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Bringing a child into the world is one of life’s greatest treasures; however, it is going to cost you. From the moment you find out you are pregnant it is important to set a budget and save up for the many expenses that comes with raising children.

Budgeting for your Child

Babies can be quite expensive, especially considering they do not eat real food or take up much space. You will need to invest in a crib or bassinet for the little one as well as formula (or breast milk), diapers, changing table, toys, play mats, a stroller, a swing, a high chair and a car seat. You will also need to keep baby warm with plenty of blankets and clothing. By the time your child is six months old you will probably have spent well over $5000 on just baby items.

As children grow so do their needs. From preschool fees to kindy gym classes, from birthday party decorations to visits to the zoo, all of these things will add up. As the parent you get to choose how much or how little activities you do with your children or what programs to enroll them in. Perhaps you are happy to keep them inside the home or take them to the park rather than spend the money on outdoor activities and playgroups. Teach them to change a compact fluorescent lightbulb, this is entirely up to you.

Toys, Clothes and Other Kids Expenses

It is incredibly easy to spoil your child but you need to set a limit for both your finances as well as for the sake of your kid. By giving a child everything he wants now, you are setting him up for disappointment in the future and also teaching him that it is okay to be spoiled. Every family is different. Whether you choose to limit a new toy once a month or once a year, this depends on your family and your financial situation. Furthermore, for some families a new toy means a new coloring book; for other families a toy new means a new remote control truck or trampoline.

Toys aside, there are several general living expenses you need to consider when raising children. School fees, books, school uniforms, field trip expenses and camp expenses are all part of educating a child. Extracurricular activities, such as soccer teams, ballet, swimming lessons and field hockey usually require a joining or membership fee as well as additional costs for uniforms and bus tickets. Clothing is a big one as are accessories for an older child such as a cell phone, lap top and video game set. Many parents will ask older children to help out with the chores as a way to pay for these accumulating costs.

Feeding your child will also take up a large chunk of your weekly income. Snacks for lunches, juice boxes, breakfast cereals and after school snacks all need to be bought and prepared. When your kids hit their teens you can expect your grocery bills to double, if not triple, especially if raising boys.

In addition to the kids living expenses of today, you should also consider the living expenses of tomorrow. It is a good idea to start a savings account for your child as early as possible. Let the interest grow until he turns 18 and use the money to put him through college, put a down payment on a home of his own or even travel around the world for a year. While it may be hard to comprehend the unforeseen costs of raising children, the more you invest in their future now, the more opportunities your child will have later.

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