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How to afford the cost of a baby when you don't make a celebrity paycheck

Posted July 6

If you want to raise a baby, you'll probably want some celebrity money, since it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. (Deseret Photo)

Calvin Harris, the dance music DJ who recently broke up with Taylor Swift, reportedly makes $400,000 per show. That’s not too bad a pull.

In fact, plenty of American families wish they had that amount of money on hand, since that’s what it potentially costs to raise a baby.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture looked into how much Americans spend on their children throughout the first 18 years of their youngster’s life. In total, low-income families spend about $176,550, according to The Wall Street Journal.

But that number only climbs as families jump up the social ladder. Based on statistics from 2013, middle-class families spend close to $245,340 on a baby, and high-income families rely on celebrity wages — spending no less than $407,820 on their youngster, according to the WSJ.

“Celebrities like Blake Lively, Kerry Washington and Megan Fox are about to welcome their second or third child while couples like Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian are expecting their first,” a blogger for the Independent Women’s Forum wrote. “The rights to the Kardashian baby’s delivery, childhood and adolescence have probably already been sold by grandma Kris Jenner. Sadly, the couple will probably need that much money to raise a Kardashian baby, which is certain to be upwards of more than $400,000.”

Of course, it’s not that way for all families. As I wrote in 2014, the average cost of a baby is closer to $245,000, with the Northeastern United States paying the highest average of $282,480.

These prices may seem even more daunting since wages haven’t really increased in the last four decades. There’s also been an increase in both mothers and fathers working, forcing parents to shell out cash for child care expenses so that someone can watch over their baby while they’re at work.

Speaking of education, the amount it costs to raise a child rises when you incorporate college prices, which the Department of Agriculture’s numbers didn’t factor in. According to College Data, the average cost of tuition in the 2015-16 school year was about $32,405 for private colleges, $9,410 for in-state public schools and $23,893 for out-of-state residents attending public schools. Over a four-year period, that could be anywhere from $30,000 to $120,000 in additional expenses for parents.

“Higher education is now so expensive that it is almost impossible for a family to pay for it or for a student to work her way through school as in the past,” the IWF blogger wrote. “Part of the reason tuition is so expensive is the government's involvement with college loans. If the government helps make money available, then colleges and universities have little reason to rein in the costs of education. Normal market forces do not operate.”

For these reasons, having a baby may not seem like the best idea financially, since, well, unless you're Calvin Harris, $400,000 is hard to come by. Sure, you’ll spend it over 18 years, but that’s still a lot of money to find new ways of bringing in.

To put that amount of money into perspective, $400,000 can get you a house in Miami (the average mortgage there is $411,986), Seattle (average of $398,624) and Chicago (average mortgage of $387,489).

Still, budgeting experts say there are ways for you to save the right amount of money so you can have a baby.

“Having a child is an exciting but scary step, and money can be a big part of that worry,” financial planner Matt Becker told Time Money. “I wouldn’t dive in without considering the financial consequences, but I also wouldn’t let them scare you off.”

Saving for a baby starts with assessing your own finances and making sure you know where all of your income comes from. Then, according to Time Money, it’s important to look ahead to where you’ll get income from in the future.

“For example, will you or your partner stay home part time or full time? Will you take any unpaid parental leave?” Time Money asks.

Soon-to-be parents will also want to assess any potential insurances they’ll purchase and account for any potential injuries or medical emergencies that they may suffer from.

The next step is to cut costs. Look at what you are spending and shave off where you can. This can easily be done by cutting back on the entertainment extravaganzas you attend, or looking to cut cable cords, according to Time. Student loan debt may also suck up a lot of your money, so try to pay that off.

Once you’ve figured out all of that, practice using your new budget so that you can get accustomed to what your life will be like once you have a baby, according to Time Money.

“In the end, you might be surprised at how easy it is to adjust your spending, especially when the prize is so sweet," Time Money wrote.

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

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