Friday, June 22, 2012

How much does it cost to raise a child?

So happy to be spending time and not money on Cassia!

Well, apparently it costs

Can you BELIEVE that! 

I almost choked on my morning coffee reading that bit of information!

This figure was recently released by the US government's Department of Agriculture who has been tracking the cost since 1960. I found the article on facebook posted by Today's Parent. Here is the full article entitled Parenting Isn't Cheap!

After reading the figure it took me a minute to get my bearings. But as soon as I did I rummaged around in our junk drawer for the calculator. 

Let's see.....

$234,900 until the age of 17 (actually according to the article - for us living on less then $59,000 per year it would be $4,000 less) so.....

$230,900 ÷ 17 = $13,582.35 

$13,582.35 per year!

$13,582.35 ÷ 12 = $1,131.86 

$1,131.86 per month!

Can you BELIEVE that! I don't. 

I doubt we've even spent that much on Cassia in 3 years let alone one month. Let's see - according to this figure we should have already spent $40,747.05!!!!!! Ok, ok, I know that everyone would probably agree that the figure is less when younger but gets larger as they grow - as in the teen years would be the most expensive. Or would it.....

Although the $234,900 had me all flustered I was about to turn from flustered to angry! Yes, ANGRY!

I scrolled down to see the comments and look what I found! 

What! The figure is TOO LOW! 


Here are a few:

"I say this number is lower than reality especially if both parents work. Childcare alone is costing nearly $12,000 per year for us, so that's nearly $48,000 before she even turns 5 and starts school."

or how about this one

"I too have to disagree with this number. I am going to assume that they are calculating just the 'basics'. I would like to see the breakdown of this number."

and another

"For me, I think this number is too low. I have been spending well over $12,000 a year on childcare for my daughter alone."


I was stupid enough to then add my 2¢ to the discussion about living simply and frugally only to then become the object of nasty comments. I should have known better.

After all I had just a few days early read We are killing our kids on BlogHer. A very good article with many valid points about the inherent problems with daycare. I was SHOCKED to see all of the RUDE comments by women.

Writing ANYTHING negative about daycare sure seems to bring out the worst in women people!

I too disagree with daycare (in most - but not all - cases) and I'm sad for the children that are placed in them. I'm sad that parents think that their children are better off with money or with what the money will buy them rather than with them. 

I was most saddened by this comment on facebook with the others above:

"@ Breanna, I don't know where you live, but here in Greater Vancouver, childcare is no that inexpensive. I pay just under $1,000 per month, and I know of many friends who pay well over $1,000 per month. Of course, my daughter won't go to daycare all her life, but we'll need after school care, and day camps during the summer breaks and from what I see, these are expensive too."

I posted this saying on facebook - seems a lot of parents SHOULD read - and practice - it!

My main question to this mom with the statement above would be "When do YOU spend time with your child?!" Seems like a lot of other people are spending the time on her child.


I realize that our lifestyle isn't for everyone - we live VERY simply in many ways. But boy, thank goodness WE are raising our child and spending as much time with her as we can - especially in her early years. 

While reading the daycare comments I looked over at Cassia and wondered exactly HOW are mom's able to drop their young children off and leave for the day? And how about being a stay at home mom for just the early years? - how about that. Maybe live a little more simple for just a time. They grow up oh so fast - how about working after they go to school? 

Back to our figure of $230,900

If Derek and I spend, say about $2,000 by the age of 5, which is VERY realistic, that means theoretically - based on the article - we would have $1,589.58 per month to spend until she is 17. (And those are USA figures, I shuddered to think what that $234,900 would be in Canada.)

I don't think so! But I'll keep track and get back to you in 14 years! 

What do you think about the figure of $234,900 to raise a child to 17?


Today's Interesting Link: Yaaaaa - I found another simple and frugal gal - Lori from the blog Country Girl's Life. I found her article Ways to be Frugal and Live Simply on another blog and headed right over to read it. I realized we put all her suggestions into practice. A kindred spirit. You can also find Lori on facebook


  1. I think your comments cause (painful) cognitive dissonance in other parents (especially mothers). If it's possible for you to live this way, it must be possible for them to live this way, which is impossible ...

  2. I remember when we were raising our children, the estimated "cost" was nearly what we were earning in total !!

    Teresa had NO intentions of having anyone else raise our munchkins, so she quit her job, and in order to make ends meet, she babysat in our home.

    We were very fortunate at the time, to have friends at Church that also supported our same family beliefs.

    When our children were school age, a teacher confided in us saying that she could tell our kids were raised by their Mom, and that she could usually tell the kids that were raised in daycare.

    Unless the mother has a career or profession that would suffer from her being away for the first five years of a child's life, it just doesn't seem to make sense for her to work financially, let alone spiritually and emotionally.

    You can NEVER get those years back, and the teaching and bonding and the example you are living for Cassia will last her entire lifetime !!

    Hugs, TnT

    1. Thanks for sharing your story TnT - I'm so so so glad for your kids! I do disagree about the profession part - I still think mom's can keep up on their careers at home and stay connected. If they can't I still think raising your children is job #1. Look at me - I have a Masters of Architecture but clean toilets!

      You are right - you CAN'T get those years back and they are VERY important for your child's life.

  3. I don't believe it either. My husband and I have raised five children and I know we didn't spend that much. Granted, we are not paying for university as they are working and student loaning it. There's no way. Besides, the lessons learned from having to put yourself through school are some of the best to learn including time and money management.

    I believe it's the time we spend with our children, not the money, that matters most.

    1. Hi Shirley! I'm always in awe of parents who raised many children! The $234,900 may have been easier to understand if it DID include university.

      You are so right about working - I started when I was 14 so that I could buy the clothes and the extras + I worked my way through 9 years of university. It has done me nothing but good!

  4. I agree that this figure seems way to high.......would like to see the breakdown of how they arrived at that!! Frankly, I DON'T think this figure includes college, as most kids don't get out of high school until 17/18---THEN they attend higher learning.


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