Cost Breakdown: 18 – 24 months

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.)

The end part of the second year, there isn’t much to buy… mostly the turbulence of “new” purchases is dwindling–the need to buy exclusively new items has faded, and you’re trying to offload jumpers, cribs, and swings onto even younger children than your young child.

I work, so it’s important to us that 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.

Grand Total 18 – 24 months: $12,894.76

Here is our personal breakdown, using the same breakdown as the USDA.

Housing expenses: $300.00

Honestly, our costs pre-baby and post-baby have been the same in this department. 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: Haven’t bought any extra furniture for our son this year at all.

Food:  $242.00

We buy about 1 gallon of organic whole milk per week at 7$ a gallon. 26 weeks from the last time I calculated this total. 182$

For regular food, we just give him some our our food. I don’t actually buy him specialty food/meals, and he doesn’t eat enough yet to warrant me buying “extra” for him. I’ll say I spend about 10$ per month on snacks especially for him. 60$

Transportation: $36.44

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 our home, 3 days per week = 12 miles per week +4 miles for every doctors appointment, which totaled 0 appointments for this year. So about 312 extra miles since 18 months. My car averages 25 miles to the gallon for in-town driving which would approximately be 12.50 gallons of gas, gas prices have averaged 2.92$. $36.44

Clothing $328.08

So he’s grown out of his winter clothes since last year, so we’ve bought quite a bit on that front. I buy almost exclusively from the Children’s Place, $128.08. However, I bought about $60 worth of clothes from Once Upon a Child and About another $100 from Target. And $40 for seasonal items (coats). I haven’t shopped at Babies R Us for clothes in a long time! $288.08. Looks like I’m averaging 290$ every time he outgrows a size. Yeesh.

Health care $910.00

He hasn’t been sick during this calendar year yet, yay! Just wellness checkups, which are fully covered. *I* however have been terribly sick.

I spend an extra $110 per pay period for the “family” medical plan vs my former “single” plan, which is $1,430 so far. My husband stopped his plan, which was 40$ per pay period, and saved us 520$.

Child care and education expenses: $7,251.00

We jumped down from five days a week to three days a week in care. Which is 259$ / week (10.80$ per hour). This is, without a doubt, the biggest expense.

Miscellaneous expenses: $3,827.24

Swim lessons, trip to India (to visit his grandparents), visits to children’s museums, carriers, diapers, books, breakfast with Santa, his birthday party and birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, trip to Oregon (to visit his other grandparents), rain boots, Halloween. Tis the season… woof!

So Far…

TOTAL: 53,150.73$  …holy crap.

Averaging 26,575.36$/year … oof… still better than me giving up my job for our finances suprisingly. …and here I thought I couldn’t afford college…we just did! In TWO YEARS. How are we still paying off my student loans? Freaking honestly. Were we just hurling money out the door before our son was born? … where was it all going before?

If we didn’t have to pay for child care. This is what it would look like:

  • 00-12 Months: 9,956.64$
  • 12-24 Months: 9,980.35$

AVG: 9,914.50$ per year
(which in 18 years would be about 180k… so USDA isn’t far off from what’s shaping out to be our “real deal.” Child care won’t last the entire 18 years and starts getting less expensive once they are potty trained… I’m thinking USDA knows what they are talking about)

Moral…if you have relatives taking care of your child. You better take them to a Broadway show…in New York City followed by a ballet in Paris, France EVERY YEAR–Every year they save you nearly 17 grand. seven.teen.grand. Treat your relatives to a trip! OMG! Now! Get on over to


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