A husband and wife can live fairly comfortably in a one-room apartment sharing basic food and transportation costs. But all of this changes when a baby is added to the family.

Suddenly, certain things like renting an apartment or taking the bus do not seem to be as palatable. The mentality of “Keeping up with the Joneses” arises with a family. The two-seater sports car is replaced with a mini-van. Parents must plan ahead to care for their new family members from 0 to 18 years old.

Immediate Expenses with Birth

A new baby will force a family to buy a whole new class of items: diapers, wet naps, formula, cradle and stroller. Parents must purchase outfits and blankets to bring to the hospital after the birth. Unfortunately, many clothes are only good for a few years or even months as the newborn grows rapidly.

Weekly recurring expenses with a new baby may include food, baby oil, diapers and wet naps. Depending upon the lifestyle of the parents, this could add about $50 to $100 easily to the weekly grocery bill. Babies cannot eat all of the same foods or handle the same products as adults. This leads to more expensive, safe and baby-friendly products and services.

Do you want a foldable stroller with plenty of pockets and cup holders? A stroller can range from $50 to $1,000 easily. A crib will run from $300 to $1500 depending on how fancy you want it to be. Add a baby cam for monitoring and it will be $300 more.

And don’t forget the hospital bill. Mother might not be able to work for months thereafter. The family must pay for the recovery of mom and the basic needs of your newborn. Depending on the severity of the delivery, hospital bills could easily range from $4,000 to $10,000.

Toddler Years

So, the first week, you have your newborn, you may have spent some $20,000 already. Baby showers are great because mothers realize how much it costs to raise a child - offering good advice and merchandise to facilitate the baby’s development.

We have not even mentioned toys yet. Books, building blocks, dolls and how about those bouncy baby chairs. The bouncy baby chairs can easily cost $300 if you have one with all the cool sounds and hanging accoutrements. As your baby grows, he or she will quickly outgrow the old set of toys. You might spend $500 on toys ever year.

Babies need their own eating furniture and utensils too. Buying a new baby bottle, cleaning basin, bowls, spoons and dishes will create a whole set of items just for your child. Add a high chair, which can cost from $50 to $400 easily, and your baby is ready to eat with the rest of the family.

School Days and Puberty

As your child stays at home, he or she can run around in diapers or wear a limited set of clothes. Once school starts, expectations will be higher. How much will brand new school clothes run you every year - $200 to $300 maybe? How about backpacks, lunch boxes, pencils, notebooks and you know kids need their own smart phones, right? Smart phones might run you about $500 before you add in the contracts.

Did you add your child to your family insurance plan? How much do dental and doctor bills cost? A new set of braces might cost you $3,000, if you are lucky. And you probably moved to a new house with a room just for your child. You also may need to pay for babysitting and child care services.

Once puberty arrives, your child will be getting more independent. And more independence means more money. Soon, you’ll have to pay for mobile phone bills, transportation costs, and teenage entertainment, food, and drink.

Top Estimates for Child Costs

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has estimated that in 2013, the cost for raising a child up to the age of 18 was $245,000 for the average American family. Of course, this depends on the cost of living in your area. Raising a child can be expensive.

While a child of 18 is officially an adult, many parents will help their children pay for school also. The United States government has certain student loans directly aimed at parents. A wise family plans ahead for these costs by maintaining a strong financial budget.

Good Credit Score Improves Debt Outlook

Financial experts suggest that a family should prepare for a new child by creating a number of financial funds. One is the rainy day emergency fund. Disasters can strike at any moment. Parents need to ensure that they always have money set aside for their children’s needs.

The college fund is also one of the most important financial investments that a parent can make. It pays to start early. Many banks will offer special rates for a child’s college fund. The average tuition for a private college is about $30,000 per year. Most children cannot find enough work to pay for books, tuition, room and board.

While balancing their budgets, parents must also keep their financial house in order. The credit score has become one of the primary ways to measure the creditworthiness of individuals. Find out what your credit score consists of to make sure you can maximize this valuable financial rating.

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