Budgeting for a Baby

It costs about $167,000 to raise a child to age 18, according to the Canadian Council on Social Development. Parents can expect to spend $10,000 in the first year alone.

Try these tips to manage costs in the early years:

Make budget-friendly purchases. Budgeting is the most import­ant step in managing child-rearing costs. So ask yourself if you really need a new stroller. And consider second-hand toys and clothes. Also keep in mind that cloth diapers can cost a quarter of the price of disposables. Take your time and look for deals.

Shop around. Buying second-hand doesn’t mean buying second-rate. You can buy good-quality second-hand clothing, for instance, online at a number of sites such as www.craigslist.org.

Get government help. The Universal Child Care Benefit pays $100 a month for each child under the age of six. You might be eligible for additional child-care benefits. Speak with your accountant or visit the Canada Revenue Agency online at www.cra-arc.gc.ca.

Set up a “baby” bank account. Some experts say you should expect to allocate 20% of your annual family income to raising your first child. So arrange for your bank to transfer a set amount of each paycheque into a second (preferably high-interest) savings account. In order to free up the extra cash, consider giving up an expensive hobby or trimming your entertainment costs.

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