Ok, so I missed one very important reason for being childfree in my last post, and that’s the insane cost of having children. It’s alright though, I did it on purpose! The exorbitant cost of having children deserves it’s own post.
Kids are expensive!
I mean like, really, really super expensive! According to the latest data, the cost of raising a kid is approximately $233,610. And that doesn’t even include college! That breaks down to a little less than $14000 per year. That’s a lot of money, especially when you have other financial obligations.
The bulk of this outrageous cost of having kids is childcare. This cost can vary wildly by state and by metropolitan area, but the variation tends to follow variations in minimum wage and income, so families everywhere are feeling the crunch. Childcare costs around $500 per month in Alabama, and almost $1000 in California, on average. In a lot of places, childcare is more expensive than rent!
No wonder so many families opt to have one parent stay home with the children while the other works. A second income would barely cover the cost of childcare in many cases. Some families are lucky in that they have a grandparent other family member that can help with the childcare while both parents work, but I always knew I would never be able to depend on my family for that. If I had a kid, I’d have to figure out how to balance working with caring for her. This is something that my boyfriend and I will need to discuss when the time comes.
Birthing children is expensive too, and apparently hospitals even charge you to hold your own baby! All jokes aside though, the physical act of having a baby can cost anywhere from $6000 to $70,000!! That doesn’t even include caring for the infant after birth! I have decent insurance through my work, so this shouldn’t be too much of a burden for me, but not everyone is as fortunate as I am. And they wonder why so many people are turning to mid wives and home births.
But hospital expenses don’t end with the birth. Kids get sick. A lot. They run into stuff and bang their heads open. The eat things they shouldn’t be eating. They fall down. And most parents would rather be safe than sorry, so they bite the bullet and take their kids to the hospital when these things happen. Hello hospital bills.
Stuff and Things
Kids need stuff too. Lots of stuff. First, they are going to need the basics: food, clothing, diapers etc. But they are also going to need furniture and cribs and bottles and bibs and toys and educational stuff and probably a million other things that I haven’t even thought of. And they grow so quickly! I haven’t bought myself new clothes in years, but I’d have to buy a baby new clothes every few months! That can really add up.
Then they need to go to school, so you have to buy them all their school supplies. And you don’t want your kid to be an outcast, so you have to buy them decent clothing by the time they are school-aged. They will probably also join a few after school clubs and activities, so they will need all the appropriate equipment and gear for that. I’m hoping my kids join the chess club; a chess board is way cheaper than sports equipment or musical instruments.
As you all know, I love to travel, especially to exotic locations. Airfare for one is bad enough, could you imagine having to pay for three seats on an international flight? My travel budget wouldn’t be able to handle it! I know a lot of people don’t take this into consideration when thinking about the cost of having children, but honestly it was one of my reasons for remaining child free. But I decided to really look into the feasibility of traveling with children and read a bunch of blogs from family travel bloggers who are doing just that. If they can find a way I’m sure I can too!
Related: The Exorbitant Cost of Having Adventures
I know I don’t technically have to help my kids out with college expenses; student loans and grants exist for a reason. But do I really want to saddle my kid with outrageous debt when they are just starting out in life? College is crazy expensive, and the cost seems to increase exponentially year after year. By the time my non-existent kids go to college it may be upwards of 100K on average! I’d definitely encourage my children to explore non-4-year-university options, but if they are hard working with an aptitude for academics, I’d want them to be able to study wherever they chose. Therefore, I’d feel obligated to start a college savings plan for them when they are born, to ensure that they have those options. It’s going to be expensive though.
The exorbitant cost of having children
I know I didn’t cover everything. Random expenses crop up everywhere. Kids need a lot of stuff, and some kids need special attention – tutoring, therapy, private schools, medication, whatever the case may be. But there is no doubt in my mind that having children is insanely expensive. The advantage I have is knowing that and having a stable job to pay for some of it prior to having them. And hopefully, it will be 100% worth the cost.
What did I miss about the cost of having children? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.
9 thoughts on “The Exorbitant Cost of Having Children”
I disagree, my three millennial kids cost us very little. They all had free rides through college academically through scholarships, room and board included in spite of my being a high earner and my wife chose to be a stay at home mom which didn’t cost us because, again, I was the high earner. They were awesome kids, still are, with six degrees among them. They support themselves completely and nobody lives in our basement.
Its great to hear that having kids won’t have to cost an arm and a leg! I’m going to try to be frugal about it!
I agree that the costs in these studies seem really inflated. Sure, it’s a big obligation, but it’s more of a wonderful life decision than a cost decision. My three are adults now and still the bedrock of my life.
I agree! As a single mama of 3, I struggle to make sure they are completely provided for. I tell them all the time, we may not be rich in money, but we are rich in love and that’s all that matters <3
I think being rich in love is way more valuable than being rich in money 🙂
I completely agree with the above. As a future parent, I’m always mentally struggling with these ideas. However, there’s one funny detail — I read a study that indicated that kids who had only four toys around (in the room where they were for this study) concentrated much more on each toy than the kids who had more toys around. Pretty intuitive, right? But to me, it’s a great excuse to not buy kids a lot of toys. They can entertain themselves with very little if given the chance 🙂
I agree. I remember when I was little I was way more interested in the box than the toy itself hahaha. I don’t think kids need a lot of toys, but I also don’t think toys are the leading expense. Daycare, education, and healthcare are probably at the top of the list, followed by day to day necessities (diapers, clothing, formula, etc). Parenthood is expensive
Yes, healthcare if definitely up there. I think education is trickier to calculate. Since school districts tend to drive up housing costs, I see families near me sending their kids to public school for (ostensibly) not much money at all, but then having to pay through the nose for housing. It’s unfortunate — I wish education were a lot more equitable here in the U.S.
Yeah, some public schools are cheaper, unfortunately they can be lower quality. Higher education is incredibly expensive though.
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