Can you afford to have a baby?

baby

(CNN) – If having a baby is on the brain, a look of your finances may be, too.

Financial planners say you have to look at both to take having a baby seriously.

The bottom line, consider the costs, but experts say don’t let that scare you off.

Money Magazine did an article about how to tell if you can afford to have a baby.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the average cost for a middle-income couple to raise a child for 18 years time is about a quarter of a million dollars.

That doesn’t include the cost of a college education.

Here are some steps you can take to be financially ready, according to financial advisors.

  • First, determine any changes to your career.  Will you stay home, take unpaid leave?
  • Then track your income and figure out where you are spending.
  • See where there’s room to make changes, like getting rid of cable TV, finding cheaper rent, etc.
  • Add up baby costs, like hospital, car seat, food, diapers, maternity clothes, just to name a few.
  • Add up the costs of life and disability insurance for your child.

The biggest thing experts say is once you get pregnant, start living on that budget.

That way you build  up a savings cushion.

Experts say the general rule is make sure you have enough cash on hand for about six months of living expenses.

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