How Much Do You Need to Save Before Starting a Family?

Starting a family can bring tremendous joy to your life, but ask any parent, and they’ll tell you it isn’t cheap. In fact, it costs $233,610 to raise a child through the age of 17. If you save money ahead of time, you can smooth sail through the first stages of parenthood.

Although starting a family can be pretty nerve-wracking, remember that you’re not in it alone. Our software enables you to view key spending insights, making it easier to refine your budget as a new parent.

Whether you’re planning a few years in advance or currently expecting, consider the below expenses when you create your savings plan:

Medical Bills

Plans through the Insurance Marketplace cover the cost of childbirth. Nevertheless, you’ll still be on the hook for out-of-pocket copays and deductibles. Childbirth costs an average of $21,243 in the United States – more than the average family coverage deductible of $8,439. Therefore, you should expect to pay your plan’s deductible (if you haven’t already) plus any copayment.

Many couples use a health savings account (HSA) to help pay for childbirth (a qualified medical expense). Although the maximum amount you can contribute to an HSA changes frequently, it’s currently $7,300. Health savings accounts boast significant tax advantages – you don’t have to pay income tax on money that goes into the account or on withdraws.

A Nursery

Unlike some of the other items on our list, furnishing a nursey isn’t a pay-as-you-go expense. You’ll need everything in place before you bring your newborn home. A nursey costs anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000, depending on your personal taste.

The standard nursery should have the following big-ticket items:

  • Crib
  • Crib mattress pads and sheets
  • Changing table
  • Rocking chair
  • Baby monitor
  • Nursery rug
  • Toybox


You’ll need to stock up on various supplies before you bring the baby home: diapers, baby powder, wipes, bottles, formula, lotion, and so forth. Supplies can easily cost upwards of $1,000, so it’s a great idea to create a stockpile far in advance. When you’re not scrambling to buy everything at once, you have more time to look for deals and save money while you’re at it.

Time Away From Work

According to the Family and Medical Leave Act, employers must provide employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year. Those eligible for FMLA must have worked for their current employer for 1,250 hours during the past year. Although not mandated by law, many organizations provide paid leave.

If your employer doesn’t provide paid leave, then you’ll want to start saving well in advance. Like an emergency fund, you should set up a separate account just for maternity (or paternity) leave. Creating a different account keeps you from commingling funds, making it easier to know once you hit your goal.

You should save enough money to cover lost income during your time away from work plus any additional expenses. Depending on your level of discretionary income, you may need to start saving for FMLA even before you conceive.


The average cost of childcare for a newborn is approximately $340 per week or $17,680 per year. You don’t necessarily need to save for childcare before starting a family, but you should consider its impact on your budget. Since you’ll incur a handful of newfound expenses (i.e., insurance and food), it might be a smart idea to save for six months to a year of childcare. 

Even if starting a family is at the back of your mind, it never hurts to see if your employer offers childcare assistance. If it does, you could significantly reduce your expenses and use the money for other areas of your budget, such as investments.

Emergency Fund

When you’re bringing a little one on board, it’s even more critical to have an emergency fund. Most financial experts recommend saving three to six months’ living expenses. However, many people like to stay conservative and aim for six months. You should have this money in an easily accessible bank account.  

If you want leftover money at the end of the month to stick in your emergency fund, you should create a budget and follow it to a T. Our software enables you to view critical insights about your spending habits, which ultimately helps you live within your means and allocate more towards your emergency fund in preparation of your newborn.  

529 Savings Plan

Saving for your child’s education is probably the last thing you’re thinking about right now, especially if you haven’t even conceived yet. Nevertheless, getting an early start is an excellent way to pave the path for your child’s future. Using a 529 savings plan is one of the most popular ways to save for a minor’s education. A 529 savings plan is similar to a Roth IRA – it lets you deposit and invest after-tax income without having to pay taxes on any gains.

Don’t let the expenses of parenthood overwhelm you. While you’ll have to make significant changes to your budget, our platform can take a lot of weight off your shoulders with its financial visualizations and key spending insights. Use Chunk Finance to stay on top of your spending habits before and after you start a family.

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Ready to start your journey to

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Ready to start your journey to

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