Why it costs so much to raise a kid
The typical middle-income family will spend $235,000 raising a child to age 17. Here are some of the ways that cost adds up.
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I don't have children yet, but I don't see the point or necessity of having them in MULTIPLE extra-curricular activities. Two of my friends have their kids constantly going, going, going. Mom is with one kid, Dad is with the other. They're never home and they're all exhausted. One friend has her 10 year old daughter in all the same sports she was in as a child. Her daughter hates all of them but my friend won't let her be a quitter. So, she's really just wasting her money and the kid is miserable. And she keeps signing her up year after year. Sigh...
Back in my day (I'm 31) my brother and I each got ONE extra-curricular activity a year/season (football, cheerleading, etc..). If we were still bored after that we played in our room, read a book, or went to a friends house. A six year old taking chess, ballet, AND gymnastics?! That's insane.
I don't understand the $275 cost of cloth diapers for a year listed. I priced cloth diapers and decided to go with disposables because the lowest retail price of new cloth diapers around here was $20 apiece. Since a child dirties at least 10/day, you're looking at $200 minimum for startup if you wash every day... not factoring in the additional cost of utilities and detergent. And that's only for the first size! You will need at least 3 sizes to get through the first year. $600/minimum plus utilities and detergents. Those special detergents aren't cheap, either.
Also, outside major cities, the price of preschool and child care are much, MUCH less. In NYS, all children can go to pre-K for free. I don't know anyone in my town who has spent more than $2500 on private preschool.
It seems like all the costs were figured for those from larger cities, actually. And the whole sports and extracurricular thing? They are optional. Let's face it, Joe Schmo is not paying this much money for his kids. MANY of us are raising children on $45,000 annual incomes or less... without going into debt.
Why in the hell would ANYbody want to deal with cloth diapers?
Get disposables and a diaper Genie
To say those costs look surreal is an understatement. I was only educated in the public
school system after exiting the parochial school at age 6 because the nuns wouldn't
address me in English and I wasn't familiar with French. Public schools and their sports programs were free, except there were no sports programs in the early-Fifties in New
England where I grew up. We played free baseball, got tennis rackets for our birthdays, bargained for skis, swam in the ponds or lakes or ocean and took it from there.
Otherwise, we just pursued our academic lesson plans (most graduated at age 16 from
high school and entered a state or private university at standard college freshman level (no remedial courses offered for catching up). If you couldn't cut the criteria for entry, one
sought factory work or commercial domestic service employment. The military offered
one alternative avenue to an education if one completed a tour and would then apply
for GI benefits. My Marine Corps sister did it that way and finally, well into here thirties,
finally received her MA.
Few ever paid for an all-day baby sitter but many opted for relief to attend a leisure event.
Baby sitters were not nannies, that is, they offered no certified teaching or social skills but
instead watched the kids for a quarter an hour (plus or minus). All diapers were recycled.
Since no one received welfare benefits and few had heard or were eligible for unemployment
benefits, kids walked to school and adults walked the pavement seeking job opportunities
or to their job. School buses were uncommon in U.S. until the mid-60s. Dental care?
Take a good look now at most seniors dentures to grasp how decadent dental care programs
once were. No money for security, education, services, training, eating, shelter or transport
resulted in non-delivery of goods BECAUSE there wasn't any credit prior to the Sixties.
One could grow their gardens, hunt for game, fish or barter; otherwise no 'sale'.
I never had a paid baby sitter in my life, and summer camp was a few months off
with a distant grand parent. I used to walk home from my friend's home at 11PM alone
at age ten or so for about three blocks; no dangers except maybe a lost bobcat who
would appear from the cemetery and scare the heck out of me because they were much
bigger than the cat.
Medical insurance? Not likely either THEN. Cars for graduation? Heck, there weren't
even cars for most newlyweds; women didn't drive, many (new comers who didn't speak
the language), didn't work outside the home, or hadn't graduated from elementary school.
SOME PEOPLE COULDN'T READ A MAP, others didn't understand the concept of a
democratic government and its responsibilities or privileges. People walked, shared or
bussed to jobs. People didn't have money to 'spend' so they frequented churches or
libraries, or READ BOOKS, pursued creative or craft arts or career journeyman skills.
$8,000 a year for a family of four today doesn't nearly deliver the same standard of living
as it did in the late-Fifties to my ancestors.
Barring the misfortunate of having a sick or disabled child, I would say spoiling them to death is a big, big part of the expense. When our now-grown-with-kids-of-their-own kids were children, we couldn't afford to give them every thing their little old hearts desired, and felt no guilt about it. They were dearly loved, well fed, comfortably housed and dressed, educated, and got a few presents on the appropriate holidays. We did not try to keep up with the Joneses or anybody else. We were a family, and most of our activities were simple and inexpensive. In reading over some of these remarks, I am reminded of cloth diapers, of which I changed, washed, and dried many. Not that big a deal, and a lot cheaper and more sanitary than letting children wear these disposibles hanging to their knees with the weight of urine. Yuk.
And I don't believe most kids today know what NO means, because they're never told that. Just listen to them screaming in Walmart until Mom finally gives in and buys what they want.
(Because it's worth it)
2. Why does it cost so much to raise kids ?
(Because THEY'RE......uhhh, never mind)
Well, maybe my kid's pedigree wasn't storied enough to get into that private school that cost $14,995 per year...but...at least we dared to afford a stay at home parent and got to avoid the daycare into preschool fees from six weeks on.
And, I, rather than some other mother figure got to watch my kid. And, after reading this article, I know just how much my services were worth to our little family. The price of daycare.
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