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

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

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

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.  

Proverbs 27:23

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%.  

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 Cost

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:

  • Use coupons
  • Don’t eat out as often
  • 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 Cost

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 Cost

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?  

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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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One thought on “Wow! Are You Prepared for the Cost of a Child?

  1. Raising a child is an incredible task! There is so much involved from the way you prepare for life to how to raise the child so that you will like them when they grow up! The costs are definitely staggering and will not likely decrease in the future. The best thing we can do is create margin in our finances to help us save for the expenses going forward. I know we have two girls and I ran a college fund estimator and it’s just astronomical what they are forecasting these days! But, with God, all things are possible! Great article, John!

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