Tips on family planning costs

May 20, 2009 10:49:59 PM PDT
Children are priceless, but having them is definitely not. Having a baby could put a big dent in your family budget. And you'll want to get off on the right foot for the pitter-patter of little feet.

It's perhaps the greatest investment of all. That's why parenting experts say it's important to know what to expect before you're expecting.

"Well the ballpark figure is about $10,000 per year per kid, so if you add that up for the next 18 years, that's $180,000," said Elizabeth Shaw, Parenting Magazine.

So it may be time to rework your monthly budget to make room for a baby.

"Look at how much you have coming in, where you can cut back and then see where you are. Our basic rule of thumb is that you want to have around 5 to 10 percent of wiggle room in your budget no matter what," said Shaw.

If you work, make sure you know what your options are regarding maternity leave and health insurance.

"If you work for a company that has 15 employees or more, you're going to be eligible for family and medical leave, which guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave and a job when you return," said Shaw.

Don't forget about childcare if you plan to stay at home.

"You need to assess whether or not you can live on one income, so maybe you want to practice doing that for a couple of months," said Shaw.

Ultimately, however, experts say the biggest factor in your decision to have a baby may have nothing to do with numbers and everything to do with what's in your heart.

"You're going to do what's right for you and what's going to make you most happy," said Shaw.


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