Learning that you’re expecting a child is an emotional time. While there is plenty of elation and wonder, there is also some anxiety and worry. Am I ready? Will I know what to do? Can I afford this?
The cost of raising a child is a valid and very common concern, across socio-economic groups and especially among those surviving paycheck to paycheck. The US Department of Agriculture publishes an annual report on the coast of raising a child in the United States. However, the last time the report was published was 2017. U.S. News and World Reports estimates that “adjusted for inflation, the [cost of raising a child] is $267,233 in 2021 dollars, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
Expenses Can Quickly Add Up
Giving birth and raising a baby is expensive – especially in the United States where healthcare costs can be astronomical. Parents Magazine writes, “the average cost of having a vaginal delivery is between $5,000 and $11,000 in most states.” Those costs increase for a c-section. Then, once the baby is born, there are the costs of diapers, food, doctors’ visits, and other miscellaneous costs just in the first year. These costs quickly add up. There is also additional furniture, equipment, and clothes, to budget for.
While the first year is one of the most expensive, as children age, many of these costs add up. Expenses vary as the child ages but for average middle income family, the Department of Agriculture estimates the three biggest expenses while kids are young are housing, food, and child care. The Plutus Foundation estimates the cost of food alone can be nearly $3,000 per year with child care and education costs coming in at over $37,000.
Even if they’ve outgrown childcare, as children age, the costs of raising them increases for several reasons. Their food costs increase, cost of clothing increases, and as they begin to drive, there is gas and insurance costs (even if they don’t own their own car).
Many Families Need Help
Even with one or two parents working stable jobs, adding a child to the family requires careful budgeting. For those living below the poverty line, it can feel nearly impossible to create a budget where every family member is well cared for. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 38% of children in the US live in low-income families while one in five children are considered poor. Low-income families are those with four members, two of whom are children, making less than $51,852 per year.
Poverty impacts children and families in every state, those of every race and ethnicity. While there are several government programs to help struggling families, applying for assistance can be daunting. Help is available, but the qualification requirements and application processes for each program can be confusing.
There have been several relief programs added since the start of the pandemic but for some, these only increase the sense of overwhelm. Finance writer Maryalene LaPonsie writes, “Pre-pandemic, people could walk into churches, community nonprofits and government offices to request help in navigating the application process. However, many of those buildings are now closed to the public.” People in need are now looking to family, friends, and local community non-profits for help.
How You Can Help
Donating essential items to families in need has never been easier. There are several nationwide relief organizations focused on helping families like the United Way, the American Red Cross and Salvation Army. However, there are also many local nonprofits, church groups, and charities always accepting donations to help those in need.
DollarDays partners with hundreds of organizations to help serve their communities. From convenient wish lists to thousands of high-quality items, you’ll find everything you need to make a lasting impact.
High Priced Items Families Cannot be Without
One of the most essential and expensive costs for new families is diapers. On average, babies use up to 12 diapers per day. Therefore, the National Diaper Bank Network estimates the cost of diapers to be about $80 per month. Food stamps do not cover the costs of diapers making this simple necessity difficult to buy for many families. We’ve got a wide variety of diapers, wipes, and diapering accessories in wholesale quantities.
Baby equipment like strollers, baby gates, and safety locks and kits are other huge cost for new parents. With the cost of formula running up to $1,500 per year, helping new parents with feeding accessories can go a long way in easing the financial burdens for families.
Helping the Most Vulnerable Mothers
The homeless with children face even more challenges in providing for their families. The American Institutes for Research places the homeless population at “a staggering 2.5 million children…This historic high represents one in every 30 children in the United States.” These children represent some of the most vulnerable within our communities.
Since 1992, the Homeless Children’s Network has been working tirelessly to help homeless children within the San Francisco area and beyond. They offer several opportunities to get involved including volunteering and donations. As part of the Local Independent Charities of America network, you can easily find other charities closer to home where you can contribute.
Homeless shelters for women and children are always on the lookout for generous donations. DollarDays stocks hundreds of items from winter clothes (for them and their babies) to shoes to food to hygiene products. Homeless children in particular, are at a greater need for school supplies and may be reluctant to reach out and ask for help.
Homeless children deal with a tremendous amount of stress and worry. It’s also important for them to feel like kids too. Donating toys and games is just as important for the overall well-being of our kids. DollarDays has several classic games from which to choose as well as educational STEM toys, puzzles and activity books that will put a smile on any kids’ face.
The DollarDays Difference
At DollarDays, we understand the importance of treating everyone with dignity and respect. We love working with companies and organizations that want to make a difference without anyone feeling different. Join us in helping your neighbors today.