I was asked by a news outlet today if I would share some commentary around this recent report from the USDA on how much it costs to raise a child. Here’s the blurb on it from The Boston Globe:
A message for new parents: Get ready for sticker shock.
A child born in 2013 will cost a middle-income American family an average of $245,340 until he or she reaches age 18. And it’s more in the Northeast, roughly $282,480, according to a report out Monday.
The cost does not include college, or expenses if a child lives at home after age 17.
Those costs that are included — food, housing, child care, and education — rose 1.8 percent over the previous year, the Agriculture Department report said. Adjusting for projected inflation, a child born last year could cost a middle-income family an average of $304,480, the report added.
In 1960, the first year the report was issued, a middle-income family could spend about $25,230, equivalent to $198,560 in 2013 dollars, to raise a child. Housing costs are the greatest child-rearing expense, as they were in the 1960s, but current-day costs like child care were negligible back then. Housing expenses made up roughly 30 percent of the total cost of raising a child.
I found the prices fascinating and enjoyed getting to answer some questions on how to cut costs for this particular media piece. (I’ll let you know if and when it goes live — they may or may not use any of my commentary, but regardless, it was a great exercise to think through.)
What do YOU think? Does it cost $245,340 or more to raise a child to age 17? Have you ever calculated how much you’re spending on raising your kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Amanda Geering says
I do not believe it costs that much when you are a frugal family, you can cut costs anywhere you want to make ends meet and save. Calculating these costs is challenging depending on what kind of life you live. Live a simpler life you will have less expenses.
I have never sat down to factor it all out, so I can’t say right of bat if I agree or disagree with the number that was given. I do know, that despite my best efforts to be frugal and cut costs anywhere I can, it just doesn’t work well for my family. My child has multiple food allergies, some of which are life threatening, asthma, environmental allergies and sensitive skin conditions. Between medications (especially epi-pens) and all the specialty foods, drinks, skin care products and home products, I know we spend a higher amount. I’m rather interested to crunch the numbers and see what I get.
It could cost this much “IF” you give your child everything on a silver platter.
But I have 5 kids, and I highly doubt I spent any where near that on all 5.
My kids have had to work for most everything they got, and that includes working their way through college.
sally smith says
Ummm – lots more than that if you have a competitive gymnast!!!!
Personally, I think this average is pretty high. I calculated even including private school for my two children and Summer camp, and we’re still way under this “average”. Granted, it is a half day private school so it costs less than most. I have not worked outside the home since I had my first child. I also almost never pay full price for anything. I shop deals and coupon. For most of America, being frugal is a foreign concept.
D Lamb says
I’m a little stumped how housing can be factored in at a cost of 30%. I live in a house that I lived in prior to having children (2) and likely would stay in it if I didn’t have kids so how is housing calculated at such a large percentage? I think for our family our greatest expenses are health care and occasional camps/activities. Food, clothing and educational expenses do add up but are not the bulk of what we spend in our family. I think this number would be less daunting if we also looked at what we spend on ourselves to live every 18 years and if we also looked at our earnings over our working lifetime. If one person averages $75K/year salary for roughly 40 years, that’s $3M, so while $245K is ALOT of money, it’s roughly 8% of your lifetime income. And of course, some families spend more on their children than others and adjust their spending according to their earnings.
I think that number sounds about right. I’ve always been a SAHM so we never had any childcare expenses but our education expenses are higher than average so maybe that balances it out. I realize homeschooling can certainly be done for far cheaper than I am doing it (due to my health/organizational issues we outsource most of our kids’ education once they hit 8th grade or so…local classes, online classes, etc) but putting our kids in public school would save us a bundle. My 10th grader is actually going to public school full-time this year (he went part time last year). We had to buy him about $25 in school supplies. My homeschooled 9th grader, on the other hand, is costing us about $1400 this year (not including supplies like pencils, notebooks, etc) for 3 Potter’s School classes and a local science class. We also spend a good amount on violin and piano lessons for all our kids.
I was going to say we don’t buy them expensive toys but then I remembered the basketball hoop in the driveway, the dog, three cats and pony, the trampoline, the Kmart swimming pool, the acreage we live on with a creek to play in…hmmm, I guess we do buy them expensive toys 🙂
Did you notice one of the expenses listed was ‘housing’? When a couple pays rent or mortgage and then baby arrives….the rent or mortgage payment is still the same now that — baby makes three. 🙂 This figure alone skews the total!
I’ve never calculated it but I would estimate more in my case. Though my kids keep busy with swimming courses, 4-H so project costs there, concert halls, music classes, field trips with groups arranged through the school to places like DC, Chicago, Indianapolis etc. My oldest (almost 14) is also taking college courses on top of starting high school so I’m paying for those. This year alone I’m looking at paying for my youngest (10) to go to Washington DC and My oldest is going to Chicago and then raising money for her to go to Czech Republic with her Engineering class to volunteer for the summer…. Needless to say my kids drain us dry but they are very well traveled and really already have a lot of life experiences and I wouldn’t deny them that for the world.
So yes… I’m sure we will in the end pay much more than that.
If you have to pay for childcare, school, after school activities, toys, membership fees then yes. But in reality, no, I think a lot of people think that they have to give the children everything, and have to let them participate in everything so the child does not feel left out. I think that’s the main reason we live in such a “entitlement-society” today.
Unfortunately for my family this may be closer to accurate, however, for very specific reasons. My son is special needs and we have needed additional therapists (two so far and on a waiting list for the third) and equipment (weighted blacket, etc). We live simply and I stay home with him (the cost of daycare for a special needs child in our area was more than I could make working). If not paying for the extra testing, therapists, etc, for us the cost would be far under.
Although that’s a really scary number I don’t think the study applies to my family. With all the deal searching, coupon clipping and hand me downing our family does, we haven’t nearly spent that much on 4 kids (ages 14,11,8 and 1), and I keep strict records of spending.
That comes to about 1200 a month. I have one child and I don’t spend that much on her a month and she is a teenager? Are the calculating a house payment, car expenses, etc? If this is true then I would love more details.
We have raised our 4 children (debt free) on an income of 11K a year for 5 years, 15K a year for 5 years, and 40K a year for the following years. We were able to pay off our home after 10 years. I do think children add to the household expenses significantly once they start driving/going to college. We chose to live off of one income and home educate our children. Our family of 6 lived debt free for 15 years off a total income of about 325K. We have always had healthy insurance, which helped as one child has a life threatening illness. Perhaps cost of living would be higher for a single parent with one child, however, having two parents (with one staying home) does not seem to increase the household cost of living significantly. I find that friends without children spend money on pets and other things…sometimes more money than families spend on children.
Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving says
I certainly hope not, since I’m the new Mom of a 4 month old! I don’t believe it does. We live frugally and pinch pennies where we can so I can be a SAHM. Whatever the cost, babies are worth it, but I don’t believe the cost is as high as they say.
We are penny punchers too and our kids are pretty thrifty and great savers too. They enjoy buying things for themselves and they love saving up. I have 4 kids and we are a one income family and I am a SAHM and we homeschool. We don’t spend nearly this much! Maybe because we save on school clothes? Who knows.
They also say the average wedding costs something like $25,000. I don’t know anyone who spent that much! I think these types of statistics are a little ridiculous. Sure, it can cost that and more. But it won’t for us.
Well, my wedding cost around $3k almost 12 years ago. I paid $28 for my dress from Marshall Field’s clearance rack. We bought our bands at JC Penney clearance sale. Food was snack trays from Sam’s Club. Cake from Giant Eagle. Decorations, fountain, social hall rented from church. Officiant fee, groom’s tux, flowers, freelance photographer all included. But this was not a meal, no booze, no reception hall, no music/band, no solitaire in my wedding band, no honeymoon, … it was like my grandma’s 1940s wedding. On the other hand, my DH’s two sisters had what is more the traditional wedding of today- reception hall with open bar and buffet style meal, DJ, weeklong honeymoon, $1k dress, solitaire diamond in their rings, flowers on every table, professional photographer. Yes, their weddings did cost the $25k and they were in the same city (same church) as my wedding. Approximately the same number of guests, give or take 10 people. Their weddings weren’t opulent, they were what I would consider average. Twelve years later I am just as married as they are and we didn’t spend an extra $22k on it.
Jen T says
My youngest was premature, born at 28 weeks. Her bill from 62 days in the NICU were over $330,000, so we were WAY ahead before she even made it home. That aside, while the number is hard to swallow, if you live in an area where the cost of living is already ridiculously high, $245k was actually lower than I’d expect to see.
My sister was born at 23 weeks, 5 days gestation and wasn’t expected to survive, but she did. She was in the NICU for 7 months. Our mom was due on Christmas Eve, my sister was born on August 28 and she came home the next year on Good Friday. My sister hit the millions mark before she left the hospital. She was born in 1982.
I agree. I’m a SAHM with a 7yo, 4yo and 20mo. I quit my job earning $64k/year once taxes, daycare and bus pass/union dues were eating up all of my paychecks. I have a Master’s degree and had 8 years of experience. It’s been 3 years since I quit, so by the numbers I’ve lost $192k right there. But I wouldn’t have had that as a pile of cash anyway… but still, it’s money I haven’t paid into my future retirement and if I do return to working outside the home, I’ll likely be on a lower rung of the salary ladder.
Kids are expensive even if you make do, use it up and do without. My 2nd grader’s school supply list items just set us back a cool $50… my 4 year old has asthma that requires pricey medications… my kids drink 5 gallons of milk in a week… from housing to transportation to medical costs, clothing, food, water, electricity, birthdays, Christmas (and we don’t even give much for gifts to them!- they get 3 presents. and not fancy ones), one activity each (girl scouts and swimming at the $5 a lesson place)… and yes, my lost opportunities, I would say that over 18 years that’s accurate. As they get older, you’re looking at costlier activities and school supplies, college application fees, heartier appetites, boys that grow an inch a month and always need new pants… etc.
5 gallons of milk…..!?? Woah… That’s over half of my weekly grocery budget. We’re lucky if one gallon gets used before it spoils. I have a one and three year old. But… None of us drink it, it’s just cooked with.
We don’t even hit 30k a year pre tax and we want for nothing really, it’s all on how you budget.
You’re spot on. Wait until you have to buy your high schooler a $100 calculator!
Yep. I had to buy my own graphing calculator in 11th grade… um, which was 1995!!! It cost $100 back then too. Since I had a job waitressing, I was responsible for my own school supplies, clothing and personal care needs. My parents were among the working poor in minimum wage jobs and they couldn’t even afford to by me k-mart shoes.
Its all relative to your income and your spending practices. I have two boys and the oldest is 6. I don’t count my entire bill for their birth because my insurance would have been the same without the kids being on there. I count my out of pocket expense. So far I’ve only spent $12,700. When they are small the cost is small. Its sports,braces,clothing,food and (cars/insurance) that add to the total. My costs don’t include daycare/baby sitters (sahm). Since I have two boys the costs are smaller to. To keep my cost down i did the following:
-Diapers were stockpiled at discounted prices
-Don’t buy a lot of toys that just sit around. Get out and do things or buy educational electronics like v tech or leapfrog (my boys just decorate the carpet with other toys)
-Don’t spend a lot of money on furniture when they are little they will just destroy it. (or maybe that’s just my kids :D)
-Sign up for coupons from baby food and formula manufacturers. I once had a stockpile of baby food that lasted months(free).
I could not disagree with this more. I have a 5 year old and a 1 year old. I’m the oldest of 14. Unless you have a serious medical issue or some crazy event that causes significant financial issues, I don’t think there’s any reason it has to cost that much. Kids cost as much as much as you let them (unless in situations stated above).
Sarah Richardson says
DEFINITELY for us! The cost of me staying home and not working anymore will make that number very high. Also factor in housing, food, medical bills…even on the cheap- it adds up!
I have 4 kids and I’d be hard-pressed to say that I’m going to spend $1 million raising them. Give me a break. Our first home we owned (and never had kids in) had 3 bedrooms. Our home now for our family of 6 also has 3 bedrooms. Now if we decided we needed a 5 bedroom house, then maybe that would be a significant jump. However, I think most people are going to have a few bedrooms regardless if they have no kids, 1 kid or 2 kids even. And I find a lot of children’s clothes at consignment stores or handed down to me that are like new. It’s all what you make of it. If you decide you have to have brand new everything and every kid has to have their own everything, then yes, it could cost an arm and a leg.
I do not think that people who are SAHMs (and who do not have side businesses) are saving more money than the person who puts their kids in daycare. My mother had a middle class job before I was born. She homeschooled us, and we lived on a tight budget my entire childhood (with an income of an upper working class, lower middle class). After 20 years of homeschooling and nearly 30 off the work force, she not only missed out on 30 years of salary, but also she missed out on retirement itself. Even counting the cost of daycare, if we count the loss of income, after 30 years it exceeded $245 by a long shot.
Am I sorry she stayed home? Is she sorry? is my father sorry? Absolutely not. It was worth it to my parents. But yes, it cost money, and I get tired of homeschool parents talking about how cheap it is to raise kids. It’s not. Now as an adult myself, I see it. I live it.
I am a sahm and I can’t speak for everyone but under certain circumstances it is cheaper. If I had my children in childcare it would cost me at least $1,000 a month. I have not finished my degree yet. I would not be able to bring in enough income to cover daycare. A person also pays more in taxes when their income goes up. For me I would not break even. If a person does not have a college degree it makes sense to stay home. Now once my youngest is in school it will be more cost effective to work. Either way it is not “cheap” to raise a child.
We will never know the exact cost but it is worth every penny 🙂
Jacqueline P says
This article states both parents are working so I would guess in my area they would have a combined income of lets says 85K a year in 18 years with no extra income that’s 1.5mil in income. The child cost is only 16% of the overall income. Not bad, I still don’t think it costs anywhere near that unless you choose to spend that much.
It does not cost that much, there are those that live frugally that find out that kids actually don’t cost a lot! Only a small amount of our income each month goes towards our kids – it would never total that amount per child. The highest number I got when estimating very high for medical costs, clothing, food and misc. was $75,000 per child for 18 years.
I hate that society looks at children as a liability. They are human beings and are priceless! I think of my dying grandmother who is surrounded by her 4 children, who are taking care of in her last years of life – I’m sure she isn’t seeing them as liabilities now – if anything, they were investments and assets! They sure mean more to her than her decaying, old home – good thing she didn’t just live for that!
Heather @ My Mothermode says
Like- no, love- your comments!
I believe the number is high. But, as a mother to a special needs child, I can only imagine the amount that we have spent or insurance has spent on raising her. Some children reach that amount with their first hospital stay (prematurity) or accidents. I can’t imagine how we would survive if this was an actual figure. My husband put’s it this way: many people don’t even make that much in their lifetime and they have several children.
funny you mention the prematurity. My oldest son’s hospital stay (1 month NICU was 400,00 dollars in 2006.) In 2008 my daughters 4 week NICU stay was 550,000 dollars 😀
If it does then we are in trouble… that is over $13500 a year and we are about to have our 6th child. If I multiply that by number by 6 that is well over my husband’s income!!! I think one child could cost that much but children are generally cheaper by the dozen! 🙂
I really wouldn’t be surprised if that number didn’t run a little high, because I’m sure they factor in stuff like extra-curricular activities too (as a part of education). I know that our personal expenses for education are higher than average right now because our kids go to a private school and will until they each hit the 8th grade; after that, if no appropriate school is found, we’ll homeschool again. The twins have certainly ran up their fair share of urgent care copays, but not nearly as many as their sister. Housing is expensive here in the bedroom communities near Baltimore/DC as is food. I think that in other parts of the country, people can and do raise their children for far, far less than $245,340.
Yes, I think that the number would vary greatly by region. I know we spend a heck of a lot more living 2 miles from the beach in S.FL. than my friends who were smart enough to stay in the midwest!
The number is average, though, which means about half spend more and about half spend less. I’ll tell you this, when I drive up to my daycare in my 20 year old camry and park next to this year’s Mercedes – it is clear to me that I’m on the lower end and some of my son’s classmates are having a lot more spent on them!
It would also be interesting to see this as % of income rather than absolute numbers. Cost of living and wages vary so greatly across the country and in this average the trade off between two working parents or one working and one stay at home parent (higher income or lower costs) is totally invisible. Also, single income/single parent families or two working parents with free relative provided daycare, and all sorts of iterations of variations in family type can’t be discerned here at all. I bet that study has been done.
I’m curious what the total cost is when you add more children to the list. I would think that at some point they really do get cheaper by the dozen. If I’m truly into a good deal, I think more kids is the way to go… I’ve already invested in the maternity clothes anyway…
Too funny!! 🙂
I’m really laughing out loud here.
We are raising 6 children (11 and under) and believe me we don’t spend anywhere near that estimated $37/day per child. BTW the comment about cheaper by the dozen seems to be true (at least for us). An Italian man was once asked how he can raise his fairly large family. His answer was that it is not too expensive to add a couple more handfuls of pasta in the pot that’s already boiling.
Davonne Parks says
That equals up to $37.34 per day. Honestly, I don’t think it needs to cost nearly that much to raise a child. My housing is much less expensive than many childless people I know!
I think it depends a lot on each family and their personal priorities. If I wanted my kids in every sport, activity, and event as well as wanted to put them in a variety of expensive clothing, then yes our number may match up with the suggested amount in the article.
But when parents are trying to be frugal, being selective about extra-curricular activities, and not thinking their child needs every toy and fad on the market, then raising children doesn’t need to be a financial burden on the family.
These are very thought-provoking numbers, Crystal, thanks for sharing!
This actually doesn’t seem like that much to me, considering the amount food, clothing, necessities, etc. must cost throughtout an 18 year period. Plus if we took our income over 18 years, I’m sure we’d be surprised how much it actually comes out to.
If having children’s not worth the cost, then what is?! Nothing as fulfilling, I’m positive. 🙂
Same here. We live in Chicago and daycare alone is $2000/month. I would say this is on the high end, but $1700+ is not unusual.
As an average, taking into account both the ultra urban and very rural portions of the country, this seems accurate to me.
Don’t most kids live at home until 18 as most kids don’t graduate high school until they are 18? I’m confused as why the article only goes to age 17.
In reality 5 out of 5 of ours were home on college breaks and 3 out of 5 came back home to live for a period of time after college. Even foster care doesn’t put them out until 18.
They are 17 up until their 18th birthday. On their 18th birthday they are legally adults and parents are no longer legally responsible to take care of them. So “after the age of 17” would start on their 18th birthday. At least that was my interpretation.
It could cost that much, if you want it to. It sounds like a middle or even upper middle class number for sure. Obviously, not everyone in this country fits into that segment of society. Somehow kids from other income levels are making to adulthood!
I bet that figure includes things that not every family does, such as:
*day care (although, without this your income will be lower)
*summer camps, sports
*nice houses in the better part of town
* newer vehicles
*eating out/higher groceries due to convenience foods/no coupons
*vacations like Disney that cost more
*lots of clothes
*going to the movies
*expensive insurance plans
*buying from school fundraisers, school photos
Not that any of those things are bad. But many can be done without if necessary.
I think we are being bamboozled here. Raising a child only consist of food, shelter (if you had to up grade for the space) clothing, and medical care. everything else is an extra, that you do because you want to, the child can survive with out trips to Disney land
I don’t think the figures are too far off. Our kid is nearly 4. His birth, which was uncomplicated cost >$25K. Diapers and formula ran us about $71 a month. Childcare cost $1200 a month when he was in day care, and runs about $650 now for summer day camp and pre-nursery. So he’s run us about $70K already, and that doesn’t account for a stitch of clothes, food, activities, medicines, health care or incidentals.
While a child could be raised for less, I expect we will soon meet and exceed the national average.
In answer to that I will just give a testimony. We raised 5 children on one average income. All five have a bachelor’s degree and only two of them took on a small amount of debt to get through college. We home schooled all of them all the way through so that did contribute to some full tuition scholarships. We even paid cash for braces on teeth five times. At this point we are one year past our youngest’s college graduation and 5 years past home schooling. I have not worked at any type of job for 35 years so we are truly one income. We have a primary residence that is paid for and a share in a house on a lake that is paid for. We have saved a very good amount for retirement and are completely debt free. We tithe 10% of our pretax income and have been doing so for at least 30 years. Yes, we were not able to do things like eat out on a regular basis or go on expensive vacations but we have always had all that we needed and more. Our children have actually thanked us for not giving them everything that they ever asked for and for modeling financial responsibility to them. If you are faithful then God will provide every need. I look back and do not know where all of that money came from but we always had what we needed when we needed it.
Wow, that’s incredible! I’m not sure if I could imagine not having a job for 35 years. But what an amazing testimony of what God can do for us with faith!
I am rarely bored! Even now that I have been a stay at home wife for over 5 years I am busy with keeping house and projects everyday. I also have time to spend with the grandchildren. I am thankful for my husband allowing me to be at home.
Being an available mom and grandma is SUCH a blessing. I just now realized how thankful I am for my own mom being so available to me by being home….not just when we were at home, but still now that I have my own family.
Wonderful to read!
We are expecting baby #3 and I am home full time. I was part time for a short time but am going on over a year home full time now. The adjustment was hard at first financially but we started a zero based budget. After sticking to it for a few months and some judgment from others that we are poor or cheap we are in shock over how easy living on a single income is. We want for nothing and are much happier living on less, it’s amazing.
I worry sometimes if my kids will miss out not being in all the extra activities other kids are but I really think a simple life will benefit them much more in the long run
We chose to not be involved in very many outside activities because we felt that family time was better. None of our kids were sports minded and we never did all those activities other than neighborhood kids playing basketball in the driveway and that sort of thing. I do not regret our choices! I will always prefer the simple life! Isn’t it great?
I love your testimony and agree with you Lana! Thanks for sharing, God Bless you!
Beautiful story Lana, thanks for sharing!!!
Thanks for sharing! It’s so good to hear from someone who made it! We’re just starting out with one baby and one on the way. We feel it’s really important for me to be home with them, but right now I’m tired and sick. It’s great encouragement to hear that it can be done!
Thank you for sharing! This is very encouraging, Lana.
I always find these studies interesting. The fact is, if we were not spending the money on our kids, we would find other things to spend it on that probably would be a lot less worthy 🙂
This annual report was talked about around 20 years ago in The Tightwad Gazette So it is ‘nothing new under the sun.’ I’m sure the numbers for 18 years worth of food, shelter, commuting costs and what have you look just as frightening but the media doesn’t try to tell people to avoid those things.
I agree. My first thought when I hears this report was “how much does it cost for a person to care for herself over a 18 year period.” I am not sure I understand the purpose of putting a number on what it costs to raise a child.
The media’s not telling people to avoid having children. The USDA is just providing estimates to help people plan. These numbers are also used to help determine foster care and child support payments.
But it does discourage young couples:(
We have raised 9 children on 1 income for the past 37 years. It took some sacrifices like no Disney vacations but we had fun more cheaply. We homeschooled so got to spend quantity time with our children. Our children worked to put themselves through college with no financial aid from the government. It can be done!
I will say that, while I had always scoffed at all those studies, there’s more merit to them than I thought. We bought a bigger house knowing that we have three kids so far (bigger than the two bedroom just he and I would have gotten, and where we bought, houses are crazy expensive). We have all three kids in the same car my husband had since college, but when we need a new one, it might be a larger one than just he and I would get, because we can never drive a single extra person with us as it stands. Plus, I don’t work, and I would if I didn’t have kids; I don’t know if they count that, but it is a “cost” for us. Babies are cheap (for us – I stay home, breastfeed, and use cloth diapers), but they keep getting pricier the older they get 🙂
In practice though, I really think these studies only function as anti-kid scare tactics. It sounds like a big number all at once, but people don’t usually compare that to all their income over the next 17 years. Plus, it varies widely from family to family, I’m sure.
I was just reading a book entitled The Tightwad Gazette ( a very good read, btw). It had an article on this same thing, but from 1993. At that time the same group said it would cost $334,600 to raise a second child from birth to age 18. Among other interesting ideas, the author of this article actually detailed how they came to this number. Anyone with an ounce of common sense could raise a child for less than what the government says is “average”. No wonder our government is a mess.
My mom taught me as a little girl…
If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all!
Heather @ My Mothermode says
The fact is that a lot of us are working very hard to raise our children for less than what the government estimates. Breastfeeding, cloth diapers, mending, crafting, staying home, and other practices make it work. If I worked outside the home while raising children, I would have spent most of my income on daycare, gas, convenience foods, and perhaps a more extravagant home and vacations.
My state food stamp allotment for a family of 5 is $750/month. I can not imagine spending anywhere close to that for groceries in a month! In addition to couponing, my family is growing, preserving, and cooking staple foods in a way that is foreign to a lot of people. I think it would be awesome to see the government teach these ‘original’ ways of living.
I think these numbers can scare any couple away that is considering building a family.
The rewards of being a parent out ways the cost!!!
We are expecting earth baby #1 (miscarried our first), and I hope this isn’t true! We will be cloth diapering, I stay home, and we use essential oils as our first line for health care, and we will homeschool, so hopefully those changes will help it cost less. We buy used and accept hand-me-downs, we buy food from Aldi and local co-ops…but I can’t imagine spending that much per child!
I agree with Amanda, we do all the same things with three kids, essential oils, homeschool, hand-me-downs…. I don’t think it costs anywhere near that!!
Don’t worry- it’s not that expensive!
Crystal @ Serving Joyfully says
Definitely not that much. I think most things in life can be as expensive or frugal as you want to make it.
However, I’d be interested in hearing about how they figured the numbers. For example, with housing–hubby and I would live somewhere regardless of the children. We lived in a 3 bedroom place even before we had kids, so I’m not sure how much of our housing expenses would really be fair to assess as being “child-raising expenses.”
Yeah, I had the same thought! I’m sure if you attribute the housing/clothing/food costs to every child, those numbers would be realistic, but my parents raised/are raising 6 kids. So we all live in the same house and have hand-me-downed since forever (and buy them second hand to start with!). And we home school, and any curriculum that could be hand-me-downed, was. That *may* be the average, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what it cost/costs my parents. You also have to consider, there are the people that live like no one else (in the very little sense) and the people that live like no one else (in the extravagant sense) and those in between. Those of us that got into “techy” stuff, bought it ourselves. I know families where each kid gets their own laptop, ipad, and iphone all paid for by their parents.
But if you pay your child an allowance of $5 every week from birth to 17, that *is* nearly $5000. And in my opinion, that’s a conservative amount!
Amanda Beringer says
That’s a pretty scary number…especially since I’m raising twins! I don’t know if that’s what it costs for my family as we’re pretty thrifty, but day care alone costs about $15,000 per year for my 3-year old twins. That’s down from almost $18,000 a year when they were infants! Day care is our biggest expense for the kids….everything else we save money where we can!