Can We Afford a Baby?

Ultrasound and positive pregnancy test
© Ramona Heim/AdobeStock
Many couples would like to start their family, but worry they can't pull it off financially.

Many couples would like to start their family, but worry they can’t pull it off financially.

I remember when my wife and I first started thinking about having a baby, one of the first questions I asked was, “How can we afford this?” Our combined income was manageable, but we had a lot of education debt and my wife really wanted to stay home with our baby – which meant potentially cutting our budget in half.

In the midst of our anxiety about affording a child, however, a mentor couple said something we’ll never forget: “budget for everything except children – children are wealth.”

On its face, this sounded totally irresponsible. Budgets are good things and children can be expensive. But we’ve found wisdom in this countercultural idea that might be helpful to you.

First, it’s reminded us over the years that the costs and financial sacrifices associated with children really are different from the other ways we spend our money. Few expenditures provide as much return on investment or have the same eternal value. Seeing children as wealth can help you rethink which things in your budget really are must-haves and which things are worth exchanging for the gift of new life.

Secondly, this phrase has helped us realize that as important as it is to count the costs, our checkbook shouldn’t be the final word. God is the creator of new life and He’s also the one who sustains that life by providing for us as we follow His call to be fruitful. As you objectively look at your expenses and income, don’t rule out God’s desire to bless you. We’ve traded stories with our friends over the years about raises, gifts and other unexpected provisions that followed after trusting God to provide for our new families.

For some couples, a dedicated period of fiscal stewardship can help them knock out debts and build up savings that make starting a family more affordable. But as couples get married later, they also have to be good stewards of their fertility and energy.

If God has given you the desire to start a family, you can trust that He’s also able to multiply your efforts as good stewards of what He gives you – including the possible wealth of children.

Looking at your personal circumstances, you might see challenges that could make the next year a tough time to start a family. Psalm 139 reminds us, however, that God ordains the days for each person before any of them come to be. If God has ordained this year as the time for a new child to join your family, you can believe that He is also able to “meet all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Whatever your circumstances, you can trust the Creator of life to help you start a family.

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