First-Year Expenses

According to the USDA Expenditures on Children by Families, 2002 Annual Report, the average cost of raising an only child in a two-parent family is about $215,000. That considers most expenses that you will have for your child from birth to age eighteen, including housing, food, clothing, health care, and transportation.

In addition to housing, which at about $4,000 is likely to be the largest single annual expense, some of the other big expenses will be for formula, baby food, diapers, clothing, and child care. A family with before-tax income of $39,700 to $66,900 can expect to spend a total of about $11,500 during this first year. Although each family has its own standard of living, generally families with smaller incomes will have lower expenses the first year, at about $8,200, and higher-income families will have higher expenses.


When comparing the price of formula, consider how many ounces of formula each package makes. Although different brands all seem to be the same size, some make fewer ounces and so you are not saving as much money as you are made to think.

Infant Formula

Formula can be a big expense during your baby's first year. If you figure that the average baby drinks about 28 ounces of formula each day, then you will be paying about $1,400 for a year's supply of a popular infant formula, such as powdered Enfamil LIPIL with Iron. You will pay even more if you go with a concentrated liquid or ready-to-feed formula, or if your baby needs an elemental formula, such as Nutramigen.

On the other hand, you might be able to save some money by going with a store-brand formula. And of course, you can eliminate this expense altogether by having your baby breastfeed exclusively until at least his first birthday.


In your baby's first few months, he may need up to ten or twelve diaper changes a day. You may not be too happy about changing those diapers when you realize that each name-brand disposable diaper is costing you about twenty-five cents. And they just get more expensive as your infant gets older, although you will likely be changing your baby less often. By the end of the first year, you can expect to have spent about $750 to $1,000 on diapers and diaper pail refills.

You can save money by using cloth diapers, but only if you launder them yourself. Using cloth diapers and a diaper service that launders them for you probably will cost you just as much as disposable diapers. And remember, laundering cloth diapers yourself will increase your monthly water and detergent use significantly.


From The Everything Father's First Year Book Copyright © 2005, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

To order this book go to Amazon.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

earth day

celebrate our
planet with
these activities
and crafts.



Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Earth Day Books for Children
Celebrate the environment by reading some of these great children's books about Earth Day, recycling, planting trees, and all things green!

Prom Dress Trends for 2014
Check out 2014 prom dress trends inspired by celebrities’ red carpet looks, but with a price tag under $100!