US News & World Report’s Alpha Consumer Blog offers a quiz to help you determine the answer to the following ever-puzzling question: Can you afford to have a baby? [Alpha Consumer]


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  1. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    I scored a one.

  2. spinachdip says:

    We actually spend less now that we have a baby.

    If you’re like most young folks, you’re not going to maintain your current lifestyle once the baby comes. You won’t go out drinking or dining (at least fine dining), because even if you wanted to, you will have neither the time nor the energy.

    If you don’t need a bigger home or a new car, and adding the baby to your insurance isn’t unreasonable, your day-to-day expenses should be manageable. Plus relatives will come out of the woodwork to buy and pass down clothes and toys.

    This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be prudent with your spending and try to save as much as you can, but I wouldn’t freak out either. It’s less about the expenses than about having a larger safety net, I think.

  3. plasticredtophat says:

    hmm wow, I have two kids, and It says I need to plan better for a baby.. hahaha

  4. mrplatts says:

    The answer is no, you probably cannot afford to have a baby. But, have one anyway, it is worth having to sacrifice a few things for.

  5. stinerman says:

    LULZ. I got a 0.

  6. Me - now with more humidity says:

    If you wait until you can afford it, or until the time is “right,” you’ll never do it — and you’ll miss out on one of the most amazing things life has to offer.

  7. zigziggityzoo says:

    I got a 1. yeeeouch.

  8. zigziggityzoo says:

    @Me: You’ve seen Idiocracy, haven’t you.

  9. sauceistheboss says:

    I wonder what the average score for a WIC participant is.

  10. purplesun says:

    I knew the answer would be know even before I took the quiz.

    Good thing I don’t want to have kids.

  11. purplesun says:

    *no. I meant “no.” Edit function please? ;p

  12. evslin says:

    I got a 3. Good thing I’m single and have no life.

  13. timmus says:

    I’m waiting for the “Can You Afford A Wife?” quiz.

  14. evslin says:

    @timmus: I think the answer to that is automatically no.

  15. Narockstar says:

    Oh good, I can’t afford a screaming, smelly, obnoxious source of constant disappointment. Whew! Dodged a bullet there.

  16. It’s really those pesky child labor laws that make children an expensive hassle. If we could just get them back to work in the coal mines, or having their little fingers fix delicate machinery then we could go from red to black in a second.

  17. rbcat says:

    People who think to ask this question don’t have kids, and those who don’t think to ask this question have many kids. Ergo, our population continually gets more dumb.

    @zigziggityzoo: I did. :)

  18. LJKelley says:

    Well I got a 5, but then I’m gay and not really interested at this point in time.

    But its quite pointless as I think any good parent will say a child is worth the sacrifice. My sister had the cutest baby 4 months ago and I doubt they did a quiz or that they have spent $10,000 on it delivery and preperation.

    But maybe in a few years, especially if laws improve an adoption may be considered. Let me see how this kitten thing goes first :)

  19. Trai_Dep says:

    Since they got rid of dowries, having babies is no longer fun.
    Besides, when gas hits $35/gal, I can always eat my kitten. Babies? WAY too much fat.

  20. TangDrinker says:

    I think they also neglected to point out all the cash you’ll be saving by not having the time to go out and have a life. It’s not like you just have a kid and then keep spending the same time/money on the crap you used to. Maybe you up your netflix cue during the first year, but seriously? 5-10K?

    Plus – if you know you’re planning on having a kid during the next calendar year, you can have fundage taken out of your check for a dependent account (like health savings account). It’s only 5K a year max (and has to be used during that year), but it does help.

    I guess if things get too tough, you can always Ebay the baybay.

  21. Angryrider says:

    All the questions boil down to whether or not I have the money. If you live pretty cheaply, you could theoretically have a child, but I won’t. Earth’s populated enough as it is, unless we wanna beat those Chinese in the population race.

  22. serreca says:

    @Me: That’s exactly what everyone keeps telling me and my husband because we keep going back and forth about trying for a baby or waiting longer. I just don’t want to wait and then end up having fertility problems because we waited TOO long!

  23. Me - now with more humidity says:

    @serreca: We were in our 40s when our son was born (with fertility issues). But all our friends with kids say the same thing: there is no “right” time. You just have to go for it if you want kids.

    And for all those waving the “I can be fulfilled without kids” flag. Yes, you can. I was fulfilled, too. Then I chose to have one — and love every minute of it — but you have to do what’s right for you. Life’s great either way.

  24. SonicMan says:

    @Narockstar: For what? Baby or wife?


  25. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    All of you people who say “Go right ahead, have kids even if you can’t afford it” are nuts or worse.

  26. hi says:

    @wesmills: That is so true.

  27. darksunfox says:

    Name a person who had kids when it was 1) a convenient time 2) they were financially ready and 3) they were emotionally ready. Anybody got a long list?

  28. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @TangDrinker: It’s not like you just have a kid and then keep spending the same time/money on the crap you used to.

    Well, you do keep spending the same amount of time and money – you just spend it all on the baby instead of your golf game.

    Maybe you up your netflix cue during the first year, but seriously? 5-10K?

    Think of it as startup costs. Except instead of a copier and office supplies, it’s for a crib and diapers

    Also, what the hell is going on with this site? Apparently the solution to the “additional comments” links not working right all week was to limit all threads to 100 posts, and retroactively delete every comment on every article that fell outside that limit?


  29. MissPeacock says:

    @TinyBug: I noticed this too over on Jezebel. It’s also like that on Deadspin and the other Gawker sites. I have no idea what’s going on. And no new stories for the morning on the Consumerist!!! Bizzaro-world.

    It is Friday the 13th, though. Maybe that explains it?

  30. savvy9999 says:

    LOL, I wish I only paid $1000 a month for child care (per kid). What boondock city is that figure taken from? Infant care is even more expensive than that.

    I would also take umbrage at the new home/car bit. Very few people absolutely need a bigger house or a minivan to have a kid. After 3 or so it gets tight, but this conception that in order to have one or two kids you must have a 3000+ sq foot house and a monstrous SUV to haul all their crap around in, is patently false. We get by fine with a rather modest house in an older neighborhood, and one rather normal 4-door sedan.

    Like other posters have said, waiting until you have the $400k house and the $40k minivan, means most people will be waiting too long. Make do (hee hee!) with what you have, your kids won’t mind one bit.

  31. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    It wouldn’t be quite so annoying if someone had actually, you know, told us about it. Or apologized. Or let us know that “they’re taking it seriously.”

    Instead we get a week of poor functionality with no response to any of the customers complaints, followed by the completely unannounced implementation of a “solution” which a)makes the site worse and b)deletes thousands of posts submitted by the customers. This is all done without explanation or warning from the powers that be.

    Irony, thy name is Consumerist. You’d do well, Ben to go back and reread some of your own posts about how important quick, honest, ongoing communication is when trying to deal with systemic problems that affect a large number of your customers.

    Assuming those comments weren’t among those removed from view, that is.

  32. MissPeacock says:

    @TinyBug: Yeah, I would have appreciated some notice as well, or even a little post saying that there is a problem that they are working on. As it is now, who knows if those posts are coming back or not? Or if this 100-comment limit is just temporary or is a permanent change.

  33. @savvy9999: “I would also take umbrage at the new home/car bit.”

    Saying you DON’T need a new home/car gets you the “ready” point. It’s not saying you DO need a new home or car; it’s pointing out that if you’re NOT equipped for children, that’s a MAJOR expense. Some young couples realize they need to move out of their one-bedroom apartment into something larger; one couple we know were motorcyclists so when they decided to start trying for a baby, they were like, “Hm, apparently we must now buy one of them-there enclosed motor vehicle things.”

  34. Incidentally, I scored a 6 (I have no idea what our workplace maternity and paternity policies are). That’s the first time one of these things has made me feel better! Because I DON’T feel ready, even though we’re financially stable (even the quiz agrees), the timing is pretty good for me career-wise, and we’ve been married 5 years and even went to pre-spawning marriage counseling to decide if we were emotionally ready.

    I am still terrified of a Mini McGee. Also I will miss alcohol when the time comes.

  35. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Having kids when you know you can’t afford them is sane how, exactly?

  36. Shadowman615 says:

    Hmmmm. We certainly haven’t been struggling or anything, but shit, I got a 5. I guess I better send mine back then.

  37. I hate babies.

  38. Trai_Dep says:

    @postnocomments: Try them with an orange glaze. Works wonders!

  39. wfpearson says:

    If I had waited until I could afford them, I would have never had them. If my parents had waited, me and my siblings have never been born. Don’t take your family planning advice from Wall Street. If you’re more concerned with money than a family then buy a dog and get a vasectomy, you’d make a lousy dad anyway.

  40. Sanveann says:

    While it’s definitely good to have an idea of how you’ll afford to have a kid, I don’t think ANYONE (other than the super-wealthy) ever says, “OK, we are now totally and completely financially ready to have a child!” You just sort of get to a position where you’re mostly sure you’ll be OK, and then figure it out from there :)