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4 Smart Ways to Afford a Baby 

 Many millennials ask: can we afford to have a baby? 

Starting a family is a joyous experience and marks a financial shift in parents’ lives. The cost of raising a child from birth to 18 for a middle-income, two parent family averaged $233,610 (not including college), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture or $12,350 and nearly $14,000 a year, on average. 

Here are 4 must-dos to prepare for a family: 

1. Start or check your baby fund

A 2013 study from Truven Health Analytics found the charges for mothers and their newborns after an uncomplicated vaginal birth averaged about $30,000, and $50,000 for cesarean births. Even with insurance, the out-of-pocket share was $2,200 for vaginal deliveries and $2,700 for C-sections. If you’re insured, how much you’ll pay depends on what’s covered under your policy and how much your share of the medical bill will be, including deductibles and coinsurance. If you don’t already have a resource fund, now is the time to create or check-in with the amount you have available to meet expected (copay's, deductibles, co-insurance, etc.) and unexpected expenses. Consider having at least three months of living expenses available. 

2. Get your debt under control

Aim to stabilize your debt before embarking on parenthood. Consider saying no to adding more debt and yes to creating a debt repayment plan to lower the amount owed. Negotiate lowering your interest rates with your credit cards. Or snowball your debt by paying your debt in order of balances. 

3. Create a pre-baby spending plan 

Understand your health insurance and anticipate costs within your spending plan. Starting a family can be expensive even with health insurance. You should contact your insurance and medical provider to forecast your expected cost prior to or early in your pregnancy and adjust your spending plan, accordingly. Another important factor to keep in consideration are needs and wants purchases. 

4. Think thrifty

Look for a lower-cost cell phone plan (such as companies like Republic Wireless and Ting). Find a bank that doesn’t charge you ridiculous fees. Consider buying gently used items to keep expenses under control or eliminating those designer bags and high-end strollers with its own control panel for an affordable option.