Breaking Down What it Costs to Raise a Child
If you recently had a baby, or are pregnant or are thinking about having a child consider this: $245,345. That’s the latest figure projected to raise your little bundle until he or she is 18. The number accounts for food, shelter and other expenses, with housing and education being the biggest expenses. The “other expenses” include clothing and health care.
When broken down by regions, the South came cheaper at $230,610 for each child. A figure that big is enough to make most parent’s gulp or at least sigh, but when you break it down over 18 years, it’s a little more managable at $13,630. Then if you break that down week by week, it’s $262 per week per child. OK that’s still the equivalent of a mortgage payment each month for many and only accounts for one chlld, but keep in mind you’re sharing the house with the child(ren). So, really your actual montly housing payment became more cost effective with a child because it’s shared between more people. Same with food: If you make meals, food that was once just for two can stretch for three or four (not counting all those snacks kids LOVE). Cost efficiency? Maybe?
I feel like the gut-punching extra costs I’ve seen since becoming a parent are with health care and child care. Health care costs money plain and simple, and costs continue to rise. I’m glad I have subsidized insurance through my employer, but it’s still additional costs. I’m happy to have it though, because though insurance is there to help keep your family well, in my mind, it exists to ensure in case of any emergency you don’t go bankrupt covering medical costs.
Then there’s child care. If both parents work you have to come up with child care for the under kindergarten age set. At best, in Charlotte you’re looking at $800-$850 at month per child, but likely more. Then once your big kid starts school, if you choose a public or charter school you get a break (I write that with a touch of sarcasm), until summer when you have to come up with camps or some sort of child care. Thank goodness for Charlotte Parent’s awesome camp guide! And for those who choose private school, well that’s a whole new line to the balance sheet.
Long and short of it, kids cost us. But the smiles, the giggles, the interesting things they become … well that’s priceless, sorta! Do your research, making a savings plan, and enjoy those expensive darlings we bring into the world.