Yes, babies are small. They don’t have a plethora of hobbies or interests. And, no, they have not acquired a penchant for haute cuisine or Jimmy Choos. But don’t let their seemingly simple tastes and joie de vivre fool you. These wee humans are massive consumers that will likely cost their parents more money than a three-bedroom home by the time they graduate from high school.

But as most parents will tell you, they are worth every penny.

If you are still considering having one of these little money pits of your own, it is a good idea to engage in some healthy financial planning. And the first step is figuring out how much raising a miniature version of yourself will cost.

Can You Afford To Have Kids?

The Professional Opinion

While many dismiss this figure as being over-the-top and a tad alarmist, the U.S. Department of Agriculture states that it will cost you approximately $245,000 to raise a child until they are eighteen years old. That may seem like mucho dinero, but as Time Magazine reminds readers, four million babies are born in this country each year and most parents adjust to the added financial responsibility just fine.

Baby Needs

When your first baby is born, it may seem like your hand is perpetually planted in your wallet, pulling out fistfuls of cash. Just remember, however, that many of this gear can be used for any subsequent children, cutting down the cost associated with your eldest’s future siblings.

Some of the things you will need to purchase include diapers and diaper-related items, a tub and bathing gear, medical supplies like a baby thermometer and ointments, a breast pump, bottles and other feeding utensils, nursery furnishings, a stroller, car seat, and other transportation accoutrements, clothing, and toys.

This list may seem insurmountable, but remember that relatives and baby showers will provide you with many of the necessities and more.


Your baby’s wardrobe will not break the bank, which is a relief considering how much Junior will spill and spew over the next several months. No, the big clothing bills will appear when your bundle of joy hits their teens. And according to Livestrong, a 2010 study published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that clothing costs took up an average of only 6 percent of family income. Phew.


Children cannot care for themselves. If both parents are planning on working, you will need to hire a babysitter or place your child in daycare–unless, of course, Grandma comes cheap.

According to “Help With Adoption: The Costs of Raising a Child,” full-time childcare can range from $100 to $400 per week, depending on the type of care and where you live. It may, in fact, prove more economical for one parent to stay home and tend to Junior’s needs themselves.


Kids cannot live on love alone. Not even the random outdoor schmutz they cram into their little mouths will sustain them. And, once Junior hits his teenage years, his food consumption will likely rival that of an aspiring sumo wrestler.

In fact, CNN reports that according to the USDA, food prices make up the third biggest child-rearing expense.


Whether your child is in the middle of a Lego addiction, fascinated by all-things-Disney-princess, or hooked on the latest game console, they will clamor for the newest offering relevant to their obsession. And toys are not cheap. In fact, according to, the average amount spent on toys per American child in 2013 was $371.


Remember the $245,000 you have spent on rearing your child to the ripe old age of eighteen? You may be astonished to know that this does not include the cost of college tuition or books. Yes, providing Junior’s mind with higher education will significantly bump up that already sizeable sum.

It does, however, include the cost of school supplies for kindergarten through to grade twelve–providing Junior graduates before his eighteenth birthday. According to Today, parents will spend an average of $100 per student on school supplies, but once you factor in clothing, shoes, and electronics, it costs roughly $669 to send a child back to school.

If you have decided that having a child is worth the substantial dent in your bank account, congratulations. Your bouncing baby will bring you a wealth of joy and love–things that money cannot buy.

How did you prepare for the financial expense of having a family?