Time really passes fast, my baby is now 15 months old! It seems just yesterday I was writing about my first trimester. With mounting family expenses. I am keen to find out how much I have spent for my pregnancy and all related expenses. Besides my prenatal and delivery cost, there are also other expenses. Let's find out the approximate first year cost of raising a baby in Singapore.
Previously, I have wrote about the 20 things you need to buy before baby's arrival. The expenses is less than $1,200 for me. What about the daily expenses? These are the 5 main areas that is the outlet for your hard earned money:
1) Milk powder and solid food
I highly recommend that you breastfeed for at least 4 months to save on costs of milk powder. However, I know very well how difficult it is to continue breastfeeding when you return to work since not all work environment is conducive. Nonetheless, your sanity is more important.
As a general guideline, milk powder are $35 to $60 per kg, the older the baby, the cheaper the milk is but the more the baby drinks. Check out my ultimate guide to formula milk powder here. On a rough estimate, baby drinks 1 kg a week. Using the average price of these formula brands, the cost would be $45 x 8 months (excluding first 4 months of breastmilk) x 4 weeks = $1,440.
The amount of solid food is not significant but I will just round up the number. Total = $1,500
2) Diapers, baby wipes, diaper rash cream
If you are using cloth nappy, I salute you. Judging on the mess after every poo, I would rather not save on such money. I believe diapers are the salvation of a new mother's sanity. A newborn change 6 to 8 diapers a day. Even for a 1 year old baby, they change around 5 to 6 diapers a day. Thus, on average, it's 6 diapers a day for 365 days. From the cheapest diapers using my comparision chart, I will use the average of $0.25 per diaper. Calculating 6 diapers x 365 days x $0.25 = $547.50 rounded up to $550.
You will also need baby wipes, I bought bulk packs from Pigeon at $150, 2 boxes of the 4 x 6 packs. Desitin rash cream cost $20 for 2 tubes at super markets. Total = $720
The best is if you have hand-me-downs from someone else. I have estimated $200 previously for all the newborn clothes and it is included in the baby pre-arrival expenses. For 6 to 12 months, it should be another $200. Total = $200
4) Medical bills
Getting sick is part and parcel of life and it shows the baby becoming stronger and growing well. Even without going to infant care, your baby will still get sick on and off for the first year. Pediatrician (PD) is more expensive but for me, I think a GP is good enough. I also took all the free injections in the polyclinic which is free. Optional injections and medicine are payable by baby's Medisave. Approximating 4 times a year of falling sick x $50 = $200
5) Caretaker - Infant care/maid/nanny
PCF and My First Skool charges around $700 excluding subsidies from the government. Private infant care operators is around $1,000. For the majority of us, PCF and My First Skool are accessible and affordable so $700 is a good guide. Even for maids, the rates are $570 to $600. Including the food for her and agency fees, $700 is the ballpark amount. Not to forget, usually when people hire maids, they will hire her during the first month of baby's birth while for infant care, 4 months onwards is the norm, as the first 4 months is the maternity leave. For nanny, it is more expensive at $750 to $850 a month. This comparison guide of nanny vs infant care vs maid will be useful for parents to make a decision.
In my case, I will use the infant care charges for the first year = $700 x 8 months = $5,600
Now, let's compute the overall expenses:
This is based on my antenatal and delivery charges
I was really surprised when I did this exercise. I was so ready to blame the government say how expensive it is to raise a child in Singapore! From this exercise, you can see that the cash gifts, such as baby bonus and CDA actually subsidised my whole baby expenses up to the first year. I have not even included the Medisave Maternity grants that allows us to pay a portion of our expenses from Medisave.
All in all, I actually 'earned' $540 from the government! Shocking right?
Of course, this was possible because:
1) I delivered naturally without epidural, which is cheaper than a caesarean section.
2) I bought many things with bulk discounts and online.
3) I brought my baby to a GP and luckily, there was no need to visit a PD.
4) My baby took all the free vaccinations in polyclinics.
5) Actually I saved even more because my baby's clothes were all hand-me-downs.
For C-Sect mothers, you would have to prepare around $1,000 to $3,000 more in cash. Considering that C-Sect occurs to around 30% of the population, the majority of Singaporeans would incur a minimal financial sum up to the first year of baby's arrival. Excluding the prenatal and delivery charges, the cost of raising a baby in the first year works out to be around $10,000. Even with the cash gifts from the government, you will need to pay for the expenses first before the gifts come in.
I did this calculation so that new parents can be aware of how much money to prepare for an expanding family. After renovation and wedding banquet, it is going to be pretty taxing especially for young families. This exercise is also good for parents who are preparing for their second, third and more babies.
Are you financially prepared for their future?
For new parents, do check out this post on 9 financial tips during your pregnancy. Like me on Facebook to get more news on family expenses. This post first appeared on SimplyJesMe. Jes is the co-founder of SnackFirst and also the blogger on SimplyJesMe.