By the time your baby is one, you have likely recognized the enormous amount of money it requires to keep your baby clothed, fed, comfortable, and safe. Diapers, formula, food, bottles, clothes, day care — it's a seemingly endless amount of cash. Fortunately, now that you've faced the reality, you are well prepared to adjust your finances for today and plan for the future.
If you struggle with a lack of money, remember that what your child most needs from you isn't toys or gifts but attention, love, and guidance. Try to keep your emotions — especially worry, fear, and anxiety — away from your interactions with your child. This will help her, but it will also remind you that you are valuable to your child because of how you behave and who you are, not because of the money in your wallet.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it will cost a parent approximately $250,000 to raise a child born in 2005 to the age of eighteen. That's a lot of money, considering the average four-person family earns about $35,000 each year in income. Careful budgeting is important to lessen the financial stress a family feels.
If you are worried about money, the first thing you have to do is face the reality of your situation. If you have debt or overwhelming expenses get your papers together and call someone for help. There are counselors and financial planners who will help you organize spreadsheets to document the amount of money coming in and the expenses causing money to go out, so that you can create a budget that will allow you to live within your means and save for the future. (See Appendix C for a sample budget, or go to
Having a budget and taking control of your financial life will free up your mind and time so that you can be present for your child. Also, once you learn good financial skills, you will be able to pass them on to her.