Time really flies because not too long ago, Heartland Boy still remember vividly the scene of Olympia being pulled out by the gynecologist with the use of forceps. In a twinkling of an eye, Olympia celebrated her first birthday last month. Crossing this milestone also meant that Heartland Boy has been a father for a year. He is now finally able to answer the commonly asked question of “How much does it cost to raise a child in her first year in Singapore?” Drawing on his own experience, this blog article reveals the cost of raising a baby in her first year.
Total Cost Of Raising Baby Olympia In Her First Year
The total cost of raising Olympia in her first year amounted to approximately $41,000 as shown in Diagram 1.
These are estimates of the full costs incurred from Day 0 to Day 365. Out of the $41,000, some were one-off costs and some would probably continue to be recurring costs. Towards the end of the article, I also explain how some government subsidies and CPF funds helped to offset the overall cash outlay.
One-off Costs Of Raising Baby In First Year
1. Baby Delivery
Earlier on, Heartland Boy described the beautiful scene of Olympia being introduced to the world for the first time. Well, the baby delivery experienced some hiccups and as a result, cost a few thousands more than expected.
In Olympia’s first month, she also fell sick on 2 occasions and had to be hospitalized due to fever as part of standard operating procedure. Because her hospitalization and surgery (H&S) medical plan had not come into effect then, her total medical bills had to be paid out of the parents’ pockets. Of course, it was definitely a relief that the eventual diagnosis revealed nothing more than just the common flu virus. Yet, this $5,100 was really quite a demoralizing blow, especially to first-time parents like them still struggling to cope with a newborn.
Recurring Costs Of Raising Baby In First Year
Olympia’s hospitalization drove home the importance of having sufficient insurance coverage for a newborn even harder. To that end, Heartland Boy eventually purchased an integrated shield plan, a personal accident plan and a whole life policy. This will be a recurring cost as the premiums will be paid annually.
2. Immunisation & PD Consultations
Olympia completed her first-year immunization jabs at a polyclinic. Heartland Boy was glad to learn that the mandatory vaccination programmes were completely subsidized by the government. Heartland Boy only had to pay additional fees for optional vaccination against rotavirus and pneumococcal disease.
During the first year, it was also inevitable that Olympia fell sick a couple more times. However, as she was older than 3 months old then, it was not compulsory for her to be hospitalized. They sent her to the PD and were glad to learn that it was again just the common flu bugging her.
3. Caregiving Arrangement
Heartland Boy paid her mother-in-law to look after Olympia on a full-time basis. After they moved into their new BTO, Heartland Boy hired a maid to lend an extra pair of helping hands in the household. They even made the decision to send the helper to a caregiving course so that the caregiving philosophy and approach would be aligned in the household. This will definitely be a recurring cost in the years to come and it will possibly increase if they decide to send Olympia for childcare or playgroup sessions when she turns 18 months old.
Except for the first month when Heartland Girl’s breast milk supply had yet to stabilize, Olympia was fortunate enough to be breast-fed exclusively. On top of the superior health contents, breastfeeding also saved a big chunk of the food cost.
When Olympia turned 6 months old, she also started experimenting with solids. Her preferred choice of protein is fish and Heartland Boy estimates that he spends approx. $20 per week on the baby’s groceries. Groceries and daily essentials are often delivered to his house via platforms such as Amazon, Redmart etc.
5. Daily Essentials
Very early on, Heartland Boy already made the decision to buy one of the cheapest brands of diapers for Olympia. Thankfully, this worked out fine till now. They also depended on a few hand-me-downs in this segment to reduce the cost. For instance, the cot was a hand-me-down from his cousin. 90% of her wardrobe were either hand-me-downs or gifts that she received during her baby shower party.
Heartland Couple did invest in a brand-new Donna stroller though. It is a good investment because it conveniently doubles up as a car-seat at the same time. This negates the need to buy a car seat, which is the perfect solution for parents without car!
6. Enrichment Activities
The only enrichment activity which Olympia attended in her first year was related to swimming. She started out at BabySpa as Heartland Boy redeemed the free NS vouchers. Convinced that swimming is an important life skill, they upgraded her to Happy Fish once she turned 6 months old. Other activities such as cycling at East Coast Park, so they got her a super affordable kid’s helmet from Decathlon to accompany her Doona Liki Trike bought on Lazada.
Heartland Boy also succumbed to getting a Parklon playmat after hearing rave reviews about it. Unfortunately, it was not well utilized eventually as Olympia was walking at 10 months old. Coupled with her personality, it was no longer possible to keep her inside the playpen alone.
Olympia also took her maiden flight at 11 months old as she joined her parents and friends to a beach vacation in Bali.
As an infant, her air ticket was free but airport taxes still need to be borne. In addition, Heartland Boy spent $70 to apply a passport for her. The good news is that the government will waive this fee for all newborn Singaporeans from now on. What Heartland Boy is unsure about is how this will have a direct effect to encourage more Singaporeans to marry and have babies.
To commemorate her birth, the Heartland household did a baby photoshoot at StudioPlay. They were very happy with the end product and felt it was super value for money. As for her first birthday, it was just a simple celebration at home with the immediate family.
Cash Gift, Freebies, Subsidies To Mitigate Costs
There you have it, Heartland Boy spent a total cost of $41K in raising a newborn in her first year. Heartland Boy knows full well that this is a staggering amount and could even appear daunting. However, aspiring parents should not be anchored by this number as every household’s circumstances is different. Perhaps, there might not be a need for their child to be hospitalized twice in the first month? There is already $5,000 taken off from the $41,000.
Let’s not forget that there is a slew of government incentives on hand to assist parents. The Baby Bonus, which consists of cash gift, tax rebates, as well as cash top-up to the Child Development Account (‘CDA’), will help to offset the initial cash outlay. Part of the delivery fees can also be paid using MediSave.
Moreover, Heartland Boy has compiled a useful list of free baby stuff and samples that parents can gain access to. These free resources help to defray some of these child-rearing expenses.
Another often overlooked factor is the parents’ entertainment/leisure expense will naturally be reduced as a result of having a newborn. Tied up with babysitting duties or fatigue from looking after a newborn will result in less catch-up sessions with friends and date nights. Finally, while the cost of bringing up a baby is indeed high in Singapore, their smile/curious face at the end of the day would definitely make it worthwhile!
Olympia is really very cute!
For a person who is thinking about possibly having children in the future, 41k in the first year is VERY daunting. This is not even counting future infant care/childcare costs a few years down the road.
Baby bonus may help but as we can see, it is gone in the first year already. I wouldn’t say this will deter me to have kids but it has a great impact on a potential parent like me. Ahhhhhh
Thanks for your compliments. I shall let Olympia know.
$41K is really an anomaly because of the upsized delivery and then her 2 hospitalisation which was not covered by insurance. I expect it to be much lower for others, maybe in the region of $25-30K?
Congrats on year one of fatherhood! I’m a father of two, and childcare costs will definitely factor large into year 2 and beyond!
Yes, so far my wife has been looking at some play groups for our baby to join and they have not been very cheap unfortunately.
Keep seeing such a huge cost for a baby each time people calculate.
Personally in 2013 total expenses is $30.8k. total expense mean everything. Household. Utilities. Transport. Etc etc. Milk powder. Toys. His whole life insurance. No maid. I ignore medisave expenses.
Son was borned in Jan 2014 by the way.
If there’s no demand for the absolute best. I don’t think expense will rise so much.
With son at k1. In 2019. Looking at $35k expenses as a whole excluding minor renovations. His staple diet is Norwegian salmon.
Baby bonus? Enter account and invested. I’m not a high earner and wife is a part timer. So non-salaried income was really helpful.
Before baby I thought investing capital aka savings will reduce.
2019 $42 to 44k if exclude minor reno and mum’s Reno. If include Maybe ard $35k.
I guess it’s true tat baby bring blessing not just expenses.
There’s no need to demand for.the best.
Even clothes. Just get 2nd hand. When buy. Buy big ones. My son when younger sometimes wear shirt. The bottom edge below the knee 😀
It’s funny but cute.
Avoid buy those special clothes tat cost so much but only will wear like once n outgrow. Such a waste of money.
Birthday bash? I think my son would prefer converting the cost of holding a party to direct toys that he can choose. Instead of showing guest wat a big party we can make or imo money down the drain. Forgive me.
Realistically speaking. If raising a baby is very very expensive nearly 30k. I really wonder how blue collar raise their kids.
It’s all back to wants or needs. Since it’s yur child u always want the best. Best = needs right? Haha to each their own.
So how expensive to raise a baby. It is as expensive as u make it to be.
“Son. Control your bowels. Urine at toilet. U do tat consistently. No need diapers = toy for u.”
Money save from not buying diapers can go to buy him a toy or 2. And u continuously have diapers savings haha. The earlier the better.
Wow, i never thought i could find another person who would keep track of the costs in such great detail! kudos for sharing your experience! A lot of your tips are really useful for parents to be. My spending would pretty much be around $33K if i could avoid those mishaps- the complicated delivery + unexpected hospitalisations of the baby in the first month!
Mr Budget says
I echo what owlcents shared – S$41k is really a lot!
Did you budget for this and set aside a baby fund prior to conceiving or you use the S$41k and drawdown from your bank balance?
Hi Mr Budget,
This obviously exceeded our baby fund. I mean who can ever imagine the delivery could be more complicated and that the baby needs to be hospitalised- which couldnt be covered by insurance? Besides that, the other spending were pretty much in line with expectations! So the excess was drawn down from our joint account!
mrs spoon says
41k! is that even possible for an average household? that is about 4k a month… it is very very very scary amount.
Hi mrs spoon,
i agree the headline number looks scary. Take away the extraordinary events that occurred to me and the number will reduce to approx 30K? This cash outlay can then be reduced further with baby bonus and medisave funds.
Johan Yu says
Your photoshoot is quite cheap, is it recommended?
Can you share?
It was cheap and good value for money. Its studioplay