Edit: Additional helpful information.

Location: USA: Oregon

Lifestyle: Middle-class and content that way. I have biologist job, so I'll never be 'rich' and "millions" is certainly an exaggeration.

Maternity leave: I should get 12 weeks of paid leave

Insurance: I have good insurance and it should cost $175 for the 48-96 (c-section) hour hospital stay.

My partner and I are planning on having a simple, quiet wedding and then trying to have a baby in the next 3 years or so. Since I have no real idea how much babies cost I'm wondering if you have any advice on how much to save/put away before baby arrives? I know you can't anticipate everything, but a ballpark number would be very helpful so I can open a savings account and start moving money into once my debt is paid off.

There are MANY different online estimators for costs of the first year of baby-life and they range from $5,000 - $15,000.

Has anyone had a child and felt like they were in a good place, financially, because you saved $?,??? amount before having them? How much did you save?

I'm working on paying off some debt, which is my primary goal the next year or so, but if I have a baby-goal account amount, I can very slowly start to work toward that too. Once my debt is paid off and my baby-account is full I can begin to think about setting up a college-fund for said future child.

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    The range is wide because a lot depends on insurance coverage and level of care needed. The high-end of the 'average' range is a great starting point, but you can get more specific if you look at your insurance coverage. Also, if available make sure to max out HSA contributions in years prior to help. – Hart CO May 15 '20 at 21:14
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    Please state your location. The answer would be VERY different in, say, Germany vs. the US. – Hilmar May 15 '20 at 21:40
  • Location is a major factor. Some hospitals charge zero, others a lot. Some jurisdictions have no maternity leave benefits, others are generous. etc. – Chris W. Rea May 16 '20 at 0:04
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    This is more of a lifestyle question. It can cost zero to millions – Dheer May 16 '20 at 10:44

My wife and I just had our first child and we did not have anything "saved" due to other major expenses right before, but we had a good amount of extra money each month.

Giving you an amount of money to save is highly subjective (and thus off-topic for this site), because essentially every parent would buy different things for their child. Are you going to buy name-brand formula or breast feed? Will you have a different outfit for every day or send them running around the house in only a diaper 80% of the time?

The best thing to do is determine the essentials and budget those. For example: diapers, clothes, food, and medical costs.

  1. Diapers - Probably the biggest expense at first, but fairly easy to estimate. Newborns will go through 10-15 diapers a day which goes down slightly as they get older. Calculate the cost per diaper, average number of diapers needed per day, and now you have an amount of money per month (give or take).
  2. Clothes - Could range from $10 a month to $1,000 a month. Our son is 5 months old and we have not bought a single piece of clothing for him. 100% was given to us from family and friends. If we did have to buy clothes I would go to a second-hand store and buy them for 75%+ off the original sticker price. You could buy brand new clothes every week, it depends.
  3. Food - If you breast feed then no cost. But, you will have to be more careful with your diet which may bump up your grocery costs a little bit. If your baby is formula fed then this is easy to estimate given the number of ounces a container of formula will make and the amount of formula your baby needs each day.
  4. Medical - Sounds like you know how much the delivery is going to cost. What about follow-up visits? Most "good" insurance will cover these 100%, but double-check. I would set aside at least some money each month to cover non-routine visits for a fever or something else. Up to you whether you want to specifically save for catastrophic hospital visits.

Can you cover these monthly expenses with your income now? Great! If not, you need to pay off debt or decrease spending in other areas. I would suggest living like you have a baby (as far as money is concerned) for a couple months, before you actually have them. Just to get used to the regular expenses.

There are of course many, many other things to consider and many, many other things people will try to convince you that you need. Everything else you determine whether it is worth the money and budget for it as you would anything else.

Bottom line, cover the essentials and then if you have money left over, worry about the rest. In the end all the baby needs is food, a safe place to grow, and your tender love and care.

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    Keep in mind that baby has its own deductible and receives hospital care just like mom! – Eric May 20 '20 at 19:04

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