What Are the Costs of Raising a Child?
Starting a family is a big decision. Not only will you be responsible for another person, but serious financial implications come with raising a child. Many people don't realize how expensive it can be to raise a child, taking on debt to give their kids the best opportunities in life. However, knowing the costs of raising a child can help you plan and prepare to determine when you'll be ready to start a family. So let's discuss a few of the costs of raising a child to help you prepare for the future:
Whether you raise a child or adopt a pet, you need shelter. Housing is by far the largest expense for parents, especially because it comes with a ton of related costs. Consider this: You can raise a child in a one-bedroom apartment, but it can become stressful, especially as they get older and start needing their own space. Most families eventually buy a house with a yard where their kids can play; however, a house isn't always necessary, depending on where you live.
In addition, homes come with repairs, taxes, mortgages, rent payments, utility costs, maintenance, and basic household goods like cleaning supplies and toilet paper. Most families with children spend around a third of their income on housing, but this isn't true for everyone.
Food is another significant expense. Single people can get by spending less than $50 a week on groceries. However, when you have children, you have to ensure the entire family is fed and eating well. Most families spend thousands of dollars on food on a monthly basis, which eats up a lot of your income and is something you'll have to budget for throughout the entire year.
Child care is also a significant expense, and it's so costly in some places people may choose to leave their jobs so they won't have to pay for it. For example, if you only make $1000 a week and $500 goes to childcare, you're not earning enough to properly care for your child when you could be saving that money by taking care of them at home. The cost of childcare can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars every year, depending on where you live and how many children you have.
Healthcare is another common expense. If you have health insurance, your policy will cover your independents. However, if you don't have healthcare and something happens, it can be even more costly. For example, children typically require more trips to the doctor, especially since parents may panic when their child has a cough. However, each appointment can cost you a few hundred dollars depending on where you go and whether or not you have good insurance.
Another significant expense for parents is clothing for their children. Children grow like weeds, and you'll need to buy them new clothes regularly. Babies alone grow so much within the first 12 months of their lives, and you can expect to spend hundreds of dollars to ensure they have enough clothes as they grow. You'll need to continue paying for your child's clothing until they're teenagers when most are fully grown. Still, 16 years of paying for clothes as your child grows can be costly.
Sports and Hobbies
Sports and hobbies cost money, and your child might get involved in sports at a young age. However, they'll also start to develop their own interests when they're young, and if you want to ensure they feel free to express themselves creatively or through sports, you'll need to spend some money on these activities. Unfortunately, sports can be expensive as you have to pay for all the equipment and uniforms.
Hobbies can also be expensive, depending on the hobby. Luckily, many hobbies, such as painting and reading, are fairly affordable for most parents.
You should start saving for college as soon as your child is born. College is expensive, and most people can't afford it without taking out loans. Unfortunately, loans come with debt and stress you won't want your child dealing with when they're fresh out of college and looking for their first job. Instead, you can save your child money by investing in a savings account for them now and ensuring you don't touch the account until it's time to start paying for school.
Raising a child can be stressful and expensive, but you can use a few strategies to reduce your costs without affecting your quality of life. Here are a few ways to reduce the costs of raising a child:
- Plan ahead: Knowing what expenses to expect and how much they'll cost will ensure you properly budget for every aspect of your child's life.
- Set aside money: Opening a savings account can help you save money for your child, and with a high-yield savings account, these accounts will continue to grow as they get older.
- Use tax credits: When planning for your taxes, look for parent-friendly credits and deductions you can take to reduce your liability.
- Consider your spending habits: There are many ways to reduce your costs, but the best thing you can do is look at your current spending habits. Everything you purchase for your child likely has a cheaper alternative. For example, your child doesn't need designer onesies; they'll look just as cute in clothes from your local thrift store.
Costs of Raising a Child
How much you can expect to pay to raise a child depends on where you live. For example, housing is more expensive in some parts of the country than in others. In addition, if you raise your child in a major city, you'll spend more on everything from school to housing than you would in the suburbs. If you're worried about expenses, consider consulting a financial advisor who can help you plan for raising a child and saving money for their future.
Taking the proper steps before your baby comes ensures you budget correctly and plan ahead for all your child's major life events, potential emergencies, and hobbies.
Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends.