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How much do children cost?

May 25th, 2008 at 04:45 am

This is the question my best friend recently asked me.

And to which I did not know what to say. Its not like I set aside $400 every month for kid money. We don't pay for childcare, healthcare, diapers, or formula.

We buy them clothes 1-2 times a year as a major thing where last year we spent $400 on them at Old Navy. Between that we buy them $10 shoes at Target.

So here is our child budget if I think about it...
$100 out of our food budget
$0 for healthcare and prescriptions
$0 for childcare
$375 for my son's preschool
$0 for diapers
$0 for formula
$50 for clothes/shoes
$50 for school lunches/field trips

$575/mo for 4 kids

Of course as I told my best friend, she shouldn't use my family as an example. We are not the typical family. I work from home, cloth diaper, breast feed, and we receive free healthcare from the military.

She does not work from home and healthcare is not free for her. When she decides to have kids I am not sure if she'll do the cloth diapering and breastfeeding that I have.

Of course this budget also does not include the 5 bedroom house with a large yard on a cul de sac we bought because we have a large family and want the ability to let them have room to play. Or the minivan with the safety ratings that it has.

Without kids, my DH and I would be perfectly happy with two small commuter cars and a 2 bedroom condo.

So how much do children cost?

And I think the answer is truly hard to measure. Sure you may have the monthly costs, but children transform your whole life. How do you weigh those costs?

The costs where you can no longer live in a 2 bedroom, need a larger vehicle, have to buy more plane tickets when you travel.

To be honest too, there are some months I don't think we spend anything on the kids except food. During the summer, my son is not in preschool and my daughter therefore isn't eating school lunches, and that $50/mo it usually saved up each month and then spent in one huge chunk just before school and then if one of the kids has a growth spurt we go out and buy more later in the year.

So I'm sure my answer was a little vague to her... but if I really think about it. $575/mo for 4 kids probably covers it.

8 Responses to “How much do children cost?”

  1. Amber Says:

    I have no children but know that kids can be expensive, and to my knowledge there are some adult children still being cared for by their parents. But I would say there is no amount that can match parent's love for their kids

  2. aevans1206 Says:

    $575 for 4 seems about right. I have one--we pay $560 for childcare monthly. If we didn't have that, we would still pay for preschool, etc. Do you need help setting up a plan for debt payoff? I am in a similar situation and would love to help.

  3. AmbitiousSaver Says:

    Yeah its amazing how expensive kids can be. And there are a lot of things we don't pay for with our kids.

    I think we have a pretty good plan in place to pay off our debts. We should be 100% debt free (except for our mortgage(s)) in 4 years. My main problem though is I have a tough time coming up with a plan and then saying "Ok, lets do it"... I often end up revisiting it and want to "tweak" things so I save more, pay down debt faster... when the original plan is just fine. But I will be excited when the CC is paid off which should be in February '09 and the goal is to have it under $5K by the EOY.

  4. koppur Says:

    I remember reading that raising a baby to 18 costs $100,000. But, this was back in the early 80s. I can only imagine how much that figure has grown now with all the new things kids want/need and inflation!

  5. Amber Says:

    In the early 80s and a $100k I can imagine what that number is now

  6. AmbitiousSaver Says:

    I found a calculator on bankrate.com that says for the average child it is close to $200K per child. But that the more money you make the more you are likely to spend on the child to afford the more expensive lifestyle. I forecasted for us according to the calculator and it looks like our number is more like $130K per child.

  7. monkeymama Says:

    Healthcare $750/month ($0 easily if dh could work). So at bare minimum our kids cost $750/month. That is the part I try to get across to people - it's not the diapers and the food that gets you, it's stuff like this.

    The rest is really trivial. Maybe $100/month on food and a couple of hundred dollars a year on clothes (both boys close in age so the hand-me-down train works quite well - phew...)

    Of course, we don't pay for daycare but the spouse stays home. That in itself is probably the biggest expense of all (no second income).

    That number really does vary greatly family to family - so many factors I guess.

  8. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Besides buying or renting a bigger place, many people choose where to live based on the public schools, and that can possibly mean buying a more expensive house in a higher taxed area. Or, some families will choose to send children to private schools. So costs incurred to educate the child --including indirect costs like buying into a certain school district can be counted in the cost of raising a child. Friend of mine bought in a good school district and also doubled her distance to drive to and from work.

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