The cost of kids

I read the Christian Science Monitor’s cover article on the cost of kids with much interest over the weekend. I actually wasn’t surprised that the average cost of raising a child from age 0-17 (not including college) is an average of $222,000.

That actually sounds kind of low to me. I know infant daycare alone can run into hundreds of dollars a week, and many families don’t have the option of a stay-at-home parent (or the parents don’t want to stay home). Someone in the article quoted $1,000/month for the first five years of a child’s life. That’s $60,000 from infant to kindergarten.

I find all of this very interesting, because I have a lot of friends who have started families and I wonder about the impact on their budgets. Housing, food, transportation, and education/caretaking account for the biggest areas of spending:

Now I know what to say when people ask when we’re having kids–as soon as I have an extra thousand dollars a month that I don’t need to pay bills and save for retirement! But seriously, that’s a lot of money, not to mention the time commitment, which has its own cost. Parents, of course, say that the cost is worth it. That’s an individual judgment people need to make for themselves–for some, the cost and responsibility is most definitely not worth it.

There are a lot of people who say “You’ll never have enough money, so why not just do it now?” I humbly disagree. Maybe the people who say that have six-figure incomes and no debt… but probably not.

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2 thoughts on “The cost of kids

  1. It’s weird…when I see parents our age with kids I sometimes wonder how they do it. Do they go into massive debt? Do they carefully allocate funds and resources? Do they have a lot of support from family and friends? Maybe priorities just shift, and people start conserving more in ways they didn’t think they could before having the child.

    • I think you’re right about priorities shifting, and using whatever support possible. I also think about those kids who aren’t perfectly healthy and how much that costs–like my sister. Having kids just changes everything, and I would want to be financially prepared! 🙂

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