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.
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.
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!