Our Budget With a Toddler

It's amazing how quickly babies change. A few short months ago, Rooney wasn't even walking. And now, I can hardly remember what it was like when she was just crawling around. Our budget is similar. I can't really remember what it was like having to spend $150 a month on formula. That seems crazy in my head, but I know we did it, because we blogged about it. Toddler Budget

I certainly don't want this post to come off as "having a child is a burden," but we all know kids can be expensive, and I'd rather help others prepare financially if they can before heading into the unknown, and possibly get a peek into areas where you can prepare to make the financial transition a little easier.

Toddler Expenses

  • Day care: $598.40/month (based on Rooney being at day care four days a week; these rates will go down when she turns 2)
  • Health insurance: $277/month (comes out of my paycheck automagically)
  • Chiropractic care: $73/month ($220/3 people on our family plan)
  • Baby items: $60/month (disposable diapers, wipes, bath soap, diaper cream, sunscreen, bug spray, lotion...)
  • Clothes: $10/month (We have oodles of hand-me-downs, so we don't need much, although Kelsey would love to have more)
  • Food: $125/month (this is an estimate; she eats a lot of what we eat, and we now order for her at restaurants as well)
  • Babysitter: $10/month (we recently added this budget category, we've been blessed to have awesome friends/family do this for free thus far)
Grand Total: $1,153.40/month

Wow! And that is just an estimate and does not include the less-often expenses:

  • Dentist: Roo has her first appointment today, but it's not covered under insurance so we'll pay for it out of pocket.
  • Doctor: Roo's well-child checkups cost us $25 each, so $125 total the first year and $100 the second year.

Before taking another deep look at the numbers, I wasn't sure if it has gotten better or worse since Rooney stopped taking a bottle (around 12 months). In my head, I think we saved money, but we also increased our food budget significantly, because we are buying her more food these days. We increased our food budget by about $125 a month. By that math, I suppose we saved $25 a month. But, since she's more active, we find ourselves getting out of the house more for entertainment, which probably ends up costing us money (fro-yo and eating out mostly, but also family trips to the pool and zoo).

Every situation is different. This should be used as a rough estimate at best if you are trying to budget for a toddler. Having relatives with young daughters means we get a lot of hand-me-down clothes and toys. It's great, but if you're not as fortunate, you may find yourself scrounging garage sales or Craigslist to get good deals on stuff for your toddler.

In our situation, I'm not sure what we would do if we had to buy all of the things we now have without help from generous friends and family. I suppose our Saturday mornings would be spent driving around to garage sales.

If you have a toddler and a budget, how is yours different? How do you save money on toddler expenses?