Wow! Are You Prepared for the Cost of a Child?

Today, I have the pleasure of having a guest post from John Walsh over at A Father's Instruction where he talks about raising kids from a biblical worldview. Today, he talks about the staggering cost of raising a child and gives us a few ways to save while going through that process. Check out the article here and then be sure to stop by his site to see some of the great resources he's created. 

The calculations are complete and the number is jaw-dropping.

Married couple holding hands while carrying baby shoes.

From last year, the cost to raise just one child from birth to 17 has risen 3%. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? But that does not include college expenses.

On average, a family can expect to spend $12,350 to $14,000 a year. When you add that altogether over 17 years the amount is staggering. It is estimated that a middle income family with a child born in 2015 will spend $233,610, nearly a quarter million dollars to raise their child.

Thinking about having a child, you may want to start saving. If you already have a child or more you may need some creative ideas to help cut costs.  

man walking though hedges

The biggest costs of raising a child come from housing, food, and child care. Transportation, health care and clothing expenses increase as a child gets older. Housing takes up to 29% of the cost and food about 18%.  

The biggest costs of raising a child come from housing, food, and child care. Click To Tweet

Now that you know how much it costs to have a child, what can you do to help your family out? Here are some suggestions, most of which I use, to help defray the cost while still giving kids an enjoyable, meaningful childhood.

Food Costs

The second largest expense of a family is food and it gets more expensive as the kid gets older. It costs 22% more to feed a teenager than it does an eight year old.

Use these tips to help with the cost of food:

  • Cook meals in batches and freeze
  • Plan meals to eliminate excessive costs
  • When eating out
    • Share a meal
    • Eat an appetizer as a meal
    • Don’t buy dessert
    • Eat half and save the leftovers for another meal.

More ways to save money.

Leisure Costs

While leisure expenses did not make the list, they can make a good sized dent in the wallet, especially if you are buying them a toy or candy every time you take them to a store. Teaching our children to value experiences with others over things is a wonderful lesson and will help them out as they get older.

These tips provide a great amount of fun for little to no expense:

  • Go to the playground
  • Have a picnic
  • Enjoy community events
  • Visit library story time
  • Go to Home Depot workshops
  • Checking out state parks

More ways to cut leisure costs.

Transportation Costs

Like food, transportation gets more expensive as the child gets older. Multiple after school activities keep children active and engaged, but it comes with a price- time and money.

Extracurricular activities are important for the development of a child, just be cautious how much you spend. If you are looking to save your family money and time consider letting your child only sign-up for one extracurricular activity a year. You will save money on fees and equipment but also teach them a valuable lesson. A child’s priority needs to be family and school first. It also prevents you and your child from getting burned out.     

Carpool to help with transportation costs. Find friends you trust and share rides to and from school and to other activities. Not only will you save gas and time but also provide unstructured social time for your kids. Plus, listening to your kids interact with their peers is quite enjoyable.   

More ways to save money on transportation

Is raising a child expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes, unequivocally, yes!

The good news is that the more kids you have the less budgetary strain. Children can share bedrooms, clothing, and toys. You can also buy food in bulk.

Do you ever feel the financial responsibility of raising a child? What money savings techniques have you used to help relieve some of the strain?

Are you ready to finally take control of your finances? Let my budgeting spreadsheets help!

Just fill out the form below and I'll send you the link to get the same exact budgeting spreadsheets that I use each month!

Included in the workbook:

monthly-budget-worksheet-screenshots

  • Monthly budget form
  • Breakdown of savings form (for your sinking funds)
  • Overview of your financial plan

I've been using these same forms since August 2011 and have grown my family's net worth 500% tracking our money using these forms!

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John is a husband, father and teacher. His passion is to help fathers raise their children by sharing his own experiences while following a biblical worldview. Master Lego builder and tea party host. The greatest, most rewarding role a man can have is that of a father.

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6 Comments

    • Daniel, glad the tips help. I think some families are more cost conscious then others. We are always looking for a way to save, especially with three kids.

  1. When you are in Asia, the costs goes up exponentially. Apparently, parents here sign up their kids for all sorts of enrichment courses, music, ballet, golf, tae kwon do, some weird right brain left brain training (which apparently will help their memory skills). You can imagine how expensive they are. A co-worker of mine once told me that she spent about $2k a month on just these classes along. Try to compound that!

    • I had no idea! I cannot image spending that much money on classes alone. I am all for extracurricular activities, but that seems a little excessive to me. Thanks for sharing.

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