Photo by Mat Culpepper
This week, someone sent in a Facebook question to Dave Ramsey, which he answered on his radio show. The question was something like, "My wife and I are thinking of having a baby, but we've heard they cost about $1,000 a month. What do you think about this?"
Dave said a baby could cost a thousand dollars a month if the baby was in daycare. Without giving a specific dollar amount, he answered that he didn't think having a baby really cost that much more a month. Besides, he said having a child is the best investment you'll ever make.
Here's what I would add to what Dave didn't say.
Dear Sir,If you wait until you can spare an extra thousand dollars a month for a child, you'll probably never have one. You'll save your money, but you'll miss out on priceless riches that cannot be measured.
A baby can be as inexpensive or as expensive as you choose. Babies do not need designer nurseries, designer cribs, designer clothes, designer strollers, designer shoes. They need lots of love, which is free.
Certainly there is the initial expense of having the baby. Obstetrical fees and hospital costs for a normal delivery average around $10,000. If you have insurance, many of those costs will be covered. If you don't have very good insurance, or no insurance at all, make no doubt, it will be expensive. But that's where saving comes in. Many people balk at those costs, yet do not hesistate to spend more than that on a vehicle. I'd take the baby any day.
You will receive, as gifts, many of the large and small items you need. The rest can be borrowed from friends, purchased inexpensively at the store, or found in great condition for even less at a garage sale or thrift store.
If you shop sales, clearance racks, and nice second-hand or thrift stores, you can find great clothing for mere dollars. I have found nearly brand new Sketchers tennis shoes for my son for $1 at the thrift store; other shoes and boots I've picked up on clearance at Target for $3.24 (yes, I remember the exact number!). In fact, with hand-me-downs and gifts, many months have passed since I've spent any money on clothes or shoes.
As far as feeding a baby is concerned, breastfeeding in the early days is free. Formula costs more, but there are programs to help with the cost if needed. Jars of baby food are really not that expensive. Mashing up a tablespoon of the sweet potato you're already eating for dinner, or the banana you're having for breakfast, is even cheaper.
Sure, diapers and wipes are an expense. But there are always diaper coupons out there (especially if you register at the company's web sites--they'll send them to you) and sales. Maybe you can skip going out to eat for one meal to make room for the $40 a month (or less) you'll need for diapers.
Of course you'll want to provide a rich experience for your child. But fancy ski vacations, trips to resorts, and buying tickets for lots of events are not a necessary part of child-rearing. Playing games together, running in the yard, talking over dinner, camping in the summer, sledding in the winter, and reading bedtime stories each night are the memories that warm a child's heart and create a childhood to remember. Oh, and they're all free.
So sir, please don't think you're not financially ready to have a baby. You'll have nine months to save up money, if you need to. And then you'll discover how inexpensive and yet how rich babies really are.Share a blessing you're grateful for at Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!