Moms

First-baby expenses at a glance

First-baby expenses at a glance

First-time parents making a shopping list for their baby's needs should expect to spend about $7,040 getting ready and then raising the child through that initial year, according to Alan Fields, co-author of the Baby Bargains shopping guide.

Fields and his wife and co-author, Denise, surveyed more than 1,000 parents to get a feel for the retail prices people paid for baby staples such as cribs, diapers and baby food. They've seen that average total expense climb 22 percent from about $5,750 in 1994, when they started the survey. Here is how the typical expenses stack up this year, not counting medical bills, child care or saving for college. This total also assumes the mother breast-feeds for the first six months.

Crib, mattress, dresser, rocker: $1,500

Bedding/decor: $325

Baby clothes: $600

Disposable diapers: $860

Maternity/nursing clothes: $1,130

Nursery items, highchair, toys: $475

Baby food/formula: $950

Stroller, car seats, carrier: $600

Miscellaneous: $600

Read before dipping into your 401(k)

During a tight economy, some individuals may look to their 401(k) plans as a resource. But borrowing from a 401(k) has a decided downside. Before dipping into your retirement plan, check out some of these websites:

401khelpcenter.com: Provides an overview of borrowing from a 401(k) and pros and cons. www.401khelpcenter.com/loans.html

Bankrate.com: Features a calculator to determine the cost of borrowing from a 401(k). www.bankrate.com/brm/calc/401kl.asp

Credit Union National Association: Offers borrowing basics, with a calculator to show how borrowing can affect a 401(k) balance. hffo.cuna.org/12433/article/135/html

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority: Details 401(k) borrowing rules and weighs positives and negatives. apps.finra.org/Investor_Information/Smart/401k/801100.asp

Smart Money: Discusses pitfalls of tapping a 401(k) and the circumstances when it may be necessary. www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/retirement/tapping-your-401k-before-you-retire-7924

-- McClatchy Newspapers

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