Living on one wage with a baby

posted 1 year ago in TTC
Post # 2
166 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I’m pregnant with my first right now so I have no actual experience in this area but my first thought is that you guys will be more than fiiiiinne. To me the biggest areas I’d be concerned about are cleaning up debt (which it sounds like you have none – so that’s awesome!) and making sure health insurance is solid. I’m told that in the beginning babies don’t cost that much and so much of the major stuff they need will be gifted to you anyway, so expenses will increase gradually over several years rather than dramatically all at once. At least this is what I tell myself to calm down as I contemplate leaving my job and going down to single income for the first few years til I can get freelance gigs together. You guys sure sound like you have it together! 

Post # 3
1494 posts
Bumble bee

Calculate your total household monthly expenses (adding what you think you’ll reasonably need for the new baby) × how much time you think you’ll be off work and then add 10% or so for incidentals/ surprise expenses and that’s how much it’d be good to have saved. That would prepare you in case something happened with your husband’s salary or any other surprises.  

Post # 4
561 posts
Busy bee

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sbl99 :  if it helps, in Canada you get ~$500 from the government per month to use for a first baby (making considerably less than what you guys must be bringing in to save such an amount). 

Once the initial setup is done I don’t think we ever spent more than that in a month. We didn’t need formula, which was a nice savings.

I think you guys will be fine!

Post # 5
9289 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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sbl99 :  if his income can cover the basic costs of living then I think that should be plenty. If you need to draw down that savings to replace your income then I’d make sure it will last a year plus an emergency buffer given your time off/job situation.  Barring any medical complications and daycare costs babies are really as expensive as you want to make them. If you end up needing specialty formula or the crazy expensive diapers because the rest give your kid a rash then it will add up, but if you can nurse and use cheap and/or cloth diapers it’s pretty cheap. 

Post # 6
104 posts
Blushing bee

If you have the type of income where you can save $100k before having a child, you wil be fine. If something unexpected happens, you could always go back to work earlier if needed, and the fact that you are able to easily save six figures means that you are educated and likely resourceful and hard working, and people like that just figure sh*t out and make things work. 

I had $60k in liquid assets and additional in retirement and investment accounts when my son was born, but every penny of that $60k was spent on his adoption. So I had zero liquid assets. I figured since I had a good income I would quickly replenish my savings. And then when he was three months old I lost my job. 🤦‍♀️ But despite me being pretty broke, I landed on my feet and 9 years later my life is crazy good. 

Do what you can to plan but don’t obsess over what you can’t control. If life throws you a curveball, you will figure it out!


Post # 7
577 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: City, State

That sounds like plenty to me. We’ve been living on my husbands wage and what we’ve saved since about Aug 2019, when my paid mat leave ran out. We’ve survived on far less savings than what you’re estimating – and we have two rental houses and car loans to pay on top of the mortgage. Most of the big expenses occurred before the baby was born, when I was still working full time. I suggest making sure you buy car seats, cot, pram etc while you’re still working, and I don’t think you’ll have any problems.

Good luck with TTC!

Post # 8
4961 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

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sbl99 :  a lot of bees don’t realise you are an aussie bee and the information they give you might not be too relevant to your situation.

We are TTC this year too and are planning to drop down to one income for at least the next 4 years or so. We don’t qualify for anything by way of government assistance because while our job income fits within the parameters, we own rental properties which give us extra income that push us out of the bracket. If we went the daycare route we’d get bubkus and it will cost us practically my whole daily earnings to have one kid in daycare. (I’m not complaining though we held off on kids to be financially stable enough to drop to one salary. Rather be in our position than not)

From what I remember of your previous posts, you guys are relatively big earners too. You’ll be fine on one salary for a while. You’ll just need to be more mindful of what your budget is and may have to do without or minimise little luxuries. Kids stuff can cost however much you really want to spend on it. You can shop at best and less or kmart or you can do David Jones and the icandy prams. A lot of people raise kids on a lot less.

I’d recommend that you guys get income and life insurance. It cost a lot but it’s definitely worth it especially if you are dropping down to one income and still have a mortgage. I’d also not count on earning an income whilst pregnant. You could have end up being one of those people that have a high risk pregnancy and may have to opt out of work way before you would have planned to. If you really need those extra few months of work to replenish your saving and hit your goal, I’d hold off on TTC until you are  almost at your goal. 

I also think 50k to 100k in emergency money will see you through a few years of living on one income. It’s not like the USA here. We have highly subsidised healthcare, medication and education. If life throws you massive curve balls we still have a buffer provided by the government by way of assistance. You guys are not on the bare bones of your bum so as long as you pay your private health insurance and get life/income/car/house insurance you should be able to weather any storms that may decide to come your way in the next few years.

I’d just sit down and over the next four months and track your spending. Keep every receipt and work out how much you spend on necessities and incedentals. Then work out the cost of extras and decide what you can’t live without and come up with a reasonable budget. Research the cost of stuff like nappies, formula, activities you may like to participate in with baby like gymbaroo, swimming classes etc. Add on the cost of an extra person living in your house by way of water, gas, electricity costs and you should be able to work out roughly what amount you’ll need every month to live. 

I honestly though think you’ll be fine with what plans you have in place for the next few years. I’d also consider dumping your husbands bonus straight into the mortgage this year. 20k off your mortgage is a lot and will save you in the long run. 

Post # 10
1091 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

Another Aussie bee here. I am a Stay-At-Home Mom and have been since Dec 2016 as once I was looking at going back after 12m I got pregnant again and was sooo sick so didn’t want to start a new job in that way so my second has just turned 1 and I am still home. My husband earns a pretty good salary compared to a lot of people we know so we have survived ok with me just doing a little bit of contracting work for extras- only about $800 a month so not much but covers special occasions, hair cuts, presents etc. I personally don’t think children are really that expensive in the first few years especially if you are home and have no daycare expense. Other than nappies, wipes and a bit more baby snacks in our food shop it’s not been too bad. Plus we go out to eat less and entertain less anyway since kids so that makes up for that gain. We had both kids privately too so that was about $4000 each pregnancy out of pocket and we had nowhere near the savings you have so i think you will be just fine! Good luck! 

Post # 11
1057 posts
Bumble bee

It depends on whether you except to dip into savings during your leave because DH’s income doesn’t cover everything.  If his DOES cover everything, then 6-12 months of your average monthly spending (everything from mortgage to diapers) should be in the bank…..basically enough to give you a good buffer should he lose his job while you’re on leave.  


If you’re expecting to draw from savings during leave, then I would have even more in the bank just to feel safe. 

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