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The Cost of Having Another Child

by Ryan Guina

My wife and I recently had our second child – it has been, and will continue to be, an adjustment! I guess after two years you kinda forget the sleepless nights the first few weeks and months. Even though the lack of sleep is difficult, we were a little more prepared this time around. We have the experience of already having raised one infant, so in many ways we knew what to expect. We also live closer to immediate family this time around, which is a big help (my in-laws have been awesome, as have members of our church, who have brought us several meals – thanks everyone!!).

Cost of Having Another Child

Children are expensive, but oh so worth it!

There is a financial benefit of having another baby, as compared to having a first child, and no, I’m not just referring to the child tax credit*! Since we already had one child, we are saving a ton of money by not having to buy a lot of things like clothes, toys, baby accessories, and other items that we had to buy the first time around. It helps that both our children are the same sex, otherwise, we would had to buy some more clothing items. But most of the toys, blankets, and many other items could have been reused.

Our biggest baby expenses so far have been a bassinet (we borrowed one with our first daughter), and diapers. We primarily used cloth diapers with our first child, but our new daughter was born four weeks early, and won’t fit into cloth diapers we already have for a few months yet (she’s so tiny!).

The other area where we are saving money is by knowing what we need and don’t need. Like many first time parents, we ended up spending much more than was necessary with our first child. Being a first time parent is a classic example of “not knowing what you don’t know,” so it’s easy to get carried away buying things that you think you need, but in reality, don’t. Our initial approach was to only buy things as we needed them, so we could avoid that classic trap. It worked out very well for the most part, but we still ended up buying items which we later gave away or donated. I think we are a little wiser in this regard this time around.

Of course, we are also racking up some indirect expenses, as well. Since things are a bit topsey-turvey at the moment, we have been a little more prone to buying prepared foods, or paying a little more for convenience by not shopping at the cheapest stores if they aren’t the closest, etc. Other indirect costs include keeping our home a little warmer throughout the day and evening, so I expect our gas bill will be higher in the coming months. All of these costs are minor in the gran scheme of things, but should be noted if you are already on a tight budget.

Going forward… My wife is a stay at home mom, so for the first few months, I think our biggest baby related spending increases will be limited to consumables, like diapers and wipes, and the occasional health related items. As she gets older, I’m sure things will change even more, with larger expenses for food, clothing, and eventually school, activities, etc. Then of course, you get to the really the big expenses like college and weddings… but those are all in the distant future. For now, I think I’ll focus on enjoying the moment!

*There are some things you need to do in regard to newborns and taxes, including registering them for a Social Security Number, adding another dependent to your W-4 to change your tax withholding, and taking advantage of related tax deductions such as pre-tax medical care, child care deductions, etc. Many of these are on a case by case basis, so be sure to do your research!


Published or updated February 19, 2012.
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Einstein

An economist might say a baby has high fixed costs – the crib, clothes, the bottles and other things that come along with having a child. The second time around, those purchases certainly come back to save you plenty of money.

I think it’s good to have a discussion about the financial reality of having a child. Too often it is said that children cannot be given a price – and I agree – but to some extent it is the responsibility of any parent to plan as best as possible. Accidents happen – hey, I’m probably one of those! – but a little bit of planning goes a long way.

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2 Ryan

Agreed — children are priceless, but raising them isn’t. People should strongly consider the financial impact of having a child well before they decide to have children. And that goes for all children – first, second, third, etc.

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3 Nick

Congratulations, Ryan. We had our second kid in September. First was a boy, second was a girl, so we had some clothes costs, I guess. And we just bought a “big boy bed” for our son instead of converting his crib (we’ll put our daughter in his crib). So it’s cost us a few bucks. But we got a ton of hand me downs and a lot of family gifts that we rarely buy anything.

The diapers and wipes are a few extra bucks for sure, too, especially since Amazon Mom stopped the great deals on diapers last month.

Overall, financially it hasn’t been that bad. Spiritually it’s been pricess, for sure. But two kids are A LOT of work. Way more than double the one kid for us. I wasn’t expecting that…

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4 Ryan

Thanks, Nick. And congrats to you as well!

Our daughter is still in her crib, and out infant is in a bassinet, so we will need to buy a big girl bed too. But we would have had to do that eventually, anyway, so that’s no really a newborn cost, and we probably still have a couple months yet.

We got a lot of hand me downs with our first child as well, which was awesome. And since our second child is also a girl, we should be good for clothes and toys for quite awhile. :-)

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5 Nords

Wonderful news, Ryan!

You’re much smarter the second time around, even with three hours’ sleep. We raised ours on Craigslist, garage sales, and Goodwill.

You’re also much more aware of what’s coming, too. You still have a few years left before your older daughter starts teaching your younger one all those vital sibling skills that you wish neither one knew about…

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6 Ryan

haha… thanks, Nords! Baby showers and hand me downs got us through much of the first year with little expense (as far as clothing goes), and we visited a couple second hand shops for some other items, which we are still getting good use from. I’m sure we’ll run into other expenses along the way, but I’m not too worried about them.

And I think we’re much better prepared this time around. It’s amazing how much just comes back to you even after a couple years have passed!

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