Cost to raise a child: $226,920
That's from birth through age 17, and it doesn't include college. How does your spending compare?
This post comes from Miranda Marquit at partner blog Bargaineering.
Every year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issues new statistics on the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18. The latest report says the average cost is $226,920 -- almost 40% more than a decade ago, CNNMoney reports.
That's for a middle-income, two-parent family with two kids in 2010. The numbers (.pdf file) change if you have a different income, or live in certain areas.
You can go to the USDA website and use its cost of raising a child calculator to get a more personalized view of the cost. According to my income and location, the USDA predicts I'll spend $26,463 a year on my son from birth through age 17. I'm pretty sure I'm not spending that much now. But I thought I'd work it out anyway.
How much am I spending to raise my son?
Looking at the USDA numbers is kind of daunting. Costs listed include housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, child care and education, and other.
The biggest expense on the list is housing, which I think is kind of silly in my case because my husband and I would probably live in the same size house, regardless of whether we had our son or not. At any rate, here is how we stack up so far this year.
I used actual figures for the first three quarters of the year, and then estimated fourth-quarter spending based on our current pace, assuming it stays the same (although I bet we actually cut back a little). The only exception is "other," where I include toys, since my son's birthday and Christmas are both coming up. I based that on last year's spending. Post continues after video.
Also, since I work from home, and have no need of child care beyond baby-sitting when my husband and I go out, I include my son's summer camps in that category, as well as sports activities and music lessons.
For food, health care, housing (including utilities) and transportation, I took my family's total costs and divided them by three to get the individual amount for my son. (USDA bases the housing expense on the cost of providing an additional bedroom, plus utilities and furniture for that room.)
Child care & education
That's more than I expected it to cost, and more than I spent last year on my son, but he is also involved in more activities this year. And we clearly spend a substantial amount of money eating out, which is why the average food cost is higher. However, I doubt that my son is eating as much as the adults at this point (and he doesn't eat out with us each time, even though I included all our restaurant visits in food costs).
As I mentioned before, my son really isn't adding to our housing costs. Without housing costs added in for my son, the yearly spending on him drops to being on track for $10,751 this year.
It's clear that spending on my son doesn't have to be what the USDA and others expect. How much do you spend on your kids?
More on Bargaineering and MSN Money:
Hey, this article was great! You know why... there were so little facts that apply to any one person that it really can't be stereotyped for all. Basically, they pulled a number out of a hat. So quit stressing over it. If they want to classify this as a normal price, then it is a great reference point.
Hear me out... two kids, same parents, same families, different houses. Dad raised brother with $60,000/yr. He had new things, money in pockets, little wants. Mom raised me with $24,000/yr. We had a garden, no internet, no cable, I played in the dirt, lived on my bike, enough wants to make me human, I was clean, fed, warm, happy, and put to bed every night with love.
Today... The family has gone on to grow and do better for themselves over the years, EXCEPT my brother and his wife. They live off of the welfare system with their three little girls. They experience little want as they have several cars, flat screens and other toys, food stamps, utilities paid, free medical and even vacations! I understand everyone else's comment on this issue, but as I near the completion of Graduate school and loans looming overhead (no, no government bailout or mom/daddy payout), my husband and I begin to look at planning a family together. A little outside view of what people are paying to raise their children helps give us an idea of what we will be facing. We will continue to grow our own produce and buy an organic cow from a farmer friend. We will shop Goodwill for play clothes and Target for our Sunday best. Our investment will be in childcare and education so they are prepared to face the world at 18 on their own two feet. And our home will still be the same with a little more love and a little more excitement of the rollercoaster call childrearing.
My well spent education has taught me to take this article with a grain of salt and do a little more research on my own. I stand proudly on my own two feet. Oh, and not forget to call mom and thank her for showing me what a little hard work can do!
I'm a dad of 7 and have that many grandchildren. You can cut the $225k by half or more if you feed your kids healthy foods, aren't too proud to use thrift stores (esp for little ones), avoid expensive activities and daily drive-in runs, and pay low-cost medical insurance. American children, like children anywhere, need a loving family (parents) and the basics. Let them read and play but also learn to pay their way early-on. Don't 'buy' their way (autos, ins, etc) or reward for good grades...Teach them real values and you'll find that you can raise many on a lot less. There's plenty for all if we don't all aspire to have what those in Bel Air have. Teach them conservation in using utilities, et al, that what you are inside is important and not name-brand clothing...and all the virtues that make for a responsible citizen. They don't NEED electronic entertainment, etc. It's ok if they're getting good parenting and discipline. And having 'things' is nice...but their soul is what really matters. I once resided in Bel Air so I know. Teach them well!
Kids are priceless. They are worth every penny invested....yes, invested...in them. It's insane to get caught up in the dollars and cents of parenting. Everything cost money. If you need to tally every resource you think you are going to have to put towards your theoretical child, maybe you just shouldn't do it. If all you see is dollar signs, that's no way to raise a kid. Does getting married cost you? Does adopting a pet cost you? Does having a child cost you? Of course but generally, the psychological and physical benefits outweight what you put in. It might not seem that way in the teenage years but those go quickly, too.
I believe the article above is way to vague and sketchy for anyone to have fears about parenthood based off of these numbers.
I love it when people post without reading the article. The whole article is about how the "cost of having a child" is inflated: inclusion of housing etc. The author of the article even explains that the estimate is above and beyond what he/she actually spends.
Too many people I know refuse to pursue their ex for child support. These people have no idea how much more money they would have to retire with if they didn't have to spend their entire incomes on their children. I'm the kind of person who would take every legal avenue possible to make sure that my ex paid me what she owed me if I had primary custody of the child. If I have to retire with half as much money as a result of the 'irresponsible' co-parent, then that other person is going to jail and/or facing wage garnishment. There are far too many deadbeat parents who are not held accountable for paying for the children they brought into this world.
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