How Much? The Cost of Raising Kids
It’s not cheap to have a family.
According to the latest figures it will cost roughly $233,610 to raise a child born in 2015. For many people these figures will come as an eye watering surprise. And these are just the average –higher income households will pay around $372,210 over the years. Although there are many ways to economize when it comes to something like childcare or putting meals on the table it’s still difficult to escape the basic costs of raising kids, which can be substantial. If you then start to factor in private education or hobbies such as tennis or computer equipment then these costs start to spiral significantly upward.
Why does it cost so much to have a family?
There are many different factors that come into play with respect to raising kids.
The basics aren’t cheap – from the endless cycles of diapers, to prams, beds, bedding and clothing, there are many expenses to take into account just to keep a child warm and alive. It obviously becomes cheaper to do this second time around – especially with a child of the same sex – but for the first child everything has to be bought, rather than handed down. On top of that you have the necessities such as rent or mortgage repayments and the cost of heating and electricity so it’s little wonder that many families struggle and need secured loans for extras like holidays or a new car.
Childcare can be really costly – our society is not (yet) adapted to providing cost effective childcare that enables both partners in a couple to work full time if that’s what they want. As a result, there’s a shortage of childcare places and those that are available can be incredibly expensive and competitively fought for. Families can spend anything between 7% and 19% of annual income on childcare costs, depending on where in the country they are and the type and frequency of childcare required.
Food is one of the biggest expenses – putting food on the table is an expensive business. For those with a large family, paying for food that is healthy and satisfying for a large number of people generates significant bills. Plus, during the teenage years children (especially boys) tend to eat a lot more and that can result in food bills hitting new heights.
Transport also takes cash from the budget – families need cars where single people or couples may not, that’sjust a fact. Whether it’s to carry larger shopping loads or simply so that you can keep everyone together when you travel as one family, most people who raise kids see enough benefit in a car to justify buying one. However, cars are expensive from the petrol that has to go in them to the cars themselves. And that’s not the only type of transport to consider. Bus fares and train fares for journeys to school as children get older can end up being enormously expensive, especially in bigger cities.
Education is the killer – even where education is free there are numerous costs to bear in mind, from school uniforms to sports kit and writing utensils. However, it’s when children want to go on to college and university that things start to get really expensive. Many families now face the choice of allowing their children to get into debt to get an education or taking on serious debt to cover the costs themselves.