You’ve (more or less) survived having baby #1, which is already an accomplishment. Way to go mom or dad; what an incredible journey it is to be a parent and to raise a child.
Now, you’re toying with the idea of baby #2. But, you’re curious about how much it will cost you. And to make matters more confusing, you’ve got student loans that you’re paying off.
One study showed that 26% of people put off having children because of their student loan debt. This doesn’t have to be you. Having a second baby with student loans can be done, but it requires some planning.
To help you with that planning, we’re going to break it down. First, we’ll cover what to expect financially with a second child. Will it be as expensive as baby #1? What expenses can you prepare for?
Second, we’ll discuss tips on how to prepare for having a second baby, and give specific tips for parents who are having a baby with student loan debt. This will include tips on whether to pay them off, put them on hold, or to keep doing what you’re doing—for all of you parents who are thinking, “want a baby, but in debt!”
What You Can Expect Financially
The good thing about having a second child is that you’ve been through this before—you know what you’re doing. Just think of all that you’ve learned since you had your first baby.
That said, it can be hard to mentally prepare for adding a second baby into the mix. There will undoubtedly be moments where you will have to take it one day at a time, and you should give yourself that freedom and compassion to make mistakes and learn how to keep a kid alive all over again.
Still, there are plenty of ways to help prepare for baby #2 to ensure that the experience is as “under control” as can be. First, let’s talk a bit about what you might expect, financially, when you’re expecting a second.
Hand-me-downs Are Great
It is widely believed that a second baby is less expensive than the first because the second child can wear hand-me-down clothes, use baby #1’s cribs and changing table, and play with hand-me-down toys. And for the most part, this can be true, if parents are able to resist the urge to buy adorable new clothes and toys (although you’re probably going to need another car seat).
Hand-me-downs aren’t limited to clothes and toys, of course. There are other items that can be reused: Carriers, high chairs, bottles (although you’ll want to replace the teat), cribs, strollers, breast pumps, baby baths, baby monitors, children’s toilets, cloth nappies, bouncers, stationary activity centers, nursing pillows, changing pads, and so on. You can save a lot of scratch if you don’t need to buy these again.
(Tip for parents who haven’t had baby #1 yet: Avoid buying obviously gendered clothes. You may find gender-neutral clothes easier to re-use for baby #2.)
Hand-me-downs Have Limits
While it’s a great idea to reuse certain items, this won’t be possible with every item you’ll want or need for baby #2. For example, you may want to purchase new pacifiers, bottle nipples, and even car seats.
Car seats have an expiration date—check the bottom of the seat for a sticker that should list the manufacturer, model number, and manufacture date. It is generally accepted that the expiration date is six years after the manufacture date, but don’t use it if it’s been in a car accident previously—even a minor one.
Similarly, any crib, chair, or bouncer that has sustained significant wear and tear should be replaced; it’s better to be safe than sorry with any piece of baby equipment that could lead to injury if it in some way breaks or fails. This is especially true for any piece of equipment that “holds” a baby in some way.
Also, it can be hard to resist buying special items for each baby. Parents may be unlikely to use only hand-me-down clothing, toys, furniture, and other baby equipment, so be realistic and know that you’ll probably want to buy some stuff new. This goes for enrichment items, too. There could be classes and opportunities for your second child that may be independent (and potentially very different) than for your first child.
You Still Have to Buy Daily Use Items
You can’t reuse disposable diapers, wipe cloths, baby cream, formula, medicine, and other daily use items obviously. And as anyone who has purchased diapers before knows, these items can really add up (it could cost $550 dollars in the first year! ).
Childcare May or May Not Double in Cost
Depending on your specific child care situation, your childcare may or may not double in cost. Be sure to ask your childcare provider if they provide a sibling discount. If they don’t, you may want to look around for providers that do. It may not be a lot, but any discount will help when budgeting for baby #2.
With two children, parents may even want to rethink their current childcare set-up altogether. It may be more economical to consider an at-home nanny or an au pair, or even working with another family to establish a shared childcare situation.
Ideally, you wouldn’t have to double your childcare costs, but figuring out an alternate situation just may not be feasible for some people. It’s good to have some idea of what childcare will look like as you’re planning for your second child, as childcare is a major expense for many young families.
You May Need More Space
Having a second child can be economical in some ways, and less economical in others. For example, will you need more space to accommodate another body? Will you need to move to a larger home or buy a larger car? As families expand, it’s natural for a family’s space to expand as well.
Buying or renting a house with an additional room could be a significant added cost down the line. You might not need to move right away—babies are small—but think about what you might do once your baby grows into a child and later, into a teenager.
So, what’s the verdict? Is having a second kid significantly less expensive than the first? As you can tell, it all kind of depends. Families planning to have a second child will probably want to weigh the items above to see whether the cost is going to feel similar to baby #1, or whether it could be more or less expensive.
Planning Financially For Baby #2
Before having a second baby, you might wish to sit down and project the expenses involved, from medical costs to childcare to diapers to an allowance for the unexpected. If you can, consider longer term expenses like extracurricular programs and college.
Spending projections not only help you to see whether you can afford a child at your current level of income and spending, but they can guide you in knowing where you can splurge and where you might need to cut back. Spending on children can quite literally be limitless, so think of this as an exercise in prioritization.
Prepare an Emergency Fund
Kids are small, adorable… walking liabilities. Things get broken and kids (and parents) can and do get sick. Also, “regular” life stuff still happens: The economy could turn, parents can get laid off from jobs, grandparents can get sick, and accidents could happen. With little ones in tow, it’s even more important to be prepared in the event of an emergency.
Make a Debt Plan
If you have multiple sources of debt, it’s a good idea to sit down and map out a plan as soon as possible. The first step is to list all sources of debt, including monthly payments and interest rates.
Knowing that your monthly expenses are about to increase, are there any sources of debt—and therefore, monthly payments—that you can eliminate altogether? For example, do you have any credit card balances that you can work hard to wipe out, or significantly lessen, in a few months? High-interest credit card debt is a money suck; doing what you can to reduce interest expenses can help free up money for other stuff.
Consider Options for Student Loans
For some parents, paying off every source of debt, such as their student loans, won’t be possible prior to having children. This is especially the case for families that are attempting to balance making debt payments with saving up an emergency fund. Each parent will have to decide just how much to prioritize both debt payoff and saving prior to and while raising a child.
When you’re pregnant, student loans can feel overwhelming. First, know that you’re not alone and that plenty of parents successfully manage student loan payments while raising a child. If you’ll maintain a student loan balance after your second baby comes into the world, it may be worth exploring options to make those student loans cheaper.
One way to do this is through student loan refinancing. When a borrower refinances their student loans, they’re paying off their old loans—either federal, private, or both—with a new loan. Ideally, this new loan is issued at a lower interest rate or with more favorable terms. But remember, refinancing means you’ll forfeit federal loan benefits such as income-based repayment plans, deferment, and forbearance.
With a new loan, for example, a borrower can do one of a few things: First, they can keep the loan’s term (length) the same, and possibly lower their monthly interest payment thanks to an improved credit score and/or financial situation. This tactic could help free up some cash to spend on other things. Second, a borrower could use this new leeway to speed up their loan term, and pay their loans off faster. They would likely save the most on interest with this strategy, but monthly payments would likely be higher.
Third, a borrower could potentially refinance to a lower rate and lengthen the loan’s term, which could lower the monthly payment significantly. This is an option that borrowers would be wise to consider only if they absolutely must, because you might end up paying even more in interest over the long run, even with a lower rate. (You can read more about all this here .)
When preparing financially for baby #2, there’s lots of planning to consider. But it will all be worth it to bring another bundle of joy into the world.
The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
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