There are many estimates for how much parents may spend over the course of a child’s first 18 years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a survey entitled “Expenditures on Children by Families” and found that a two-parent, husband-wife couple with an income under $61,530 spends $9,130 to $10,400 each year on a single child.
Couples with higher incomes spend more, which can range from $12,800 to $25,700 per child. Housing is the biggest expenditure, with childcare/education and food coming in second and third places respectively.
While it’s impossible to determine exactly how much someone may save over the course of their lifetime when choosing not to have kids, it could be $208,000 or more if a parent spends exactly $10,400 each year on one child for 20 years.
This isn’t completely accurate, as costs change each year; but not needing to save for college, having no line item for childcare in your budget, and feeding fewer mouths would allow a non-parent to easily save more over their lifetime than a parent who spends on those things.
How much money are we talking about? I’ve determined the estimated expenditures for raising children today in Atlanta.
Childcare and Education
Unless one parent stays at home, childcare can easily be a major expense for many families. Your costs will vary, depending on whether you send your child to a daycare center or use a home daycare center or nanny. After daycare, there is the option of public school, home school, or private school, although that doesn’t include the cost of college.
If the baby is breastfed, there are only a few items a parent will need to buy. But if the baby is on formula, the monthly cost will increase significantly.
You could easily buy a 33-ounce tub of formula a week. At Walmart, one tub costs about $20. At a minimum of four tubs, you’ve got an at least $80 tab at the end of the month. Once the child begins to eat solids, the need for more food will increase a family’s monthly food budget, depending on their eating habits.
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Clothing and Accessories
We’re lucky to have family and friends who are both gifting new clothes and other accessories and providing hand-me-downs. Diapering a child is a huge expense. We expect to do cloth diapering, which – while costly upfront – is the least expensive option between cloth diapering at home (about $19 a month), a diaper service (around $76 a month), and disposables (about $72 a month), as estimated by BabyCenter’s First Year Baby Costs Calculator.
Finding a children’s consignment shop near our home was inspiring. Now I can get used clothes and accessories on discount.
‘Well' visits are typically covered at 100 percent, but sick visits and the extra expense for premiums each month can make a dent in your monthly budget. My partner’s insurance, which I’m covered under, will likely increase by more than $400 per month when we add the baby. Even if the employer pays half of that, an extra $200 a month is still a large expense for us.
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Loss of Income
Some people might not consider loss of income a financial reason to not have kids. But women with children make an average of 31 percent less than men with kids, according to PayScale’s report “Inside the Gender Pay Gap.” Additionally, women tend to take unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and following the arrival of a baby, women are more likely to shift to a part-time job or leave their job entirely.
Overall, it can be scary looking at these costs. Costs tend to increase as the child ages. For this reason alone, many millennials might not feel that having children is a possibility once they consider their financial situation. At the same time, others may feel that the financial costs of having a child should not factor in to one’s decision due to the many emotional benefits they bring.
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