a lot of fresh fruit and veggies for her, and also special prepackaged allergen free food.  That stuff is crazy expensive.  Also I spend a bunch on entertainment things, like a zoo membership and going on the Polar Express.  

My dog developed epilepsy when I was pregnant, and we spend tons on the 4 medications that have kept her seizure free for years now.  You just never know what random stuff can pop up.  It is so hard to predict.  I would start with the big things like daycare or insurance, and then add some for “fun” stuff and emergencies.

Post # 8
1758 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Diapers and wipes seemed pretty minimal to me to be honest. Wipes are about $10 a month, diapers are about $15-30 a month (newborns go through them faster but the value is better if you buy the big boxes cause they fit more). We did also cloth diaper for a while which helped. We added him to insurance which was about $115 a month. I breastfed so food was free, we only shop for clothes for him twice a year at a church’s awesome local consignment sale, and I usually spend about $150 there. I work nights and watch him during the day so we have no daycare costs. Overall, the most expensive thing for our baby was medical bills. I paid for a midwife out of pocket, and then needed a c section so we only just paid off his delivery: and he’s 2! That was $186 a month for a long time. They really don’t need much, and shopping secondhand is definitely the way to go since they grow so quickly. If you have medical and childcare costs definitely covered, they can be as inexpensive as you want to make them

Post # 9
222 posts
Helper bee

I very much wish I could offer the same level of help as the momma bees on the site, who’ve all given great insight, but just want to say that I commiserate with you as a fellow Southern Californian! I’m also not looking to have kids very soon, but I definitely want to within the next 3-4 years and I have also just started thinking about a budget related to kids as well :/ 

Post # 10
116 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

There are a lot of differences between areas on certain costs. We are in a hcol area, but nowhere near comparable to southern california. (east coast near philadelphia).

Daycare for 1 infant: 1200/mo (we got lucky, it can easily run 1600-1800 a month here.) Goes down as they get older, at almost 4, she’s now 850 a month.

Healthcare: We don’t take her to the doctor unless she’s really sick. Even the first year she probably went at most 1x a month for a $25 copay. It was not a large jump from couple to family insurance.

Food: We had major feeding issues with our first so she was 100% formula fed. We did the costco kirkland formula which ran us about $80-100/mo. Even as they get older you have “kid snacks” which probably add about 30-40 a month to our budget especially in the summer when we are out and about all the time.

Diapers: Amazon Prime Family subscribe and save: averaged $25-30/mo for a box of diapers. We got lucky and she stayed in size 1s until she was almost 6 months and was in size 2s until almost 2. (This is rare.)

Wipes: Costco sold the huggies ones in bulk on sale for about $20. We needed one bulk box about every 4 months for the first 2 years.

Clothes: tons of hand me downs and would do the mommy consignment sales and occassional new outfits on sale: probably 30ish a month averaged out over a year. It’s worst now than when she was little. Shoes are a killer. She needs a new pair roughly once a month for 25-30 each time. She is a rough and tumble almost 4 year old and destroys them. 

Toys: its a weak point, we spend about 200 on her at christmas and 200 at birthdays. Easily another 20-30 a month the rest of the time. That actually didn’t kick in until she was older. Infant years, we spent less than 50 on christmas and birthdays. But there are other things we buy that are expensive. Her swing set for example was about 900. 

Misc. Infant stuff: we went through an absurd number of bottle brands before finding one she liked. She rejected doc browns, avent, nuk, all the expensive ones. Loved the gerber $3 for 3 botttles. When we switched to a convertible seat, we had been gifted one, but had 2 cars so had to buy one (that was like 200.)

Activity fees: we did little gym and gymboree at different times and now does dance and soccer. These tend to run 80-150 a month plus expenses (outfits and shoes for dance.)


Not counting the one time cost things (swing set, extra car seat etc.) we were easily spending 1700 a month on her but there also had to be room in the budget for the 1 time cost things. We had this space in our budget, so this is what we spend, there are lots of room to cut back when you need to (you don’t have to spend that much on toys/clothes, they don’t have to have a swing set, you don’t have to sign them up for activities) so there are lots of areas to cut if need be. I have found overall food costs went up when she started eating. We buy higher quality meats, dairy, fruits and veggies. And the extra mouth to feed when we go out to eat does add up as well since kid meals are $5-10 usually depending on days of the week and the specials they have.  Travel costs go up as well. We have extra theme park tickets to buy, extra plane tickets, bigger rental cars are needed (can’t fit a car seat in some of the compact cars). Overall, every budget category will go up at least a little bit. 

Post # 11
2552 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

We’re having a baby in July. Currently planning approx $1200 a month for daycare expenses. Hoping I can breastfeed but if not an additional few hundred for formula. And an additional few hundred for misc things like baby items, medical bills, etc etc.  so probably around $14-1600 a month. We also pay another few hundred for my son who is in elementary.  

Post # 12
7452 posts
Busy Beekeeper

keikochan :  our biggest expense is daycare, but otherwise she hasn’t had a massive impact on our monthly budget yet (she’s 19 months). The start up costs are significant but we were gifted many things which helped. Diapers and wipes are maybe $25/month (I buy in bulk and on sale so that’s an average), and I breastfed so after the initial start up costs of pumping supplies her food was free for the first 6 months, although she needed a little formula supplement at the beginning while my supply took it’s sweet time coming in and that was enough to make me never want the expense of formula feeding full time if I could help it.  I made my own purees and now she eats what we eat for the most part so I’d estimate the grocery bill is up $10-15/week. 

Her clothes, toys, and books are all gifts or hand-me-downs which has been a massive money saver. If I had to pay for clothes I’d add a couple hundred dollars per size to replace her warddrobe as she grows. My husband and I had a family plan already so her birth didn’t change our healthcare costs. But she’s had a fair number of doctor visits at $20/pop. 

We set aside money for college, but that’s optional and you need to make sure your own retirement is funded first before saving for college. If you’re able to budget $500/month for college then realistically if your kid ends up being more expensive than average you can slow down the college savings for awhile. 

Post # 13
7865 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Our regular expenses haven’t actually changed that much because we used to eat out a ton and now we don’t, so the eating out money now goes toward diapers and other baby crap. Also, we inherited a ton of baby clothes, which has been a huge help.

But, the hospital and doctor bills from the birth and a few unexpected medical issues baby had in the beginnng took a major toll. The birth cost us about $4500 in cash between my expenses and the baby’s, with another $500 or so piling up since then in random doctor visits. We have a high deductible plan that reset six weeks after dd was born (yay November baby, humph) though so maybe that wouldn’t be the case with you.

We’re not paying for childcare at the moment so obviously that would be another massive expense, but we’re hoping to swing it without for the forseeable future.

Post # 14
494 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

We’re in the Midwest and I’d say we spend around 2600-3000/ month on our kids. We have In home nanny care- and that’s a huge cost- but we needed the convenience for our work schedules. We also chose to use pampers diapers and wipes- which are pricier than some other brands and have to use a specific sensitive formula (breastfeeding didn’t work out long term for either of our kids) they runs like 40 bucks a container. 

We amazon prime a lot of stuff like others have mentioned- so that’s some savings, and I do occasionally shop second hand for things (our third kid due in July will likely never have new clothes). Our oldest will begin preschool next year- that’s another 3500 for the year. So I’d also take a look at school costs (public versus private etc) because just as you recoup savings in no more formula and diapers, school begins 😄

Post # 15
9815 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

The most expensive things are childcare and healthcare.  So research your daycare costs (or whatever your plans are) and healthcare premiums plus extra for health costs.  I live in a lower COL area and paid $496/wk for a 4.5 year old and 2 year old. I do pay for activities for my oldest which are $90 for swim and $52 for gymnastics a month.  We do buy some memberships each year but it’s a yearly fee, not monthly ($200/zoo, $50/farm, $100/learning-science place, $50/play museum).  Sure, food and other costs co up but it’s more minimal- $50/mo?.  We are all relatively healthy so I really only spend $1k-$1500 a year outside of premiums for healthcare (most of this are sick visits, urgent care visits, and recently we needed glasses for my oldest so spent around $400 there).  I definitely spend more on clothes than most but I can’t help myself lol.  I do re-sell on facebook b/s/t groups and usually recoup 50% of my costs or more.  I really don’t buy many toys outside of birthdays and holidays, mostly because I hate the clutter.  We have plenty just from those occasions and maybe occasional things I find (1-2x a year).

I know you said you have budgeted for college costs.  I am generally of the opinion that you should be maxing out your retirement (or close) before heavily focusing on college costs so I would definitely make sure you are doing that first.  

Daycare, healthcare will be your biggest expenses by far.  And the most important aside from housing and cars.  Everything else can be more or less worked around as needed I think.

Obviously there is some upfront initial investment as far as newborn items (cribs, bottles, etc) and the birth (I paid $3k OOP for each kid).

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