Average Cost of Raising a Child on the Rise!

Are you considering adding a new member to the family? That’s great, kids are a blessing, but they are also pretty expensive. So while you and your partner are contemplating the idea of little ones running around the house, also give a thought or two to how are you going to raise them and how much money are you actually going to need.

Raising your child means buying food, clothes, books, paying for school trips and family vacations, bicycles and video games. Don’t forget the birthdays, prom nights and extracurricular activities such as sports or musical instruments. If you want to have your children learn another language or if they need tutoring in math, put this on the list too. Furthermore, they may have food allergies, they will get sick from time to time and sometimes, they are just too cute and you end up buying something they don’t actually need. In the end, these kids will start having a social life at some point and you can’t just deny them movies, ice skating or just going to the mall with friends.

  • A cool quarter million (college not included).

According to recent estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in their annual “Expenditures on Children by Families” report, the average cost of raising a child born in 2013 to the age of 18 is $245,000. This is almost 2 percent more than last year, or, put in numbers, $4,260 more… and it doesn’t even include college! It applies to a middle-class couple, but can vary drastically depending on where the couple lives and how much they make. A high-income Northeastern couple may end up spending up to $455,000, while a low-income family that lives in a more rural region will need much less, around $145,500.

  • Where it all goes to?

This report shows that out of the average $245,340, a family spends around $108,000 on housing and transportation, $44,400 goes for child care and education, food costs a little less than $40,000, clothing – almost $34,000 and health care takes up $20,130. So, by the time your child is old enough to go to college (let’s try not to think about those expenses right now), you will probably spend around a quarter million dollars on them. Meanwhile, the country’s medial income is still more than 8 percent below where it was before the recession, while the costs of health care and child care keep rising. In 2012, for example, center-based care for one infant cost more than rent in more than half of the states.

According to CNN, the top 5 unexpected, yet mostly unavoidable things that take up most money when raising a child are: food allergies (around $200 a month), birthdays (a three-child family spends around $3,500 annually on their and other people’s children’s birthdays), video games (a single mom says she spent $2,000 on her son’s love for gaming), spending money (around $60 monthly for a 10-year old girl, and it sure rises as they grow) and extracurricular activities (parents of a boy and a girl spend between $1,500 and 2,000). Unfortunately, you cannot avoid these expenses without feeling awfully guilty and getting the sad (or angry) look from your children. Some parents tried to cut back on some of these, but according to them, it was really hard or impossible. You can’t really just ignore your kids’ birthdays or lock them inside the house to keep them from spending money in the city mall, can you?

  • How can you lower the expenses?

Many families seem to have trouble getting by and, with time, they have found various ways to help each other. In times of Internet, it is much easier than it was before to find people like you. Various websites and blogs offer free baby clothes (since these are really used for a month tops, you can find pieces that were literally worn once), second-hand strollers and other equipment at lower prices – there are forums where the ones who have been through it will tell you where you can find cheep but quality merchandise. Also, you may be able to find another family willing to share a nanny, carpool to school or exchange school books.

Another good advice for anyone planning a family is to take some time to save up before pursuing that wish. You can decide that you wish to have a baby within a year and then start putting some money aside from every salary, so you can at least have something to start with when you become parents. Estimate how much you will need monthly for child expenses and try to keep that amount in a jar somewhere – each month. By the time your child is born, you will have got used to living this way… and will have a few months covered in advance.

All in all, it seems that all the costs keep rising (some rise slower than others, but none are dropping) and some families have to do more with less and do some sort of acrobatic maneuvers in order to financially survive the childhood and adolescence of their loved ones. Still, every parent will tell you that it was all worth it when they saw their kid become what they always wanted, or, in short-term, just a smile on their face when their parents came through even if it seemed like they couldn’t.

Love does make people work magic, doesn’t it?