Raising children is one of the biggest cornerstones of building a family. Although expensive and difficult, having children means the world to some couples looking to have a family.
But raising a cute bundle of joy is not an easy task. Raising kids is expensive. In fact, there is an on-going decline of birthrates in the United States (for the first time in our history!) and also worldwide. We are currently below the human replacement rate of 2.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, the average middle-income family ($59,200 – $107,400) with two children may expect to spend approximately $233,610 per child until they reach the age of 18 – NOT accounting expenses before birth such as hospital bills and birthing doulas.
After reading this number, I got sticker shock.
I mean, a quarter of a million dollars?! PER child? What if you’re a super frugal person and won’t need conveniences like private childcare or Disney vacations? Our children may forever wear hand-me-downs and eat non-organic…would they still cost a quarter of a million dollars then?
What’s if we raised children as cost-effectively as possible?
Oh boy, did I get sticker shock when I saw how much it would cost to raise a child? A quarter of a million! That price just goes up as you move on up the social-economic ladder.
As they say, kids will cost what you want to and can afford.
For the average middle-class to upper-middle family, the costs of raising a child to topple over an estimated $250,000 going from birth to 17.1 That’s not including higher education!
You’re lucky to be out $15,000 per year for 17 years!
But given that there are about 7 billion people in the world and 300 million of those people are in the United States alone, I don’t think sticker shock has stopped or prevented anyone from having mini human beings.
How can a family afford kids given the family median income in the U.S. is just $60,000 – $80,000 a year?
Neither hubby nor I grew up with anything fancy. We both went to public school. My school lunches were reduced lunches. I paid 25 cents for cafeteria food of one mystery meat taco pocket, milk, apple, and green beans. (And I have never known any kid who ate the cafeteria green bean…)
If it costs $15,000 to raise a kid and the median household wage in the United States is $52,2502 then that means 30% of expenditures are going towards the little one alone!
Plus, that’s post-tax! So 20% to taxes, 30% to housing, 30% to the kid and the remaining 20% needs to include everything else from transportation to food. That math is impossible!
What’s the REAL estimate if we raised a kid as frugally as possible?
In this article, I broke down the large numbers reported since I figured the $250,000 needed to raise a child were elevated, it’s clickbait material, right?
Upon closer inspection, these figures include opportunity cost, which is why it seems so high.
I give my best estimates for raising a child one notch above bare bone circumstances:
The biggest portion of a middle-income family is being allocated to housing expenses, according to the US Department of Agriculture. This is the most expensive among the expenses in rearing a child and eats up to 29% of the total cost to raise a child.
Housing in urban places is 27% more expensive than their rural counterparts. Low-income families usually spend $3,160 on average while a middle-income family spends $3,680 for housing expense per month.
Surprisingly, the bigger your family is, the bigger your savings will be when it comes to housing expenses. When it comes to housing expenses, the fewer the children, the more expensive it would be.
The cost of housing usually doesn’t change from the moment the child was born until the child is 17. A room is a room. If you are looking to start a family, look to reduce housing expenses by moving to a lower-cost city with cheaper housing in a fair school district.
For our family, we put down a very inaccurate $0. I’m planning to have our kid sleep in the same bed as us until he/she goes off to college. It can’t get any more cost-effective than that ? (I’m kidding!!!)
But for a frugal family who doesn’t need a huge home in the center of town (aka less expensive housing), we can get away with $10,000 per year (per child). That’s based on our local apartment rent here. It’s about $800 for 1 bedroom. $1000 for 2 bedrooms. $1,200 for a 3 bedroom apartment.
Food is the second most expensive expense when raising a child, but this is also the part where a family has more options to save. According to the same data from USDA, 18% of the total cost to raise a child goes towards food. In addition, as the child grows, so is food consumption.
According to the result of the study, the most expensive child to eat is a teenager. Food consumption for low-income family ranges from $1,310 to $2,300 based on age. Middle-income families spends $1,580 to $2,790.
There are a lot of ways to save money and time in preparing food for the family. Frugal recipes that are available for as low as $2 per serving will help you save money.
Cooking in large batches would save you time and resources by freezing and reheating. You can also try preparing a meal plan for a week for easier food preparation. You would get about $4 a day for children’s food budget which is just about how much the current food stamp recipients receives.
Following a frugal $4 per day guideline, per child annually, food will then cost about $1,460.
Health Care ($900/year)
Health care coverage accounts for 9% of the total cost of raising a child. A low-income family usually spend $820 to $910 per year depending on the child’s age. Middle-income families spend from $1,180 to $1,300, again, depending on the child’s age. It is worth it to note that as a child ages, the coverage needed for health care also changes.
This number was a relatively realistic one if you and your family have an employer health plan. It currently costs each of us $900 a year to be insured so I simply multiplied $900 x 17 years.
Health care is a cost that needs to be planned ahead of time. One of the best ways to save is to get health care sharing or insurance coverage where the cost of other’s health care is shared.
Health Savings Accounts (HSA) basically an emergency fund for medical expenses, is also a good option, paired with healthy choices in food and lifestyle.
I could have cut health insurance to $0 but I thought…raising a kid frugally, not destitute and without medical attention. Technically you can get away with a figure much lower than $900 a year. My family went without health insurance for the majority of my life. Thankfully I was a healthy and robust child. No leg sprains, no appendicitis, didn’t participate in sports etc.
Toys & Fun ($1+/year)
I almost put $0. I’ve seen kids live on rocks and basic TV as entertainment so it’ll be OK. Spongebob isn’t everything.
My parents never brought me anything (they did in China but not in America) and we never celebrated holidays or birthdays. I was happy to have 3 working TV channels from the television we found on the street. It was an utmost boring childhood but doable and I turned out (semi) normal.
I would give an extra few hundred in the estimates for a used laptop or something but any school-related expenses like field trips and laptops are split between childcare and misc, not in “toys & fun.”
My parents found all of our furniture on the street. They never purchased anything furniture related, not even a stool, because they would wait on their luck or go without. If they needed anything, they ask the neighbors or just look around on the street after dark. They found some pretty great stuff too. Mattresses are super expensive for what it is: a block of foam and springs.
We found all of our mattresses on the street and used it for 10+ years! I’m not even sure what’s the total age of the mattresses we found but they were lumpy when we got them. I woke up every morning from age 13 to 17 with back and neck pain but it was doable and it saved us money.
Car seats and cribs are likely sunk cost items. Regulatory safety change and improvements regarding baby furniture happen all the time so buying old cribs and car seats may not be the best idea. These items are sunk costs. Other than that, for side tables and lamps, head to your local thrift store 🙂
Clothing takes up 6% of a family’s annual budget and would be lesser if the family have more kids. The reduction of cost in a big family is because of younger children “inheriting” old stuff from their older siblings. A low-income family spends $670 to $720 per child annually while a middle-income family spends $750 to $830.
To an extent, the savings can go way down. I put down $5,500 for 17 years which is still is an exaggeration. If you don’t care about the latest fashions, there are pieces of clothing going for $1-$10 at the thrift store which can be passed down.
To save on clothing expenses, parents can shop on least known brands. In addition, talk to your children early on about how getting caught up in known brands are not really practical and should not be a base on identity. Shop only if necessary, or if clothes are on sales with really good deals.
My annual expense for clothing as a teenager was probably $200 per year.
I heard cloth diapers and hand-me-downs from family are cost-effective. If done frugally, we will likely inherit toys and clothing from friends and family who has already stepped into parenthood.
Does your family qualify for free or reduce lunch? That would be the biggest factor here besides the occasional notebook, laptop, and pencils. My mother told me the greatest thing about the western world was free education. While a public school will certainly allow you to save more money if you have more child. Education is also a factor when a couple chooses their neighborhood. The best way to save is to choose an up and coming neighborhood in districts with higher-quality schools.
I put down a mere $30 because we qualified for free/reduced lunch and got free school supplies through programs that gave poor children aid. I rode the school bus instead of being driven to school. We were so poor, all expenses were totally covered.
Child Care ($500+/year)
I was left alone after we immigrated to the U.S. so I didn’t give childcare much of a budget. It is illegal in the United States to leave a child alone but…haha…my immigrant parents did not follow that! I sat quietly and read a ton of good books while waiting for my parents to come home.
Childcare, for those who want to do it the legal way, is the 3rd most expensive item in the annual budget. This item takes up 16% of the total cost to raise a child. This is also the only item that decreases over time as the need for childcare decreases per year.
First 5 years of raising a child are the most expensive, as it covers the fee for daycares, nannies, and other. Low-income and middle-income families spend $2,080 and $2,870 in the first five years respectively on childcare. Higher-income families spend more whereas low-income family saves money by staying at home (since their income doesn’t make up for expensive daycare costs.) There are government subsidies available but I would say until K-8 funding of education kicks in, to be frugal, you just can’t spend any money on children besides the occasional babysitter for a night or two.
Depending on the location, there should be locally subsidized buses. Children under the age of 5 rides for free. Not everyone lives in a region with a robust transportation system so I gave children related transportation a healthy $1,000 a year budget. Plus, I was a poor kid. I didn’t have anywhere to go besides home.
Transportation takes 15% of the total cost to raise a child, getting up to $1,200-$1,690 for lower-income families and $1,790 to $2,270 in the middle-income families. Just like other expenses, this one will grow as child ages. This accounts to commute expense in families with no automobile while fueling and car maintenance for families with the automobile.
When a child turns 17, he or she started traveling more, which makes the cost even more expensive, with or without automotive. The additional car insurance is also one of the reasons why this expense grows as child ages.
See a real-life example of expensive it is to give a teenager a car! To save money in transportation, free alternative to traveling like using bicycles is encouraged, especially in bicycle-friendly distances.
A very rough $0. I mean vacations are not necessary, especially when things are tight sadly.
This expense, which is labeled as “miscellaneous expenses” takes up 7% of the total cost to raise a child. USDA described this as expenses toward “recreation, entertainment, and other costs. Personal care products, entertainment, or sports equipment belongs to this category.
I mentioned before we don’t have children (yet) so this category will fit whatever I haven’t even fathomed yet. Breast pumps? (What are those?) Tampons for girls? A suit to prom for boys?
(For a more accurate analysis with someone who has experience raising their children, read my friend Joe’s analysis.)
During a child’s childhood to teenage period, he or she will develop hobbies, use entertainment, and other costs. Low-income families spend $450 to $740 per child annually, depending on age. Middle-income families usually spend $830 to $1,110. The age bracket of 9-11 is where families spend the most, with the expense declining after reaching the 12-14 and 15-17 age bracket, where most teenagers seek for jobs.
How Much It Cost My Immigrant Parents To Raise Me
Poor children from poor families make due, and my parents demonstrated that. You spend what you can afford on kids.
My parents probably spent a grand total of $30,000-$40,000 raising me since they managed it pretty bare-boned obtaining second-hand/free furniture, free school lunches, buses and very low to no medical coverage. I was a very healthy child with no allergies, learning disabilities or physical care needs. I was not involved in activities and in addition, I was a latchkey child (about 5 hours every day and 11 hours on weekends.)
It makes me question if creation is worth it in a family that is constantly worried about balancing the budget line. It seems like an unnecessary pain to the children who were dropped into that situation where they have to live on the razor’s edge too. I was sort of miserable while writing parts of this post thinking back to my kid years but life is more than just money.
Generally, though, I believe I turned out just fine although I admit it was not a pleasant childhood. However, it’s doable. Children don’t have to cost parents $250,000 to become good, functioning adults. It can be done on a tight budget.
https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/01/13/cost-raising-child [For short version]https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/crc2015_March2017.pdf [PDF | For the complete source with data]
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Yet Another PF Blog says
The biggest child-related expenses for us by far are going to be child care, housing, and college. Where we’re at, child care starts at $1k/month for pre-K and goes up to $2k/month for infants. Fiance wants to be a SAHD so we might be able to skip these costs, but then there’s the opportunity cost of his income. Building out extra bedrooms and bathroom– so fiance and I aren’t sharing with the kids who ideally get their own bedrooms– would probably be another $100-200k, which is not necessary at all but is cheaper than buying a new house. My projection is another 125k each for college. So a total of 500-600kish all-in for two kids? We’ll probably have other extracurricular activities we send them to– sports, music, language school, whatever they are particularly interested in– but they’ll be a blip compared to the big three.
That said, there are certainly folks who raise their children on less. Live-in family members can help minimize childcare expenses. Having children share bedrooms shrinks housing needs. There are certainly ways to go about it if you are mindful of what your family’s needs are.
Holy moly, that’s pricey! My parents raised me for less (no extracurriculars or bedroom) but it was uncomfortable at best. $300K per child is hard to swallow though, whoof!
Ms. Frugal Asian Finance says
Having kids is def not cheap in America. Daycare is our second biggest monthly expenses. And I just can’t wait for Baby FAF to go to pre-K for free. It’d feel like we’ve paid off a mortgage although we have no house to show. We’ll have a grown kid instead hehe.
Before I had Baby FAF, we did have to move to a two bedroom apartment so that my in-laws could come to stay with us. It was a huge expense at the time given that both Mr. FAF and I were living with a bunch of roommates. This time, Mr. FAF and I want to plan better for our next baby, at least financially. My mom has agreed to come help us with the second baby, so I’m somewhat relieved ^.^
Is your mom coming from Vietnam and staying with you guys long term? That sounds great! I wanna keep my parents away from my baby…
Dave @ Married with Money says
While economic reasons aren’t why we decided to not have kids, they definitely made the decision easier! Thing is I am pretty sure you can raise a kid for dirt cheap. They don’t REALLY eat that much food – and even if they do, so what…we’d double our food budget? Okay $2500ish a year for that. You CAN get a ton of things second-hand and inexpensively, but many people CHOOSE not to – that’s a huge contributing factor IMO to why there are studies that say it takes a quarter million dollars to raise a kid.
Daycare on the other hand seems to be ridiculously expensive from what I’ve heard…
Yup! I was thinking we’re FIREd or one of us stays at home (me). Last resort, ship them back to California with grandma!
Mrs. Adventure Rich says
I completely agree that you can be quite frugal with kids.
Child care costs are a kicker for us. We are very lucky to have 2 incomes, but that means that we pay for childcare. Our son is just over 2 and I think I have spent more than $8K in that amount of time!
I didn’t know you guys used a sitter! $8k for 2 years isn’t too bad, I’m getting 20k a year from some other people.
Daycare is a pretty big cost. I am a little lucky in this area because I take my child to the tribe’s daycare. I am Native American and the tribes in Oklahoma have daycares at a lower rate. I pay 91.50 per week for full-time. Normally it is 150 to 175 per week around my area. We try not to over do it on the toys, but we buy more clothes because the boy is growing fast. Only three years old, but he looks like he is 5. We are having another kid, but my son will be out of daycare, so I will start over with the second kid.
Fascinating! That’s a big cost saver!
Sleeping on a mattress that causes you neck and back pain for 10+ years isn’t frugal, it’s just cheap.
I think my parents didn’t want to spend the money in fear of bigger issues. They also found a better mattress than mine. I never told them because I knew they couldn’t do anything about it 🙂
Dimes and Dollars says
For us, daycare was the biggest expense. We used to pay $1,800 a month for daycare in DC (and that was the subsidized price through my employer). Looking back, I wish I had discovered FI/ER sooner. I would have saved more to retire before I had my child. With your age and current net worth, you guys are in the position that I wish I had been in.
Aw thanks D&D ^_^ I told myself I wasn’t going to have children until I had at least 1 million dollars and that was me when I was 12 years old.
Financial Muse says
No kids yet for me but many of my friends have become parents over the last five years. From what I’ve been told, all expenses are doable and daycare is truly the only one which will likely blow apart any budget. My BFF pays $8,000 a year for one child. Yikes!
Wow! Daycare is definitely a big expense – is $8k full time or those half days?
Grant @ Life Prep Couple says
I haven’t ran the numbers myself because of the unknowns between now and the next 17 years. However, I think $150,000 is close to the minimum. We pay $1100 per month for daycare. It does get cheaper as you get older but it is still a big expense.
Extra curricular activities are also quiet expensive for kids. Soccer, gymnastics, karate, etc.
As I’m thinking I’m getting curious. I might do my on breakdown and see where my numbers come in at.
I was thinking frugally would be $150k adjusted. You can do it under $50k like my parents but I definitely didn’t have daycare or extracurriculars. Oof, I’m thinking the sticker shock’s coming back. It just might be $250k when done :O
It is about time someone wrote this! Great job. My wife and I raised three kids with six degrees among them. Business, Adult Ed, three engineering degrees and one Medical Doctor. I suspect the entire cost for all 3 from birth to adulthood was less than $100k. We used Walmart and borrowed hand me down clothes until they got older then gave them a monthly clothing allowance so they could learn from their own money mistakes early and harmlessly. We cooked at home. They had after school jobs. Now they are all self supporting, debt avoiding millennials. Oh, and those six college and grad school degrees cost zero. They all had free rides, earned spending money tutoring lazier or less gifted students and worked and paid their own way for the advanced degrees.
Holy moly that’s rockstar status!! Congratulations of a successful life led Steve! It reminds me so much of my husband’s grandparents! 8 kids = 2 engineers, 1 pastor, 1 MD, 2 PhDs, 1 mom and 1 writer. I can only wish our kids someday would be successful adults.
The Luxe Strategist says
I’m like you where I was left home alone when I was very young with my sister. I’m convinced that it made us extremely independent, proactive, adaptable, and confident in our skills. But that’s also due to our personalities. We also didn’t need any of the stuff that the other kids had. And we didn’t care, either.
I think I would do daycare if I have a kid. One thing you didn’t account for is all the paid enrichment activities–the tutoring, art classes, swim lessons. Everyone does them these days so it’s hard to deny your kid without feeling a a bad parent…For college, I think my kid would need some skin in the game–I’m not paying for all of it 🙂
Haha yes!! Skin in the game, abbbbbsolutely. It’s not a money thing, it’s a “teach ya a good lesson” thing. The one thing I learned from my parents is that I don’t need to coddle my kids. It doesn’t do any good. I want resourceful children.
You’ve alwayssssss been independent Luxe, it shows in just like…*every* post you write. It could be a personality thing and then environment.
We have a 2 year old and a 6 month old and we do it on $35,000 a year. We don’t pay childcare which is a huge savings and we have hearty meals that we pay for without government assistance. The most expensive years will be their teen years and we’ll cross that bridge later.
Having children means my wife and I can’t spend as much money on ourselves or take a couples-only weekend, but, we don’t worry about money. Thrift stores and family hand-me-downs are crucial to saving money. We only take vacations we can drive to and our longest destination is 12 hours away, but, honestly, flying with two small children is not our idea of a vacation. When you’re still in diapers, long road trips get put on the backburner in our case as you leave at 3am or drive through the night while the children sleep so you can go more than two hours between stops.
I wouldn’t have a child because you don’t think you can afford it. If you’re responsible with your money, you will make parenting work. My wife and I didn’t wait to have children once we had a certain amount of dollars in the bank. We did wait until we established a career and moved into a bigger house, but, we would have made do if we had found out we were expecting sooner.
Wow, Josh that was an amazing addition and peep into your life. Both you and your wife sound like such balanced people! This is all terrific advice, especially the career tip. It isn’t always about money, it’s also stability.
Childcare is HUGE if you have to pay for it…often $1k/mo or more in metro areas (per child). I was a latchkey kid, but these days in the US you’ll get a visit from CPS for kids home alone younger than whatever your state deems an appropriate age thanks to nosy neighbors (here it’s about age 11).
And a lot of the free tutoring, subsidized ___ stuff you mention often requires you to submit proof that you can’t afford to pay. If you don’t qualify for subsidies, well, tutoring is easily $50+/hr. A teenage boy can double your grocery bill (in the midst of that right now)
Childcare is very expensive! My parents left me alone since there wasn’t many options as immigrants. Tutoring can be expensive but it’s also optional. Not all kids need tutoring. I never needed any. My example was based in cost cutting and sometimes being frugal means sacrifices.
Chris @ Duke of Dollars says
Totally with you on a frugal glow up and hope to do the same with my children.
It isn’t about having the fancy things growing up, it is about learning to be a good person. As a parent you provide and teach, investing money in the areas your kid is interested in so they can grow!
Yup! Frugality means different things. My parents raised me for under $50k and I didn’t have the greatest fun but I came out OK 🙂
I guess if you want to be extremely frugal you could do it. I have three older kids and they definitely cost me more…by choice, but nowhere near $250 K. Daycare was the biggest expense.
$250k for 3 or per?!
What is the real cost if you don’t have kids? Say you break your legs. Who will walk the dog? Who will cook, clean, help you bathe, shop for groceries, pick up medication? Drive you to physical therapy? There are a lot of years between working and moving into a nursing home. Who will comfort you when you lose your parents? Or spouse? Some things are more important than the money.
My husband says kids save money because it kills social lives! Hahaha
In FIRE, you won’t have company subsidized health insurance. I am FIRE, my kid’s health insurance is about $5k a year. That’s $85k right there up to but not including college.
Median daycare in my area is about $18k a year. You could save a ton here if you do all the childcare up to public school. You’d have to give up a lot of outside pursuits though.
So we’re up to $175k just for two basic items. Could easily spend many times more if the kid has any issues at all.
I pretty much raised myself from the age of 7, so parents probably spent less than $10k on me (they both passed away when I was a kid). Times have changed though. The Catholic grade school I went to that used to cost a few hundred a year costs over $18k a year now.
I dealt with a lot of crap as a kid (drugs, perverts, etc) but I think society has gotten even more messed up – I wouldn’t leave a kid on their own at home.
Oh Joe, that’s sad. $10k is lowwwww 🙁 Glad you made it through!!! I think society has gotten better because we’ve exposed a lot of the crap when it was swept under the rug before. The media has a way of fear mongering. That’s what I *like to believe* I have no evidence though 🙂
Mr. JumpStart says
I’ve laughed at the quarter million estimate many times before. If you calculate our annual income of 52,000 twenty years ago until now at 105,000, we’ve only made like 1.5 million. We did not spend 500,000 or a third of all our pre-tax money on our 2 kids.
They are expensive though.
They’ll want $6500 braces, $2000/year sport teams, cars, iphones and raise your car insurance by a grand each year. As soon as they’re adults, they’ll want 100 grand for college.
Ohhhh braces yes! I totally forgot to mention that. I needed braces (dental work in general) which would have cost a few thousand through a licensed dentist (my parents took me to backdoor doctors). Cars and iphones are a luxury though 😉 college too hehehe. Smart kids can be smart adults without the paper…oh wait..did you say $100k for college??
Mr. JumpStart says
Around here, half the kids want to go to Va Tech. Estimated cost of attendance is 25,762. The other half of the kids want to go to UVA. It’s COA is 31,186.
The Grounded Engineer says
For me, having our daughter was the best decision my wife and I made. We thought a bit about the financial implications of having a child, but it was more important to have a child than retiring a few years early.
Great point! It’s not all about the money.
Sylvia | Mommy Over Work says
I also looked into this before I had my kid, and I think the numbers are a bit inflated. The majority of it is housing, but practically speaking, our housing costs are the same regardless of if little me was here or not. Another high cost is daycare, but we’re fortunate enough to have grandparents who watch him every day. I think it’s absurd that daycare is just about as expensive as college though…with poor family leave laws and the atrocious rate of daycare, I think it’s actually a conspiracy…anyway, moving on, I think the baby industry also pushes parents to buy a ton of stuff, most of which is not needed. Baby doesn’t need $1,000 in developmental toys because he’s going to end up playing with the plastic cup or piece of paper more than all that other stuff (doesn’t mean we didn’t buy him a few — or maybe 10 — of those gadgets though).
YES they do! It’s all so full of guilt as well. Poor parents and moms out there. I played with popsicle sticks and that was delightful.
I was shocked to see how high your number was considering the level of frugalness you used for your assumptions. It makes me think that the $250K number is actually pretty accurate for a traditional American kid. The line item of yours that left me shaking my head a bit was the $8,500 for child care. Even if one of you or a grandparent watch your kids, there is an opportunity cost to that. For example, we used to pay $1,700 a month for my son’s daycare. We decided it was crazy and ended up having my wife leave her job to stay with him. Now the childcare may be $0 but we are missing out on my wife’s previous salary. That opportunity cost is real!
That was my conclusion too. A traditional American kid (love that description haha) would be around $250k from start to finish.
Theodore Smith says
Unless your wife made less than $1700 after tax, then her quitting her job just to save in child care expense was a really bad move!!
Amy @ LifeZemplified says
I’ve raised two kids, no wonder we were broke until they went out on their own. 🙂
I think you could do it for way under $250K, your number is probably a little light though.
I was thinking of upping it to $100k after looking into health insurance. I wouldn’t want CPS knocking on my door 😀
Mike - Budget Kitty says
Your health insurance numbers seem really low to me. We pay quite a bit in premiums for our family of five and thee are plenty of medical bills even with that. Any kind of illness or injury will quickly send your medical expenses upward.
My parents had no healthcare (not a cheap option any longer) and they just hoped for the best. Playing the dangerous gamble, when my mom needed surgery, she flew back to China to do it for cheap.
I want to comment on @pamelas comment about the cost of not having kids. People shouldn’t be having kids in hopes of being taken care of later in life- a lot of the time kids don’t take care of their parents later in life because they are too busy with their own, or their parents were terrible so they don’t want to be involved….
I think the main cost is daycare, if you can get a grandparent to help that saves a ton of money. We’ve spent less than $1000 so far but we are less than a year in lol.
I wouldn’t recommend getting used mattresses in this current time because there are bed bugs everywhere! 🙁 they can live for 6 months without feeding.
Haha remember that scene from Family Guy? He’s like “but there’s more chance they grow up to be Hollywood kids! Then look who is paying the bills. HOLLYWOOD!” Oh dear, it’s so funny 🙂
Oh jeez…I never even thought of the bed bug situation. Holy..yeah, yeah. I think my family lucked out. O_O oh geez, I run airbnbs, don’t scare me!
Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle says
I’m glad to see you say that number is wrong. Bc I firmly think that you can easily raise a kid for less. We don’t spend a ton on our kids, and they are incredibly happy. We do secondhand for alot of things, and we still enjoy life. We live in a much cheaper area than you, but I don’t think that changes the fact. Kids don’t need the expensive piles of presents. You being present with them, focusing on and loving them, and finding ways for have fun where you are… That’s what makes a good childhood.
We were poor, but hubs swears we had a perfect childhood bc I only really remember the good. Bc my parents were Intentional with us and speaking love and joy into our lives.
Aww that’s adorable and I completely agree. I wish my father had more intention, he’s more instinct.
As a new parent as of 11 days ago, I can definitely appreciate this post. I have to admit i’ve had a lump in my throat thinking about the huge estimated expenses of having a child. But it’s definitely refreshing to read that the actuality of it is not THAT bad.
Thanks Randall, I was lean on some of the numbers. With “extras” it just might be closer to $100-200k.
Rose @ Century Real Estate says
Thank you! A eye opener to the real cost of raising children.
Joe @ Retire by 40 says
Thanks for the mention!
You should totally save this post and compare it to real life situation later.
It sounds okay in theory, but I think you’re underestimating the cost a bit.
Housing and childcare are the big expenses. For example, you’re doing Airbnb and plan to leave the child alone sometime. Is that really compatible?
Our level of paranoia increased drastically once we had a kid.
Putting off having a kid until you’re more comfortable is a great move. We did that and never regret it.
Yes I did underestimate, I think this is pretty much as lean as it can get without being illegal! My paranoia will peak with a kid too, they’re ultra precious cargo.
I know that you and Sam are traditionally older fathers and since I look up to you two, it’s only natural I follow suit 🙂 – plus I’m so anxiety prone to withstand the pressure of parenthood.
Damn Millennial says
I think that parents who work all the time to afford what they think is a great childhood for their kid are mistaken. It is not the things that a kid needs. Basic costs need to be covered of course but time spent with your child will give both you and them the best ROI possible. I am a firm believer in this, a private school can give your kid the best education possible but it is up to the parents to make sure they have character.
I have evidence for that – one of my besties was raised super wealthy (without discipline from parents) and she has absolutely no discipline. She’s an amazing person and friend otherwise but…money logic of a cockapoo.
This post is timely as my wife and I are expecting our first child in April! We’re both very frugal and are nervous about the upcoming costs for our little one, but we feel more than financially ready – or at least will be, as we are currently maxing out our HSA in preparation for the hospital bill (which we expect to be over $2.5k) and putting money in a special savings account for any unexpected & expected expenses.
Thanks Joehx! 🙂 Best of luck to you guys and congrats to this lucky baby for being born to prepped parents.
Shelley Jones says
I read this and I am proud of you and your hubby for being super savers. Your 26 though and life might throw some curve balls at ya. I know it had for my family. I wish you the best of luck raising a kid and not having Christmas or birthdays…never signing them up for swimming or other sports they may want to play. The vacations total get…but why wouldn’t you want to take your kids somewhere? You can afford to! What’s the ultimate goal…see how much money you can have in your bank account?
Haha thanks Shelley! I didn’t mean ME!!! I’m just wondering how in the world do parents who (like mine) who barely make ends meet afford $250K to raise a child. If you raise me like my parents…welll yeah I never did have sports or swimming or Christmas or holidays (not even birthdays).
I definitely DO NOT want to raise my children like I was raised. We’re stuffing money right now so we can reach early retirement before having kids. Then we can literally hop around the globe as
a family with just market returns and passive income 😉 well that’s the dream hehehe.
Hey Lily, this was food for thought – so glad you brought it up! I’m still on the fence about having kids – being single right nos is one of the reasons – but I grew up the overseas Chinese way too with hand-me-down clothes, furniture and toys, and for the first 7 years of my life, dented can goods (still good btw) from manufacturer rejects, instant noodles, cheap rice, and cheap milk. I didn’t go to daycare (thanks again, Grandma!) and had one extracurricular and that was it. Every time I wanted to do something, my parents were like “Well, how can you get the money for it?” I sold things to my classmates at 8 yrs old, sold juice to the cafeteria from my dad’s workplace, and so on. I think I turned out pretty ok. ? A reminder that the costs other people spend on aren’t nonnegotiables and you do you.
I’m so sorry for the late reply Daisy! OMG you….sound like me!!!! I did those exact same things. I use to sell freaking gel pens by the bundle (but I also bought some from other kids haha). Not sure how old you are but if you’re around my age you would remember gel pens and stickers being as good as cash! Hahahhaa.
Kids are cute but expensive. We had about 2 years when we paid 12k on childcare (i work 3 days). They are both at school now but the before and afterschool care is still around 100 a day for the 2 of them. Vacation care is 170. A day. Scary. Grandparents are busy, no free childcare for us.
Piano lessons. 32 p half an hour. Swimming 18 ph. Etc etc. My kids wear the cheapest 3 dollar t shirts from target, but had to fork out over 400 on school uniforms and shoes and 200 on school supplies (mandated). Toys 0? No way. You will be forking out large sums of money for expensive pieces of tiny bits of plastic which end up in the bin hours later. And trust me, sometimes you will be glad you forked out the money as you earned a few hours of peace and quiet. And then, you will have to clean up the mess.
Good news: going out expenses are almost 0 as we cant afford the cost of entertainment + babysitter and eating out expenses are almost 0 as they tend to wreck every nice meal with a tantrum so i nixed it.
Travelling costs- hm, plane tickets are expensive, but as we can’t stay in hotels we are saving a ton in airbnb. Or camping. Kids went to 15 countries with us so far. I breastfed everywhere from hong kong airport to the steps of the British museum.
Just go with the flow baby. And don’t plan on spending 0 on any kid-related category. ? not gonna happen.
There are blogs devoted to the subject of how to raise children cheaply. You should google that and read them. Of course you don’t have to spend as much as the media says. It’s like saying how much weddings cost. Most people with a little common sense get by with less.