Cost of Raising a Child

money child

Few parents consider the cost of raising a child in the beginning, beyond the cost of diapers, formula, clothes, and childcare. A recent study by the United States Department of Agriculture estimates that a dual parent family with a median income will spend just over $170,400 to raise ONE child from the ages of 0-17. This figure does not include any college or educational expense beyond the age of 17, and an average collegiate tuition rounds out to approximately $24,000 per year for an out-of-state college and approximately $10,000 for an in-state school. These are the figures for one child and any family with more than one child will spend much, much more. When you see this in black and white, it is almost amazing that any family can afford to have children.

According to a 2008 survey, the most expensive years are the ones between the ages of 15-17, when the average household can expect around $8,000 in total expenses!

According to a 2008 survey, the most expensive years are the ones between the ages of 15-17, when the average household can expect around $8,000 in total expenses!

Food costs alone for one child from birth to the age of 17 totals a whopping $24,000, and this does not consider that many families shop haphazardly and without pinching pennies. Perhaps all those prepackaged snack foods and convenience foods should be quickly taken off the shopping list.

For parents who only have one child the costs are drastically increased because research shows that single children households spend more money on their one child, than families who have multiple children do. This might explain the “only child” syndrome that takes over many children who have no siblings.

Consider also that the average cost for miscellaneous expenses is between $600 and $700 per year, per age; whereas in reality miscellaneous expenses like softball uniforms, supplies, dancing costumes, birthday presents, parties, and holiday gifts can cost more than that in a single month, and you can easily see that the figures are deflated. If your child has medical or dental expenditures that are beyond the norm, thousands upon thousands of dollars can be added to these figures. No wonder so many parents are depressed!

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Common sense should shift all of us to take a good hard look at these figures, and try to imagine where all of this money is going. When parents are putting off medical care of their own, and avoiding buying new clothes or shoes for themselves so they can provide these things for their children, they are leaving very little in the kitty with which to take care of themselves. $170,000 essentially divides into about $10,000 per year to raise one child; that is a decent chunk of annual income for a lot of people.

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Cost of Raising a Child

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18 comments

  1. Karleen says:

    Reading this article was depressing but very informative. I’m been thinking more and more about saving money and where my money is going. With a second child on the way, I can’t help but to do so.

  2. MrsPearson says:

    when its a baby its kinda better to bargin shop they want be a baby forever

  3. Tina says:

    yes I know it will be expensive, but growing up my parents were bargain shoppers. To this day I am sometimes I might be too picky when it comes to prices. In the end it’s all about how much are you willing to pay for the items. To me I always felt like it’s better to go on the cheaper route so that I will have more $ later on. This helps so you aren’t so stressed. yes I agree that there are certain things that you want to spend more $ on for the quality, but clothes in my opinion is not one of them. If you need the name brand clothing to be friends with a certain group you should ask yourself are these ppl really my friends. I loved the way my parents raised me and I plan to have very similar parenting strategy

  4. I’m all about saving money. Costco and Sam’s club for her food, target brand diapers, and store brand snacks. I buy her Hugs juices from Sam’s they are cheep and low in sugar. reusable squeeze packs filled with applesauce bought in bulk rather then paying 1.50 for one 4 oz snack. Also thrift and consignment shops for her clothes. .50-1.00 for a pair of jeans verses 8-10 at Walmart. Baby and Toddler clothes don’t get worn out before they are out grown! Most of the stuff I get is like new and some as inexpensive as .15 Yes! 15 cents!

  5. jaimee says:

    Children have to keep up with the jones’s. They want the $200 sneakers and the $100 jeans…for what!!! to keep up with the image. Growing up i never had that option. So I cant imagine spending that kind of money on one child never mind 2.

  6. PrettyBoogs says:

    My S/O is all about buying in bulk and saving all that money. We are def. about getting more bang for our buck. these articles are nice little reminders of how we can pinch some pennies.

  7. Hipmom808 says:

    Expensive but very very worth it!

  8. Valerie says:

    he’s worth every penny. 🙂

  9. ChrisS says:

    I know one child is expensive already but the cost is $24,000 is a bit too much. There is a way to save. I spend more or less $10,000 for one year for my son. It includes diapers, wipes, formula, etc.

  10. Jeanetta says:

    $24,000 to feed one child!!!! WOW I had no clue kids cost that much money.

  11. brittni says:

    Very helpful article. I think ever new parents needs to read this!

  12. Anngelica says:

    reality check!!!

  13. lisa_iowa says:

    What better thing to spend money on?

  14. wow!! i never thought they cost THAT much!! i knew it was A LOT, but, wow!!! i have 2, hope they’ll help take care of me one day after raising them has broken my bank, lol.

  15. SammysMOMMY says:

    kids are expensive!

  16. i agree …not many people think about , it adds up.

  17. daniela says:

    scary how much it cost to raise a child.

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