How to save for a baby

Learn to prepare for unexpected expenses when you’re expecting.

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Having a baby is an exciting and fulfilling time in your life. But it can also be expensive.

From diapers and formula to cribs and strollers, the average American is projected to spend more than $10,000 in the first year of raising a child. But with a little planning, your little one can make a more gentle dent in your budget.

How to save for a baby

Financially prepare for your newborn and beyond by leveraging your savings early.

1. Estimate your first-year expenses.
You may have already registered for a car seat, stroller and other must-haves. Speak with your insurance company about how much you can expect to pay out of pocket for delivery and well visits. Then factor in the everyday items you’ll need to budget for, like diapers and formula, as well as expenses like child care.

You may want to budget for up to $12,680 in the first year of raising your little one, according to USDA data reported in 2017.

2. Pick an account and start saving early.
High-yield savings accounts can help you earn interest on your baby fund before your baby even arrives. If you’ve already built up a nest egg, consider investing it in a money market account. They may require higher minimum deposits, but you can find one that comes with a debit card to help cover expenses as your due date approaches.

3. Schedule regular contributions.
Stashing away money before baby arrives positions you to pay for immediate expenses as you navigate parenthood. But you’ll want to keep up your nest egg to ensure savings to fall back on as your little one grows into toddlerhood.

Consider autopay to meet your monthly deposit goals. For additional help, look into apps that round up your purchases and automatically deposit the difference into your savings.

How much should I save for a baby?

The costs you can expect when introducing a new baby into your life depend on your parenting style, your lifestyle and safety nets like family and insurance.

Birth and health

Without insurance, you can expect to pay up to $7,000 in costs related to the birth alone, according to 2014 stats from the government’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.

  • Uncomplicated birth: $2,900 to $4,700
  • Birth with complications: $3,800 to $6,500

If your child comes to you through adoption, the Child Welfare Information Gateway suggests budgeting for higher costs.

  • Private agency: $20,000 to $45,000
  • Intercountry adoption: $20,000 to $50,000
  • Home study fee: $1,500 to $4,000

If you plan to return to work, you’ll need to factor in the costs of child care projected from $3,500 to $18,000 a year, according to a 2015 report from ChildCare Aware of America.

Everyday items and care

Beyond medical bills and care, other baby-related expenses you’ll want to budget for include items for safe travel and sleep, food, diapers and clothes.

Baby and safety gear

  • Car seat: $50–$250
  • Stroller: $100–$500
  • Crib and mattress: $200–$500
  • Baby carrier: $50–$150
  • Rocker: $200–$600
  • Swing: $75–$125
  • Baby gates: $50–$150

Food

  • Nursing: $50–$350
  • Formula: $1,750
  • High chair: $50–$250
  • Bottles, pacifiers, etc.: $50–$250

Diapers

  • Cloth: $250
  • Disposable $850

Clothes

  • New: $700
  • Used: $350

Best accounts to help you save for a baby

High-yield savings accounts are probably your best bet to save the most before baby arrives, but a money market account could be handy if it comes with a debit card you could use to start spending that money as your due date nears.

Name Product Interest rate (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open
1.70%
$0
$0
Earn 20x the national savings account average with no fees or minimums.
1.75%
$0
$0
Enjoy no monthly fees and a competitive APY with this online-only savings account.
1.50%
$15 per month
(can be waived)
$25
Earn one of the highest annual percentage yields (APYs) if you live in one of 42 eligible states, and access your money by ATM, check or bill pay.
2.00%
$0
$100
Earn a competitive rate with a balance higher than $10,000.
1.85%
$0
$100
A super-high interest rate if you're in the habit of saving at least $100 per month or have $25K in the bank. Earn up to $300 Cash Bonus with a $50K deposit. Open to both current and new customers. Conditions apply
0.01%
$5 per month
(can be waived)
$0
Get a $150 bonus when you open a new Chase Savings account, deposit a total of $10,000 or more in new money within 10 business days and maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days. Or get $350 when you open both a Chase Savings and Chase Total Checking account.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Interest rate (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open
1.50%
$15 per month
(can be waived)
$25
Earn one of the highest annual percentage yields (APYs) if you live in one of 42 eligible states, and access your money by ATM, check or bill pay.
2.00%
$10 per month
(can be waived)
$5,000
Enjoy the security and earning potential of a savings account while maintaining the flexibility to write checks.
1.85%
$0
$100
A savings account with a higher-than-average rate and minimal fees.
1.85%
$0
$100
A super-high interest rate if you're in the habit of saving at least $100 per month or have $25K in the bank. Earn up to $300 Cash Bonus with a $50K deposit. Open to both current and new customers. Conditions apply
0.30%
$25 per month
(can be waived)
$25,000
Earn a guaranteed interest rate of 1.50% (0.87% APY) for 6 months with this money market account that includes an ATM card and a 24-hour overdraft grace period.

Compare up to 4 providers

How to compare accounts for a baby

When comparing accounts, don’t focus only on the interest rate. Other factors can make saving easy and motivate you to keep going, including:

  • Fees. Monthly and administrative fees can eat into your savings. Look for an account with low fees or a way to waive them.
  • Access. If you find saving difficult, weigh accounts that limit your access or lock away a portion of your balance. For more convenient access, narrow down accounts with debit cards and wide ATM networks.
  • Account features. Autosave, roundup, bill pay and other features can help you make a habit of socking away money.
  • Deposit and balance minimums. Read the fine print to be sure you can meet opening requirements and any other minimums that can help you skirt regular fees.
  • Rewards and bonuses. Get a head start with accounts that offer rewards or bonuses for merely opening an account.

How to save up for your baby

Saving for a baby can take time and planning, but today’s banking and insurance products offer multiple ways to streamline the process.

  • Automate deposits. Set up routine transfers or take advantage of roundup apps that make automatic contributions toward your goals.
  • Open an FSA. You may be able to open a flexible spending account through your employer, which helps you set aside pretax income to pay for eligible health expenses.
  • Factor in gifts. Your loved ones may be planning to contribute gifts or cash, which will help with your expenses.
  • Clear the clutter. Sell any items that you won’t need once baby arrives. Your city or neighborhood may even support a list-serv to help you put up baby’s outgrown or old gear and clothing for extra cash.

Bottom line

With parenthood on the horizon, you’re in for one fun and wild ride. Keep your eye on the adventure by setting up a firm savings plan and budget as early as you can.

Find the lowest rates and strongest terms you’re eligible for by comparing a range of savings accounts.

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