Are Your Kids Expensive?
In order to produce the podcast and keep content up free for you, I work with partners so this post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more info.
Part of the fun of being a blogger is receiving feedback from all of you.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the costs of raising kids and how they aren't always as expensive as the estimates quoted say.
Sharing Your Costs with Raising Your Kids
It certainly got great responses and I enjoyed reading them. Some inspired me with how they were frugal. Others opened my eyes to how expensive raising a kid could be.
Here are just a few of them that I got from you that show the differences:
We have 4 kids, though they are all now adults. I breastfed them all & it saved a lot. The first was in cloth diapers, but when the second one came & the first was still in diapers they both got “pampers.”
I was very frugal, buying many baby clothes second hand. Of course we received clothes as gifts too. We had a crib given to us (that did not have lead paint.) We didn’t buy a lot of expensive baby stuff, just what was needed for safety.
We didn’t decorate the baby’s room to the nth degree. We did spend some money on “educational toys” and books. We were lucky to have a good health care plan from my husband’s job that paid 100% on all doctor visits and medicine. That was a tremendous help.
We didn’t buy used clothes after babyhood, but clothes got passed down through the 4 kids. We had 3 boys & a girl, & I have to say a girl costs more! The clothes! Our biggest expenses came when they went to college, with some being in college at the same time. Ouch. We’d saved for it, but there were some lean years in there for us.
How about keeping up with 6 kids? Can it be done without being broke? Keeping it simple and being selective about when to move to a bigger house can make a huge difference.
I recently read an estimate of $500,000 per child from birth to the age of 18.
Well, I have 2 of them virtually to that point and 4 more to follow. I don’t think I have spent $3 million on them.
You are right about sunk costs. We had the same house with 1 or 6 kids although we did move shortly after number 6 was born. It got too crowded and my wife was going nuts.
On the other end of the spectrum we had a reader share the 5 figure cost of raising their only child.
I track down expenses on our child and published them. It comes to at least to $ 20 K a year. And this is only child care & food + clothing.
It does not get any cheaper (at least over last four years). As matter of fact, child is 30% of our expenditures.
I thought the number was extremely high, but the point of the baby expense series is to start a discussion.
How we spend money can be insightful.Of course what we spend and how we spend vary family to family. I want to capture how we can give our kids the best without spending a ton of money.
Thoughts on the Cost of Raising Kids
What's the biggest myth you've heard about raising kids when it comes to finances?
What's your biggest expense with your kids? Where do you spend and where save when it comes to your children?
The biggest expense is opportunity costs. The things you could do if you did not have children. The time spent with them that could be applied elsewhere. I value my children and enjoyed every moment I spent with them. What could I have done with the time and money are the opportunity costs.
I agree with KC! The opportunity costs can be huge, like not taking some amazing traveling or work opportunities, not being able to go out whenever you want. But I think those costs are worth it.
Raising kids does add to expenses in addition to the opportunity cost that is lost. I would say that college education would be the biggest expense. Teaching our kids to be good at academics and sports can help earn a scholarship, but tuition still would still be the biggest expense.
I have been running and publishing our family budget over last four years.
The kids are expensive. As matter of fact I would say it is $20K+ a year after taxes per child over 20 years. Than they want you to help with down payment on their mortgage and baby sit their kids : -)
Which is somewhat aligned with your estimate of $500,000 till their 18. It has very little to do with a house or clothes or even breast feeding.
Kids are worth the costs, no question. Couldn’t imagine mine not being here, best money ever spent.
Saying that, I can also point out that there are some costs that are surprisingly high. The costs of kids activities these days are much higher than I would have expected – and they’re more involved than in a prior generation. Costs in money and time with activities is high.
I think these media estimates that kids cost hundreds of thousands of dollars are idiotic at best. They’re meant to sell newspapers, magazines, and ad space (online).
Also, a lot of expenses as seen by your readers’ comments are “optional”. My son will be 4 this winter, and we are just now considering expanding his birthday party from the usual $50-75 for food, cake, etc for close friends and family to something in the $150 range. I’ve taken him to parties for his peers that easily sent people back $500 or more – for preschoolers who won’t remember it when the next birthday rolls around, when they’ll just “have to” out do the previous year.
I was raised in a modest home by my mom who was very frugal. Growing up I had a skewed perception of the world because I assumed that since we didn’t have all the lavish luxury my friends did that my mom didn’t earn very much… as a doctor. turns out, she gave me a luxury none of my childhood friends had – graduating from college and grad school without any debt. I even had $10k left over that my wife and I may end up leaving until our kids go to college.