Links on the Cost of Raising your Child

Today we’ll talk about the obvious: babies are expensive! Sure, they start out all cute and cuddly like a tribble, but then they start growing and eating and coughing and learning and then your wallet is empty.

Some links!

1. Child cost calculator from BabyCenter (for US residents)

2, PDF file: Expenditures on Children by Families, 2006.

It’s a report by the US Department of Agriculture. From birth to the second birthday, a married couple spends an average of $7580, $10,600 or $15,760 each year on their child (depending on income level), and it doesn’t get any easier after that.

Spending is described for married couples based on regions of the United States. Only one chart considers single parent households. Check it all out in the table section starting on page 18 of the PDF, or just this representative GIF of one chart.

3. MSN Money columnist says kids are a bad investment. The writer gives us the usual backhanded compliment. In a nutshell, kids are rewarding, even if you don’t end up any happier than childless couples your age.

Hmmm, so if kids are a financial and career drain and bring us as much pain as they do joy, why do we do it?

For me, being a father gives my life a clear purpose. I’m not talking about how to live a good life, or pondering the meaning of life — those are broader philosophical or religious questions.

For good or bad, people have a direction in their lives. For most childless folks, the direction is led by their career path, a voracious hobby or a passion for volunteering for a cause.

The balance you find between your pre-parent life and today is a good topic for discussion. I believe your child becomes the most important thing in your life (or should). The focus and determination that being a parent brings to my life cannot be quantified in numbers.

It’s often said that having a child is like a job unto itself. It’s true. My daughter is the largest project I’ve ever undertaken. I’ll always be thinking about her and concerned for her safety and progress wherever she is. There is no deadline, and no supervisor to give me evaluations. I’ll always be doubting whether I’m on the right track and am prepared to die before the project is completed.

Comments

3 Responses to “Links on the Cost of Raising your Child”

  1. Kate says:

    Parents spend the money on babies or on toys for themselves?

    No, I don’t have kids (yet), but I did find out that my husband and I spent over 15k on travel expenses last year.

    When my sister had kids, the babies apparently needed a $250 Eddie Bauer stroller and Baby Gap apparal (things from Kohls or Target “look cheap” she said).

    I am not criticizing her, after all I am quite the spender but the kids didn’t ask for an Eddie Bauer stroller. I am not even sure if a stroller is a necessity (again, I don’t have kids).

    Does that cost include child care or income loss from a stay at home mother?

    November 5th, 2007 at 3:55 pm

  2. diane says:

    Just looking at the number for clothing, it is WAY low. I figure I will spend $900.07 just for diapers in the first year. This is for 52 weeks of diaper service at $15.99/wk + tax. (The $900 doesn’t include diaper covers or the occasional disposable diaper)

    I wish I had started saving our grocery receipts so that I know how much I’ve spent on formula…

    November 5th, 2007 at 7:44 pm

  3. Katelyn says:

    I had a baby boy this past halloween, hes breast fed and using disposable diapers, within only this 3 months, Im probably up over spending $400.00 so far on diapers and wipes.

    February 7th, 2008 at 8:09 pm