Guest Post: How Can Parents Raise A Child Without Incurring Debt?

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Below is a guest post from Amy Nickson, a web enthusiast.  She shares her expertise through her crisp and well researched articles based on money management, money saving ideas, debt and so on.  You can follow her on Oak View Law Group, where she shares her expertise on personal finance field.

 

raise child without debtBringing up a child is an ultimate joy for a parent. But, due to the increasing living cost, it is becoming difficult for the parents to handle the stress of raising a child. It is not only the cost of living that is increasing but also the cost of education is rising in leaps and bounds.

 

Factors to consider before planning a parenthood

According to the latest estimation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost of bringing up the child till age 18 is about $245,000. That works out to about $13,000 per year.

 

Below are some factors you need to think about before planning for a baby.

 

raise child without debtThe transition from dual income to single

With the birth of a child, the expenditure of a family climbs up. Even if you are not one of those parents who would like to have a designer stroller and clothes for the child, providing the basic necessities can become a hard thing. The total income may change after having the baby. For example, Will you get paid parental leaves? Will your spouse leave the current job?

 

Living cost is rising

The skyrocketing living cost is also alarming. The cost of the groceries along with the baby foods, gas, and all kinds of major expenses has increased in the past decade. The food prices are weighing down on the budgets of most of the parents.

 

raise child without debtExpensive higher education

When the child grows up to be in the college, the cost of maintaining the education of the child increases double fold. As per the stats, the average cost of attending a public university is about $25,000 a year. The cost of education in the recent years has increased. Thus, the student debt amount is increasing in our nation. The majority of the parents and students seek to finance with regards to the education.

 

How can you manage the cost of raising a child?

However, these scary figures will not stop you from having the bundle of joy if you consider some clever steps from the beginning. The cost of bringing up a child is now sky-high, but you shouldn’t accumulate debt in your way.

 

Here are some ways you can manage the costs of raising a child without falling into debts:

 

raise child without debtPlan a budget considering future expenses

Once you figure out what your post-baby expense will be footing, plan a budget including the additional costs such as maternity clothes, hospital costs, car seat, crib, child care, food, and diapers. You can use a child cost calculator online to do the math with ease.

 

Stay away from personal debt

Accumulating personal debt along with childcare costs can make your life more stressful. You should stay away from any type of consumer debts. Use your credit cards properly and pay the bills on time. Don’t overlook your equity bills as well. Thus, you’ll be able to live a debt-free life while dealing with other necessities easily.

 

raise child without debtOpen a 529 college savings plan

529 college saving plan is a state-sponsored savings plan that gives tax-free interest. You need to contribute $500 into the account every month. This cushion will help you to find your child’s higher studies without taking out huge student loan.

 

Shop around while considering health insurance

You should shop around to get the best health insurance that provides extra coverage. You may save a significant amount when it comes to pre and post-birth medical bills.

 

Reduce unnecessary expenditures

You can lower the unnecessary expenditures to reduce the total expenses. The lower your monthly expenses, the easier will it be for you to manage the parenthood.

 

raise child without debtTake help from relatives

Now, colleges are accepting checks from grandparents and relatives for funding the college education of a student. When your relatives or grandparent ask you what gift you want for your child on birthday or Christmas, ask them to contribute the cash to 529 college savings plan.

 

Have your child attend a cheaper college

Consider cheaper colleges instead of extremely expensive ones to keep the expenses in your control. The tuition fees and other costs of such colleges are lower. Thus, you wouldn’t require to take on much debt to finance your child’s higher education.

 

handedness raise child without debtApply for grants

Once your child enters the college, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to get financial aids. After applying, you’ll get a student aid report that mentions your EFC (Estimated Family Contribution). The report determines how much aid your child will get.

 

Keep your eyes open for scholarship

As per the report, $112.3 billion free money or scholarships is available for eligible students. The eligibility for getting the scholarship is based on financial need, merit or both. You need to fill out the FAFSA form to be considered as an eligible…. The Pell Grant is one of the most common federal programs, which is needs-based. It provides up to $5,550 per school year. Visit sites like Fastweb.com, SchoolSoup.com, SallieMae.com/scholarships and Scholarship.com to get more information.

 

Consider side hustle to improve the cash flow

A side hustle is required to improve the cash flow. Thus, you can manage the cost of raising a child and also save some money. You can get plenty of opportunities to make money online.

 

year in review raise child without debtBuild up an emergency fund

Try to save at least 15% of your income to build up an emergency fund. Thus, you can manage any emergency without accumulating unwanted debts.

 

Finally, be reasonable and practical with regards to your own life and the way you are going to bring up your child. You can also ask your child to consider a part-time job to fund his/her own studies. This way, your child can become more responsible in life.

 

Mustard Seed Money

Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.

46 Comments

  1. Thanks for the guest post, Amy!

    While I don’t have a children yet, these are very great tips for parents who want want to raise a child without debt. It definitely would be wonderful and inexpensive if the child can get a full scholarship to their school of choice as that would release a lot of burden on the parent’s financials.
    Smart Provisions recently posted…The Power of 50,000 MilesMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts Smart Provisions!!! Winning a scholarship can be huge especially if it lines up with where a child wants to go to school.

    • Thanks for appreciating my write up. Yes, talented students deserve scholarship or grants to fund the studies.

  2. We have 2 young kids (twins) and I think the hardest part is getting through the first 5 years when they need full time child care. My wife and I both work, and for 2 kids child care was around $30,000 per year. A big chunk.

    I’ll just add one more point. It’s up to moms if they want to stay home or continue working, I respect either decision. But, I think the financial analysis of mom working is often too simplistic. Many of my friends have said, “She’s not working because her whole salary would go to child care.” If that’s the only reason, I would just point out that there are other financial factors to consider beyond salary, such as retirement benefits, the potential for career growth, networking, and how mom plans to re-enter the workforce. Again, this is just from a financial angle but moms should not feel they need to stop working because of low salary.
    Rich @ pennyandrich.com recently posted…Monthly Money Check: Penny Eats Down Under in February 2017My Profile

    • Great points Rich!!! The benefits along with keeping your skill sets relevant are huge factors that should potentially be weighed in the decision. Thanks for sharing!!!

      • Stay at home mom can also earn home by considering some great work from home options. One of the most popular options is blogging. many mommy friends of mine are doing these and very satisfied and happy with their task. If a mom wants to earn money, there are many options these days.

    • That is the truth Daniel!!! It’s definitely easy to want to get your kids everything that you didn’t have as a kid but there are definitely limits 🙂

    • Yes, kids should be taught the difference between wants and need. Thus, they can live a frugal lifestyle without feeling deprived.

  3. I’ll echo what others said, child care has been the biggest issue/shock. When my wife was working full time we spent 25k a year for daycare for 2 kids. We’ve since found cheaper options which I’ve written about in the past. Still planning and designing finances around it has taken a lot of focus.
    FullTimeFinance recently posted…Individual Bonds Versus Bond FundsMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing FullTimeFinance!!!! Spending 2k a month on childcare is definitely a big expense no matter how much money you make. I have read some of your posts around this topic and they are always insightful.

  4. Good article Amy. What percentage of people have a stay at home spouse these days? My mom was a stay at home mom since my dad was fairly successful in his 20’s and 30’s. Have expenses taken off so much that it’s unreasonable for someone to stay at home?

    I’d love for my future spouse to stay at home, that’s why I’m asking. 🙂
    Erik @ The Mastermind Within recently posted…The End of JobsMy Profile

    • My wife is able to stay at home with my son and her special needs sister. But we had to get our financial house in order to do that. So it worked out well for us but I know for many of our friends that it’s probably not realistic with the type of lifestyle that they would like to enjoy.

    • Staying at home and getting finance in order can possible if you manage your money well. However, these days, many women give priority to their career and balance their work and the home life well. It totally depend on your spouse’s wish and how you handle your income.

  5. Amy — excellent tips. I especially appreciate the side hustle idea as I believe more and more that we need to supplement our incomes from other sources. A full-time salary doesn’t go as far as it used to, so finding other ways to bring in income is crucial for all of us.

    Also, we decided my wife would stay at home when our son was born. We decided to sell our home (which was purchased on two incomes) and find a cheaper home / area to live. It worked out well for us and we bought the home on my income alone. It was difficult for us to part with our first home and leave that area (it was more expensive, but it was close to my parents). However, my wife is home with our son every day and we’re close to my wife’s parents now. It worked out for us and we are very fortunate.

    Great article. Enjoy your weekend everyone.

    Thanks,

    Dave

    • Awesome post Dave!!! I think if both me and my wife were working that we would probably buy a bigger house which we currently don’t need but we would have the peer pressure to keep up with some of our friends. So while our townhouse can be tight at times, it’s enabled us to do some things that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

    • Thanks for liking my article. Yes, what’s matter most is Happiness!

  6. Most child related expenses will be as big or as small as you choose to make them. The two that seem unavoidable are at the two ends of the parenting experience: child care and college. That is good though. One can plan and save for the first _before_ one has the child, and then you have a good 17 years to save for the next big one.
    Mrs. BITA recently posted…On the path to financial independence: February 2017My Profile

    • Excellent points Mrs. BITA!!!! Planning definitely key on both ends. My wife and I waited a couple of years in order to get our financial house in order and it’s definitely something that we are glad we did.

    • Great idea! Yes, one should be calculative to ensure the financial peace in life!

  7. These are some good tips to help with the cost of raising of a child. I would also recommend the Educational Savings Account when saving for education expenses. Similar to the 529, it grows tax free but you can self direct the mutual funds invested in. Unlike the 529, the funds in an ESA can also be used for K-12 educational expenses, not just college.

  8. I would also suggest getting an FSA if you have it available to you. That’s going to be our main avenue for cutting the cost of birth and daycare expenses. It also decreases our taxable income, which is really nice.
    I think we’ll start some kind of college savings plan, but I don’t think we’ll do a 529. 529s are great, but I think they’re too stringent. I have no idea what the future will look like–what if my kids don’t want to go to school? What if they want to start their own business or enter the workforce immediately? A 529 would be too restrictive in those scenarios, so we’re looking for alternative ways to make our money grow over the long term.
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…The Picky Pinchers’ February Budget ReportMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Mrs. Picky Pincher!!! 529s are just one tool and like you said there are definitely a ton of different options out there that make sense and offer the flexibility that parents/children need 🙂

    • FSA is a good option. You cab also keep an emergency to fund any immediate need. 529 is good to avoid your kid’s student loan debt during your retirement time.

  9. Good tips Amy! I agree with your comments around college costs. In my opinion, unless you are accepted to a very top end university like Harvard, MIT, Stanford, etc… the inflated costs of many top end private universities is wholly unjustified. Why pay 50-grand per year for a run of the mill private college when you can get the same education at a 25-grand per year public university?

    One other comment on child rearing and finances. My wife and I have 3 children. Since my wife was a relatively low paid middle school teacher (bless her heart), and the cost of child care is significant, we decided that our best approach would be for her to stay at home. Although we had to sacrifice some luxuries (like nice cars and vacations), I think this decision was ultimately very positive for our financial health. Mrs. Zero staying at home resulted in two benefits that we didn’t consider when we made the decision. 1) I was able to focus on growing my career and salary, which has now put us in a place where we don’t need the second income. 2). Living on one salary forced us to get comfortable with living a frugal lifestyle. While we watched our dual income friends buying expensive cars, going on fancy vacations and buying ever bigger houses, we comforted ourselves with the fact that we had a lot more time for our kids. Now that we can afford to do those other things, we comfort ourselves with the knowledge that we will get to spend more time together and with the kids once we reach early retirement and start the adventures we have planned.
    Zero recently posted…Zero to a million dollars in 8 yearsMy Profile

    • That’s a great perspective!!! I didn’t think about living on one salary forcing you to be frugal which allowed for more time with the kiddos. Sounds like you made a wise investment of your time and it’s really paid off 🙂

    • Thanks for liking my write up. Such great thoughts! Yes, living a frugal lifestyle has many benefits. Lavish vacation and luxury cars are nothing when it comes to living a life happily with dear ones. However, you can plan short frugal trips to get energized.

  10. Great article! I’ve been thinking about this subject for some time. $13000 per year seems insane but when you crunch the numbers it’s all of the expected things that add of to this figure. Things like daycare, tuition, and medical expenses. 40 lb kins don’t eat very much food or require an extra 1000 sq ft on you home. If you’re very intentional about the peripheral expenses and incorporate some of the suggestions in this article, I can’t see why you wouldn’t be able to come in well under cost as humans have for centuries.

    • My son is 17 months and is a monster when it comes to eating. I’m pretty sure he eats more than me and I’m not even joking around. I am pretty sure when he’s a teenager he’s going to eat $13k worth of food 🙂

      But I totally agree there are a ton of ways to save more money along the way with just a little bit of effort.

    • Thanks for appreciating my article. Yes, raising children is costly but they bring so much happiness! I am wondering how can my single mom managed all the cost :).

  11. Cost of living and college tuition is increasing every year. We’re definitely not having children (surgeries are already in place so that doesn’t happen). It seems like having a kid is just getting more expensive by the day, which is sad for the people who do want kids. I hear adopting can have the potential to be expensive at first, but you get a good amount of tax deductions every year to counter it out, according to my friend who has adopted.

    • Thanks for sharing Alexis!!! I have had friends that foster care and then adopt. From what I understand it is definitely not cheap to foster care or adopt. But I guess that is unfortunately the world that we live in.

    • Thanks Alexis for stopping by and reading my write up. Yes, it’s costly, but parents can manage the cost by living a simple lifestyle. Everyone should live their life within means. A simple can bring no less happiness than an expensive lavish life.

  12. Personally I think our three kids cost virtually nothing to raise to adults, at least we never noticed it if they did. We generally ate home cooked meals and they all worked for their spending money. My wife gave them a budget for clothes and they could buy whatever they could afford, which also taught them about smart spending. All also had free rides including room and board at state colleges. You mention scholarships but one thing you didn’t stress is to teach your kids to read, and to join study groups, do extra credit projects and just be great students and test takers. It doesn’t take a 36 on the ACT to get a free ride at a state school even if you have no financial need. A 30 is plenty and a 30 on an ACT is not that hard to achieve if your kids have learned to love learning. We could have easily cash flowed their college but it was nice not to have to. And when they are picking out majors, do them a favor, convince them to get a vocational degree like engineering, nursing, accounting or business and not some nearly useless liberal arts diploma.

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing Steve!!! My parents told me that I could study anything that I wanted as long as it was accounting or finance. So that basically narrowed down my options 🙂

      • Steve, you have some really useful tips!. Yes, vocational degrees are very useful these days. However, most of the farms are providing training to freshers, so a student who passed with arts or other traditional degrees can also get a good job.

  13. Thanks for this post! Saving for your kids college can be overwhelming when you are still paying for your own student loans.

    We are thankful for ANY help we can get from friends and family. We never say no to hand-me-downs, which might not seem like a lot, but it helps. In 2 1/2 years, we have had to buy VERY few clothes for our toddler, that leaves us with extra $$ for college savings and other baby/toddler expenses.
    Katy recently posted…What I spent and What we AteMy Profile

    • We are fortunate as well to have friends and family share clothing with us as well. It’s been a huge help and definitely something that we hope to bless others with down the line as well 🙂

      • Thanks for stopping by Katty,

        You’re right, everyone should use savings tricks to save some extra money!

  14. One of the reasons I don’t want to retire early is that because I work for a university my kid (future) will get a discount, if not be able to for free (if I change universities) that, in of itself, is a reason to stay. That and I love the job.
    Jason recently posted…What is Your FIRE Number?My Profile

    • That’s awesome that you love your job so much. I am definitely jealous plus being able to send you kiddo there for a discount. Sounds like a win/win for you!!!

  15. Having a child really incurs budget so it must be carefully planned. A lot of my peers forego having a child because of financial reasons. It is from pregrancy until the child reaches 5 years old that our family incurred so much expenses. It is much more financially and physically draining when they get sick. However, having a child brings immense happiness to a family.

    • Thanks for sharing Mrs. MFB!!! I didn’t realize how much my one year old son would eat. He eats more than my wife and I combined some days. I am a little worried when he becomes a teenager 🙂 But he brings a ton of joy. Today he “learned” how to dance. It brought a huge smile to my face.

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