Sunday, 18 May 2014

The Cost Of Raising A Child In Singapore

Very often, when I tell people that I am still studying and have a family of my own with my own kid, they will ask me about my expenses, whether it is hefty for someone my age etcetera. Since this is not about my day to day living expenses, I will not include things like utilities, rent. Today, I am simply going to do couples a favour and post my total expenses from the start of my wife's pregnancy journey to my current 9 months old baby girl's monthly expenses. This might provide soon-to-be mothers and fathers a heads up on what kind of expenses to expect. Take note that individual circumstances might vary and my expenses are very conservative as I did not do some checks which were unnecessary like checking the gender of the baby (no matter if its a girl or boy, my reasoning was that I will still love him/her the same). I will also add in additional tips and touch on what are some of the benefits provided by the Singapore government to help with costs of raising a baby in Singapore.

My wife did her checks regularly at NUH (National University Hospital) and delivered there as well. At that time, we got a senior consultant as others were unavailable. In the end, this turn out to be the smartest move as even though the rate was 20-25% above normal consultants (around SGD$100+ if I remembered correctly), the doctor was very understanding of my status as a student and sometimes waived off the fees. I remain appreciative of her gesture to this day. As a result, the total check up costs amounted to about $1,000-$1,500 for the full 9 months inclusive of trimester appointments, compulsory checks like diseases screening, down syndrome screening (not compulsory but I still did it as I felt it was important, around $200).

I got a class B something ward for my wife. The room was shared with 3 other ladies. The total costs amounted to around $4,000-$4,200 for the delivery costs, 2 days stay in cost, epidural ($400+) to relieve labor pains. Therefore, I estimate the total costs for the full 9 months until delivery to be about $5,500-$6,000, which incidentally, is close to the amount that is provided by the cash component of the baby bonus for the first baby ($6,000), which is given in 3 batches of $3,000 in the first few weeks, $1,500 in the next 6 months, and another $1,500 6 months later within a total duration of 1 year. Take note that my wife had a natural birth and any complications or advanced surgical procedures like cesarean will be much more costly.

After the birth of my baby, we went to a polyclinic for her immunisation injections and vaccines, and it was free of charge. A special note here is that the government now also allocates a $3,000 medisave account for a Singaporean baby to defray medical expenses for the baby. The monthly diapers expenses come to about $50, while milk expenses come to about another $50. We also bought a baby cot ($150), a baby stroller ($250), a baby carrier ($70), some baby materials (>$100), some toys (>$100) throughout the 9 months. There was one time we went to the emergency ward for the baby after she came back from overseas and the cost was around $100+ as well. A good policy present is the Child Development's Account (CDA) in which the government performs a dollar to dollar matching up to $6,000 for the first baby before the age of 12. Therefore, one only has to put in $500 a year to maximize the increased balance provided by the government for the child's day to day needs, educational expenses and medical expenses at selected locations.

All in all, I expect expenses to increase after my baby girl comes of age to go to childcare centres to learn, as well as to make friends (around one and a half years old). However, I heard that there are also subsidies provided by the Singapore government and I will be looking it up as well. The first 9 months of raising a child is definitely manageable, even for a student like me who is making minimum wages every month haha. Of course, I place great emphasis on providing the best for my baby girl and will definitely splurge if there is a need, like spending close to $2,000 overseas for her medical expenses (reclaimed by travel insurance, but will still spend even if it is not claimable). The joy of seeing my baby girl definitely outweighs any spending that I have to made. She has changed my entire life and I will definitely strive much harder for her. At the end of a hard day work, she is able to put a smile to my face, even if I just worked for more than 12 hours.

No comments:

Post a Comment