|How Much Does It Really Cost To Raise a Child?|
Editor's Note: This article was originally featured on the LargerFamilies.com blog. I was so impressed by the analysis that I inquired if we could reprint it. Graciously, the webmaster and the author agreed.
|According to a calculator at Bankrate.com, it will cost you $190,000 to raise a child to age 18. Multipy that number by the number of children I have (8) and you get the insane figure of a MILLION AND A HALF dollars to raise my family to adulthood. Hoobaby. NO wonder people assume that my hubby must make bucket loads of money.|
I found that number so outtasight crazy that I spent some time looking at it carefully. Here are the numbers it cites.
Remember, the numbers in bold are PER CHILD per year.
I am a homemaker, so no day care. The rare babysitter is usually grandma or, more recently, an older sibling. Weve probably paid a sitter 20 times total. At $15 a time, thats $300 total for all 8 children, or divided, $2/child/year.
I cook most food from scratch and we eat lots of food from our garden. The garden alone probably saves us $100 a month on groceries, year round. We pay $700/mo for groceries for 10 people. That $700 breaks down to $70 per person per month, or $840/yr per child.
I shop at thrift shops, yard sales and dept store clearance racks. I also happily accept hand-me-downs and pass down our clothes from child to child. (And the kids always look well dressed, thankyouverymuch!)
Gift giving: $200/yr/child
I shop carefully for Christmas and do homemade or clearance items for gifts for kids birthday parties, etc.
Bigger home: $900/yr/child
We built our current home when we had only 3 kids and with 5 bedrooms it is still adequate. The difference between our first home and our current home was $130,000 including interest. Dividing that cost over 18 years gives you $900/yr/child.
Bigger car: $139/yr/child
We paid $20,000 for our current van, which we hope to make last during the largest years of our family. Already our oldest is off at college. Most likely by the time the bigger vehicle is retired, our family will have shrunk enough to fit into a more affordable standard sized car.
We homeschool, visit our local library for many resources, and use reusable textbooks for most subjects past 3rd grade.
Kids do 1-2 extracurricular activities per year each, such as baseball, swimming, piano and choir. We go to dollar movies. We go to the water park on the free day sponsored by hubbys work. We camp at state parks. Fun does not have to break the bank or involve large black mouse ears.
Additional insurance: $75/yr/child
Family plan at hubbys work charges $50 extra per month to cover the family, no matter how big.
Health care: $200/yr/child
We have excellent health and dental insurance. Preventative care is free. The maximum family out-of-pocket is $2000 per year.
Because Im sure Im forgetting something.
1 child for 1 year: $2866
1 child for 18 yrs : $51,588
As you can see, this total of almost $52,000 to raise one child to age 18 is a far cry from the expert estimate of $190,000.
I think what many people forget, finance-wise with a large family is that we do not need to rebuy everything for each new child. A minivan that works for 2 will also work for 5. Baby strollers and cribs and bunk beds can all be reused. Ditto for clothes. Yeah, you will probably have to buy a bigger house, but not for every. single. child.
Granted, the numbers for a family as big as mine STILL sound a little staggering. To raise 8 children for 18 years, even on 'Marys Economy Plan', will be around $413,000 total. However, divide $413,000 by 18 years, and it averages to a mere $23,000 per year.
And that doesnt even take into consideration that a large family does not have the whole clan at home at once. My hubby and I had a decade of parenting four or fewer kids at the beginning, exactly ONE year of parenting the full 8 children all at once, and most likely we have at least another decade of 4 or fewer children in the home still in our future.
All this goes to show that if you are willing to be frugal, you do not have to be RICH to have a big family. And let me tell ya, my kids are very worth a little frugality.
**Mary is the mother of 8 children ranging in age from 1 to 18, including 2 from Korea and 2 from Ethiopia. You can find her regularly at Owlhaven.**
Site and content 2006 - Lotsofkids.com