The average cost to raise a child to 18 is $245,340, according to the USDA. An average of 40$ per day. Woof! I thought I would post my own, just in case someone wanted to see “real deal” figures. Click Here to use the USDA’s calculator. We live in the “West Urban” region (California, specifically). I do not live in the Bay or Los Angeles.
Here is how the USDA breaks down that house-sized figure:
- Housing expenses consist of shelter (mortgage payments, property taxes, or rent; maintenance and repairs; and insurance), utilities (gas, electricity, fuel, cell/telephone, and water), and house furnishings and equipment (furniture, floor coverings, major appliances, and small appliances).
- Food expenses consist of food and nonalcoholic beverages purchased at grocery, convenience, and specialty stores; dining at restaurants; and household expenditures on school meals.
- Transportation expenses consist of the monthly payments on vehicle loans, down payments, gasoline and motor oil, maintenance and repairs, insurance, and public transportation (including airline fares).
- Clothing expenses consist of children’s apparel such as diapers, shirts, pants, dresses, and suits; footwear; and clothing services such as dry cleaning, alterations, and repair.
- Health care expenses consist of medical and dental services not covered by insurance, prescription drugs and medical supplies not covered by insurance, and health insurance premiums not paid by an employer or other organization. Medical services include those related to physical and mental health.
- Child care and education expenses consist of day care tuition and supplies; baby-sitting; and elementary and high school tuition, books, fees, and supplies. Books, fees, and supplies may be for private or public schools. The average child care and education expenses used in the Calculator are based on families who have these expenses. If you do not have these expenses, expenditures on a child should be adjusted to account for this.
- Miscellaneous expenses consist of personal care items (haircuts, toothbrushes, etc.), entertainment (portable media players, sports equipment, televisions, computers, etc.), and reading materials (nonschool books, magazines, etc.)
Some things of the first year are unique: the labor and delivery bill, and buying lots of furniture, etc isn’t an annual expense. I’m hoping the second year won’t be such a strain. Some of our expenses others won’t have either, child care and the cost of formula for instance–those two items alone is a difference of about $14,408.
The government lets you remove a value of $4,000 dollars from your taxable income as a tax break for child care, and $3,304 can be removed from your taxable income for the child as a dependent.
We pay 8.60$ per hour for this, and removing that from my paycheck was still more beneficial than removing my entire paycheck from the family income. So off to work I go. Poo.
If you are in the fortunate circumstance to not have to buy all the furniture, clothes, and baby items by yourself because of the generosity of friends or family, your costs for the first year may be even less than ours. We didn’t have this benefit, and the whole first year was a really large strain, especially given the reduced income from 3 months of maternity leave.
Grand Total 0 – 12 months: $27,105.38*
* Without the Labor & Delivery, Child Care and Formula, our cost would have been: $9,956.64.
Here is our personal breakdown, using the same breakdown as the USDA.
Housing expenses: $1,800.00 (6.7%)
We didn’t move because we got pregnant/had a kid. All our utilities: water/sewer/garbage/electric were the same as per usual even without the addition of our child. For the sake of cost, I’d say that maybe our water/electric is slightly higher because…dear God… the laundry–so maybe 50$ per month or 600$ for the year. However, I don’t stay home all day, so we’re not running our electric day in and out.
Furnishings: We bought a crib, rocking chair (didn’t even use it…), [IKEA] closest system, dresser, stroller, carseat, upgraded carseat, another stroller, etc etc etc… per Amazon and my receipts, we spent close to $1,200.
Food: $2,521.00 (9.3%)
My son was on formula after month 2 (my boobs up and quit on me…), so formula ran us $212.83 per month, totaling $2,128.
I didn’t buy the pre-made baby food, I was given two baby cook books at my baby shower 201 Organic Baby Purees and Start Fresh (my favorite) and I bought some Sage Spoonfuls containers $21 and a Silicone Mini Muffin pan $12 to freeze the yummy recipes. I would say I spent an extra 10-15$ per week on my grocery bill to buy organic fresh and frozen foods from 6 months to 1 year. ~$360 + 21 + 12 = $393.00 for a year.
Transportation: $122.64 (0.4%)
I drive an added 4 miles per day due to my son. 1 mile to his school, then 1 mile to my work, then 1 mile to his school, then 1 mile to my work, 5 days per week = 20 miles per week +4 miles for every doctors appointment, which totaled 8 appointments in his first year = 1,072 extra miles per year. My car averages 25 miles to the gallon for in-town driving which would approximately be 42 gallons of gas per year, gas prices have averaged 2.92$ last year so it was $122.64. I changed my oil the same number of times I changed it the year before he was born.
Clothing $788.03 (2.9%)
Okay, maybe I over-spent in this department 🙂 Thank god my son wasn’t a girl, because we’d own so many bathing suits right now. I bought almost exclusively from Babies R Us, Amazon, and The Children’s Place. Amazon: Gerber sleeper two-packs and coats $224.55. Children’s Place socks/pants/pjs/shirts $115.35, Babies R Us: special occasion outfits $256. Misc (Columbia, Buy Buy Baby, Walmart, Target): $156.13
Health care $7,204.57 (26.6%)
I already broke down the total labor & delivery fees in another post, those were $3,654.57. The plus side is that he won’t incur that fee annually!
We spent 250$ on an [totally unnecessary, bleepy bleep advice nurse] on an emergency room visit, and 440$ for non-checkup appointments (he was sick) + $36 for prescriptions, totaling $726.00.
I spend an extra 110$ per pay period for the “family” medical plan, my husband keeps his “single” because our companies charge a fee for employed spouses, and mine is the better insurance. I have 26 pay periods per year, totally $2,860 a year
Child care and education expenses: $12,280 (45.3%)
I already mentioned we pay $8.60/hour, for 40 hours of care per week. This is 337$ per week and 17,524$ per year. They have a 120$ annual enrollment fee. My son started when he was 3 months old so his first year’s total was $13,480. The government removes 4,000$ from our taxable income for child care, which is about ($1200) per year, making our total $12,280 for the year
Miscellaneous expenses: $2,389.14 (8.8%)
We spent a lot of this mostly before he was born, we spent about 1300$ getting these “misc” items pre-birth. However, after that initial expense, furniture and food and clothes aside, I spent 350$ on his first birthday (mostly the cake…), 150$ in gifts for his birthday and Christmas, diapers I broke down in another post and totalled $732 for the year, and a whopping $1653.14 which is comprised of toys, books, breast pump parts, pacifiers, etc. Swim lessons (yes, for an infant, ha!) and baby-related events came to about $236 per my receipts and all this Misc section totaled $2,389.14 for the first year. At least I know where to cut down… books! Ha!