It’s all fine and good to want to have a baby, but are your ready financially? Here’s what to expect and tips on how best to prepare yourself.
WORDS CHRISTEL GERALYN GOMES
Like many other things in Singapore, having a baby comes with a price tag. Many first-time parents find themselves making an emotional decision to have a child before thinking about it realistically in dollars and cents. To avoid anxiety, have enough in the bank and plan for emergencies before embarking on that beautiful journey toward parenthood.
Wondering what to expect? Here are the inescapable costs to be aware of.
Prenatal and delivery costs will rack up. Consultations, supplements and a hospital delivery package are things you’ll almost certainly spend on, and although some of it is claimable through Medisave, don’t count on it to cover everything.
In mid-2016, the Medisave scheme for Singaporeans was updated such that new parents can use more of their Medisave for delivery expenses. According to the Ministry of Health’s official website, “Parents can use their Medisave for delivery expenses, as well as pre-delivery medical expenses such as consultations and ultrasound. Under the Medisave Maternity Package, you may withdraw up to $450 for each day in the hospital, plus $900 for pre-delivery medical expenses and an additional surgical withdrawal limit between $750 and $2,150 depending on the type of delivery procedure.”
The total claimable limit for vaginal deliveries is $3,OOO while for caesareans, it is a maximum of
$4,85O, regardless of whether you choose a private or public hospital. Note that in the event of
complications, an emergency caesarean can easily cost $1O,OOO or more.
The rest of your bill must be paid out of pocket. A rough estimate of your total delivery expenses – before Medisave helps defray the cost – ranges widely. A prenatal package covering scans, tests and vitamins can cost between $400 at a public hospital and $2,000 at a private one. A delivery package will range between $1,000 to $4,000 at a public hospital, and up to $13,000 at a private hospital. Once your baby is born, doctor’s visits are estimated to be $2,000 for the next two years.
Medical bills are not the only thing you’ll worry about. Diapers, milk bottles, baby clothes, baby furniture, and other tempting items such as sheet savers, changing tables, and baby food steamers are not cheap.
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A pack of 64 newborn diapers can cost anywhere between $10 and $30, and you’ll go through it quicker than you think. One can of good baby formula costs about the same as well, with premium prices being even higher. Sleepsuits, cute baby clothes and comfy at-home wear will all add up and can range from $10 to $100 per piece, depending on the brand, level of comfort and how cute it is. Remember also that baby will outgrow his clothes very quickly in his first… well, 16 years of life! A set of feeding essentials (four bottles, a pacifier and a cleaning brush) costs $55 from a popular brand among parents here and expect to pay about the same for other brands of similar quality. A manual breast pump will cost above $50 and between $200 and $800 for an electric one.
Expect to also spend an absolute minimum of $500 on very
basic baby furniture such as a cot and chair, and depending on what
else you want, up to $2,000 to $3,000.
If both parents work, and you require childcare, prepare for it to cost between $600 and $2,000 monthly. A live-in helper will cost about $1,000 monthly.
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Primary and secondary school education is affordable at about $150 and $300 in fees per year. However, add to this your child’s daily allowance, tuition classes, and book and stationery costs and you’ll be spending a tidy sum per month. But before you get there, preschool education can add up to quite a bit as well with fees going as high as more than $2,000 per month. Don’t forget the extras like music or dance classes which can also be very expensive.
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