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If you didn't have kids, would you be rich by now?

Bundle: Couples with kids spend 14% more than couples without.

By Janet Paskin Mar 18, 2010 1:56PM

Kids are expensive. They outgrow their clothes every year and drink milk by the cow-full. Add extras like braces, summer camp and piano lessons, and more than one parent will testify to the financial drain -- worth every penny! -- of raising a kid. Which raises the question: Would you be better off, financially speaking, if you skipped the procreation?

Not necessarily. According to data from, MSN Money's partner site that lets you see how people across the country are spending, married people with children do spend more than married people without children -- but not by as much as you might think. On groceries, for example, in December, married parents making between $50,000 and $75,000 per year spent $362. Married couples without kids in the same income bracket spent $330. Less, sure, but only 9% less. 


That's not an aberration. Across income categories, married parents spent about 14% more on groceries in 2009 than childless couples -- which is about the same difference in total annual spending (not including mortgage or rent) between married people with kids, who spent $46,160 last year, and married people without kids, who spent $40,304.

Of course, over time, that's not insignificant. For most people, an extra $500 or so in monthly expenses is a lot to stomach, and if you were to invest it instead for 25 years at 6%, your nest egg would be $337,000 bigger than that of the parents next door.


But it's not like skipping out on parenthood would make you a millionaire. For one thing, you'd still have to be a disciplined saver. As it is, married people without kids spend almost as much money, just on different things. Like pets (above), and charity. And I'm guessing there's more blue cheese than Go-gurt in their grocery carts. 

More from Bundle on parents, kids, money:

Editor's note: Janet Paskin is Bundle's managing editor. She will report back regularly to MSN Money about spending trends and how America spends and saves. She can be reached at

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