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.

 of 9
 of 9

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

152Comments
Apr 2, 2013 7:44AM
avatar
I've been  a stay at home mom of 6 kids for 19 years.  My biggest expense is food -  about $1700/month. We've got 2 Kids in private school ($9000), rest in public, one in college.  My husband is a professional andt makes about $80K a year.  Here's the way we've done it.  My house is very lovely, but it's not been updated to the latest trends.  We've stayed out of debt.  We drive older cars and try to do most repairs ourselves, if possible.  My kids willingly wear hand-me-downs and we have one computer, no cable and only the oldest has a cell phone. Everybody has come to understand the difference between want and need.   My kids are wonderfully undemanding and very grateful for anything they receive, because they've come to understand through daily observation that they can't get everything they want because there are many others with greater needs.  I highly recommend having a large family, despite the cost which are really manageable if you are willing to make some material sacrifices.  In the end.... GOD REALLY PROVIDES IF YOU TRUST HIIM!!  
Apr 2, 2013 6:03AM
avatar
With the high cost of daycare, it's probably cheaper in the long run for one parent to stay at home and raise the children. Of course that won't work in a single parent household, but many households would possibly break even of come out ahead. As far as the multiple activities, why not choose one or just do what kids did in the olden days: go outside and play!
Apr 2, 2013 8:18AM
avatar
My siblings and I were born in the 50's and believe me, if it cost my parents that much to raise us they would have put us up for adoption. Somehow we managed to get along with a ball, bike and some dolls and board games. Go figure. 
Apr 2, 2013 5:20AM
avatar
Unless you plan on your child becoming a professional dancer, chess player, jockey, baseball player, etc, why have them enrolled in all these activities, much less at the same time.  There are many other options that are far less expensive that can provide an introduction to those activities (for the purpose of entertainment and fun), without breaking the bank.  All of these complaints about costs were about costs that were over the top.  If anyone were actually spending this kind of money on activities and stating that the food budget was being harmed or threatened, I would have to laugh.  It would be a gross mismanagement of money.  How about the children pick one activity? Is that really doing them a disservice?  How about the activity be at the local YMCA instead of a costly travel team?  How about telling them no for once.  When they are 30 is it really going to matter that they had to miss out on chess lessons and the travel basketball team?  Probably not.  Not a realistic article.  It sounded like the mothers I knew on Long Island who would complain about the cost of dance lessons for their daughters (they would enroll the children in 8 classes a week).  None of the girls chose dance as their career.  Mom had a short lived career as a dance taxi driver though.
Apr 2, 2013 7:31AM
avatar
Our kids are enrolled in one activitiy a time throughout the year that we "pay" for.  Sometimes thier grandparents chip in.  Thats always nice.  I live in a very small community but we have a karate instructor from Japan who only charges 35 bucks a month per kid.  Pool passes are quite cheap and summer softball is also cheap.  I doubt I'll ever move to the city.  I'm sure everyone pays more there.  And yes.....I am a stay at home mother and my husband works full time.  Works out great.  I don't have to work to pay for someone else to raise our children.  We aren't wealthy but we have nice things and life is comfortable. 
Apr 2, 2013 8:11AM
avatar

I am raising four children in a pricey part of the country and I am sorry, these costs are really exaggerated.  2,700 diapers per year is 8 per day.  No one changes that many times after the first month.  Spanish for a 2 year-old.  Really?  I know a whole lot of kids in speech therapy or occupational therapy.  Parents don't pay a penny of that.  It's all covered by the government when they are little, the school once they get older.  A local Pre-K is $1500 a school year, not $15,000, but many moms (including myself) run co-ops where the moms take turns teaching and it's nearly free.  (And all my kids ended up in the gifted program at school, so no, it doesn't hurt them academically.)  $100 for food for two days?  I spend $650 a month for a family of six and that's with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, organic milk, etc.  Just looked into driver's ed.  It's $350, not $500, and why can't the kid babysit or mow lawns until they come up with that?

 

My only concession is the computer.  They are right that much of the homework requires one with internet access.  In my 6th grader's algebra class, she needs to borrow my smartphone to check the answers because the teacher uses QR codes.  A single parent who works all hours and doesn't have reliable transportation can't take a kid to the library every night to do their homework.  But understanding computer technology in this century is as vital to a successful career as reading and writing, knowing how to use a telephone or drive a car was in the last one.  But it creates a greater divide between the haves and the have nots.

Apr 2, 2013 8:10AM
avatar
Sounds like we are all raising kids are overbooked and spoiled from this article.  That estimate is pretty high, unless you do have a child with special needs.  Parents make the CHOICE to send their kids to private schools/preschools and have them in so many activities!  The kids do not NEED to have the finest and best of everything and do everything their friends do.  I personally do not want to hear anyone whining about the cost of having one kid in 3 different sports.  I have 3 kids, and they will only be allowed ONE paid activity each.  With sequestration and the high cost of living where we are at,  we are lucky to be able to pay all our regular bills every month.  We have had to sacrifice a lot in terms of standard of living.  I coupon, shop end-of-season clearance sales for clothes, and we only go on vacation off-season, if at all.  Medical expenses would be our biggest expense for kids. 
Apr 2, 2013 8:01AM
avatar
Where the hell do they come up with this crap? I have 4 kids who in turn have 8 children. No way was that much even spent on all four of mine. For the grand kids? We watch them or they take turns watching at times. Daycare? Please!! Do a reality check. It isn't the high cost of raising a child, it is the high cost of parents that can't control the budget. and are bad with money.

Nice chuckle for the day though!

Apr 2, 2013 8:06AM
avatar
My husband and I decided a long time ago that when we had children, I would quit my job to stay home. It just wouldn't make any other sense. I would be working just to pay day care.  I think that families in general would do better if they kept in mind the good of the family over the pride of one person not working. It would be hard, but worth it in the end.
Apr 2, 2013 9:25AM
avatar
First of all, having children is OPTIONAL, not MANDATORY.  If you can barely support yourself, you can't properly support children.  Even if you can support yourself and children, consider having maybe two of them.  I know a guy my age that has NINE children.  Absolutely insane in this day and age.  Secondly, if you do have children, food, shelter, and clothing are basic requirements.  Day care, multiple activities, and lots of expensive toys and electronics are NOT requirements.  You must love your children and give them emotional support, but having everything they want only sets them up for a lifetime of thinking they deserve and are entitled to everything their little hearts desire.  Instill a love of reading and learning in them so as they get older, they can determine for themselves what they want to do with their lives.  Don't insist on them fulfilling YOUR lost dreams.  Finally, consider exposing them to faith-based things.  Having faith in more than they can see may give them hope throughout their lives, and without hope, life can be completely overwhelming.
Apr 2, 2013 8:18AM
avatar

You save a lot of money once the kid gets old enough for the state sponsored day care centers K-12 school.

I laugh at all of these parents who have their kids in gymnastics, dance, soccer, music, chess and whatever other extra activities for any kid under the age of 9, especially when they have them in multiple at a time. It's a waste of money as nearly every single kid will grow out of those interests by their teens or will have never liked doing any of them but the PARENT thinks their kid is the most special talented wonder of the world and we have to have them in these classes so they will become a superstar when in fact the kids are average at best. Quit helicopter parenting around your kid and let them be kids. There's nothing wrong with introducing them to all of these sports/hobbies at a young age but let THEM decide if they want to pursue those later on then you can encourage and get them lessons. I see it all the time where a kid CLEARLY does not want to be out on the field and you see them halftailing it around while the parent is screaming at the kid to do this and do that and do this faster....ect.

Apr 2, 2013 8:02AM
avatar
Spanish and swimming lessons for a 2 year old ?
Apr 2, 2013 7:58AM
avatar
Driver's ed classes?  They were part of my high school  classes. Otherwise adults taught me on their own.  Cost?  Nothing.
Apr 2, 2013 8:05AM
avatar

So, now I can better understand why the 1/3 of the population on min wage or close to it (16 -20 K a year) has to rob a bank once in a while.

Once again, MSN is talking to those 1 % of the population, those who were  born rich and does not have a 240 K college debt, and a new house with a 50 K + prop tax a year mortgage---This story is so far out that we aught to have someone there go back to actual school, and take an actual ,trip around this entire country a few hundred times like I have, instead of dreamer schools!!

Apr 2, 2013 8:50AM
avatar

Bull on this whole article, I have two children in sports the attend the local ymca and I pay for T-ball for a season $12.00 for my five year old boy and $30.00 for my 15year old daughter, the cost has not gone up or changed since my daughter has been five.

 

I go to thrift sales for toys, used clothes..........NO CHILD NEEDS BRAND NEW CLOTHES EVERY YEAR!!!!. A child does not need an Ipad an Iphone or a laptop all they need is a basic computer at home with basic internet connection to do their homework less than $30.00 a month.

 

Yes daycare is expensive this one i will give into and also the unexpected cost of medical bills.

Apr 2, 2013 8:51AM
avatar
I'm a single mom who makes more than minimum wage, but not by any stretch what I would call a decent living wage.  However I have managed to raise an amazing kid who is now almost 17.  Lower cost family run day cares,  church and community sponsored sports.  And not to mention the biggest laugh for me was THREE years of paid preschool??  I raised a gifted child who was so far ahead in kindergarten as to be bored and have to be moved ahead.  And he never was put in preschool! It's called PARENTING!  Even working full time as a single mom I found time to teach my child to read and do math as a toddler.  All of the numbers except perhaps food are grossly over stated.   I'm surprised the 98% of us raise children at all!

Apr 2, 2013 9:48AM
avatar
These are ridiculus examples...I guess thats how the rich raise thier kids by sending them off to day care, preschool and away on every trip the school suggests, but as a poor family wiht only one working parent we did not spend anywhere near that much, yes our daughter may not have had dance lessons or the most up to date computer but she was around her parents all the time and it cost next to nothing so far....learn to say no if you dont have the money, the kid will learn the value of a buck !
Apr 2, 2013 8:10AM
avatar
Steph720 has it right. We raised 9 kids (2 of our own and 7 foster kids - love them all equally). they got to chose one sport or similar activity per year, all were in scouting and all went to church and sunday school. The church offered many activities that were free. Scouting was most definitely the most expensive activity, without a doubt. Our children played outdoors, went "exploring" in the neighborhood, took walks in the woods with us, went to the local Botanical Garden (family membership was $35/year so was definitely a cheap outing), picnics at the local Nature Trail and mountain trails to explore, and we played tennis at the local elementary school playgound.  We did have a pool, so we did not have to bear the expense of membership fees which we thought were atrocious anyway. If I remember correctly that was about $750/year and we could maintain our pool for far less haha. They also had chores to help Dad and Mom in the home and outside on the property like cleaning out wooded areas and taking care of chickens and dogs and cats - yes they would be considered abused today and I say to that PLFFFFFFFT!!!! . We were probably considered odd that we didn't pay for all these "fill in every single hour so the children have no freedom and reflect upon us their parental beneficence" and spent so much time with our kids, but it paid off in the end and was all good.
Apr 2, 2013 7:59AM
avatar
Solution.  Abandon living in the expensive Northeast.
Apr 2, 2013 10:08AM
avatar
The above article is a load of ----.  We raised four children on a lot less than the million dollars you  state it takes; and they all have been successful in their chosen careers.  Quit trying to scare young people out of having children and stick to writing something you know about. 
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.