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How much does it actually cost to raise a child?

Cost to raise a child quote

Thinking of having a child, or trying to prepare for the costs of those you have? You might be surprised at how the expenses add up. So, what is the monetary cost to raise a child?

Raising kids

From diapers to college, the road of parenthood is full of financial pitstops. And if you want to make sure your child is happy and well-adjusted, you can add some extra stops along the way.

Still, no price compares to the joy of a babbling baby or the pride of watching your child navigate their milestones. Whether you’re a single mom or have a supportive partner by your side, it’s worth every penny!

But, to make sure you can enjoy the moments instead of worrying about the future, know what you’re getting into, and plan ahead. How much will you need in your budget? Here’s a breakdown of the costs of raising a child.

1. The costs of giving birth

The expenses of having a child begin while the little one is still in the womb. Consider these factors as you plan for the financial part of having a baby.

  • Does the mother have maternity coverage?
  • If so, what are the copays and deductibles? If not, how will the medical expenses get paid?
  • Are there any health complications for the baby or mom that will add to the bills?
  • How much is the hospital visit for natural childbirth? Anesthesia? A c-section?

As of 2021, the average cost without insurance, from conception to delivery, is about $30,000 USD. The expenses add up if there are complications during the pregnancy or after the baby is born if they need neonatal care.

This massive hit to your bank account is why financial experts like JourneytoBillions recommend having healthcare coverage. It’s an important safety net to protect your assets.

2. To raise a child: Baby to toddler costs

Little ones depend on their parents for everything. You’ll need to budget expenses like diapers, formula, and food. Breastfeeding cuts down the costs but increases how much food mom should be eating to stay healthy.

Diapers can average about $90 USD per month. Your child will likely be in some form of them until they’re about 2-3 years old.

Daycare for infants and toddlers is more expensive too. Quality childcare typically costs about 10% of a family’s household income. One parent can stay home, but then the hit to the budget is an entire salary.

Don’t forget to add in the cost of doctors for checkups, toys, and entertainment. At a minimum, this can add up to over $1,000 USD per year.

3. Childhood and beyond

Once your child starts school, the costs begin to slowly decrease for a little while. Unless you put them in a private school, you’ll only have to deal with the basics of an education expense. Meals, afterschool care, and school clothes and essentials may cost about $2,000 USD per year, depending on your income and needs.

If you want your child to have a hobby, such as playing a sport or an instrument, cheer, or another extracurricular activity, the expense rises. Every activity is different. However, you can expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 for a year’s worth of hobbies.

Over the years, the budget will need to stretch to include driving lessons, insurance, and a first car. College is on the near horizon, but first, you’ll have to navigate prom and high school graduation.

There’s no denying it’s expensive … But the cost to raise a child is worth it

Every milestone, including birthdays, will be an expense to juggle. The USDA suggests an average cost of nearly $250,000 USD to raise one child to the age of 18.

This rough estimate doesn’t include sending them to college, helping them buy a car, or spoiling them a little on the holidays. As you budget for your young one right now, it’s important to invest in strategies to plan for the future.

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