The Cost to Raising a Kid is How Much?

If there is one thing ALL parents can agree on, is that having kids is a big shock to your sleep and wallet!  Am I right? I’m not sure if any of us really had a good sense of how much having a kid can impact ones’ finances; starting with baby gear, birthday parties, daycare costs all the way to university.   Confession, I totally made budgets and spreadsheets when we were getting set to buy a house, a car, go on a vacation, but for kids – nope, nada! I had no idea how much it costs to raise a child, we wanted kids and I figured we would make it work…somehow.  It seems I am not the only one, as the majority of the League of Moms community (90% of you that responded to my Instagram poll) did not budget or really think about the cost of having kids!

Worry not parents as it isn’t too late to get a handle on the finances and actually get on top of them! So where do you start?

Start with THIS handy calculator created by the smart people over at Planswell. The calculator lists all the expenses that you can expect starting with diapers and even the costs of upgrading to that family van or the cost of lost income if you decide to take a maternity leave. When I ran the numbers for myself, it was approximately $370,000 for me to raise my two kids through to university and honestly I think some of my estimates were low! That is a LOT of money, but I figure that’s a bargain for my two cute kiddos (though that does depend on the day). Fun fact; the idea for this calculator came shortly after the CEO of Planswell welcomed his fourth child in five years, and felt as though a tool like this would be extremely helpful! 

Ok, go on now run your numbers, it takes like 10 mins…..

Were yours as scary as mine? Yeah I thought so! 

So what can you do to get stay on top of all those costs? Maybe save some money too? 

Start with a PLAN!  There is power in knowledge.  Do you know how much money you have coming in and how much you have going out? If you are pregnant and planning a maternity leave, then this is so important for understanding how you’ll manage the 12-18 months without that second income. Here is a monthly budgeting tool from Planswell to assist you.  Once you know the numbers, you can plan!  Do you need to reduce your spending? What areas can you reduce your spending in? I suggest looking at your pre-baby budget, maternity leave budget and then post maternity leave budget.  They will each have some drastic differences such a less income during maternity leave and then childcare costs once you are back at work. Also, set goals with your partner, it’s much easier to focus on saving if you have goal in mind! 

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Is it possible to save money as a parent? This a real passion point for me.  I am always looking for opportunities to save money so I can spend money in places that are more meaningful to me.

Work with an Expert: If you have some big financial goals such as sending your kids to university, the sooner you start the better and leveraging an expert is also something you want to think about. I know what you are thinking, ‘I don’t have enough money to work with an advisor!’  Times have changed and financial planning is no longer just for the wealthy. Planswell is an online service that is building FREE financial plans for all Canadians!  From the comfort of your computer or phone you can get a full financial plan that focuses on your goals and helps you figure out exactly what you should be doing with your investments, insurance and mortgage and the best part is the fees are totally transparent and much lower compared to traditional banks or financial advisors. Even if you only have a few dollars a month to save, the team at Planswell can help direct you so that your money works hard for you (cause you are obviously working hard for that money).

Automate your Savings: Set up automatic savings every time you get a paycheque, this way you know you are prioritizing what’s important first!  These funds can be funneled into a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA), Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) or Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) – the financial experts at Planswell can help you decide where it is best to go based on your short and long term goals. 

Second Hand Baby Gear: There is a booming economy of free and low cost second hand gear available through Facebook groups.   (Join your local community group and local parent buy and sell groups). There were a few things I wanted to buy new that I knew would be long lasting like a glider, but I did take (and I still take) all the second hand clothes, toys, books and so on because these items will be stained, broken and torn up by my kids anyways! You can also check out websites like Rebelstork that sells high end second hand gear and Stork Supply for items you can rent if you want to avoid buying things all together.  You can event rent maternity clothes from Sprout Collection! I love all of the above for their sustainability efforts too!

Gifts: People will want to give you gifts! Build yourself a registry of what you REALLY need, like diapers, wipes, groceries, food delivery, RESP contributions – as long as you have different price points so everyone has options. You’ll also be hitting up the birthday party scene too and it’s important to note that you do not need to go to every birthday party (unless you really want to). We go to a few good friends’ parties and politely decline the rest.  When your kid’s party comes around – you don’t need to go overboard here either (though I know it is hard to resist). You can also use online programs like Wish & Give which pools gift money so you can get something your kid really needs or wants and gives 50% of gift money to charity (something you can feel great about).

Cash Back Apps: If you don’t know, now you know! Apps like Rakuten, Check51 and Caddle are awesome for saving money on things you are planning to buy anyways.  I have personally earned over $500 in cash back on these apps.

Get Creative:  Babysitting can be an expensive (but a necessary expense)!  What about trading babysitting with friends? 

Let’s take all take a deep breath – yes the cost to raising a child is steep, but with planning, focus and some help from experts you can do it! Have any ideas we should add to the list? 

Thank you to Planswell for sponsoring this blog post so we can continue to provide League of Moms as a free resource.  All opinions expressed are our own.  If you want to keep up to date with Planswell and the services they provide, check them out on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

Images are courtesy of Unsplash.com

League of Moms / 09/11/2019

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