Costs of Raising Children

September 7, 2009

Being a parent can be a lot of fun but it can also be quite expensive.  If you’re thinking about having children, make sure you budget in enough cash each month for all the different ways kids can cost you money.

Health Care


It seems kids, at least young ones, are always getting sick.  I’m sure part of it is that they’re often running around other little kids with runny noses and stomach bugs.  It doesn’t help that they like to put everything in their mouth, never want to wash their hands, don’t cover their mouth when they cough, and are too small to understand the concept of germs.

For example, when our son was younger he kept getting some kind of eye goop from the kids at daycare where his eyes would crust shut.  The doctor gave us a prescription for a tiny little bottle of drops that cost us $50. At $50 a pop, I would dread every time I saw the goop start to accumulate in his eyes. 

Then, I’d catch it from him and have watery, crusty eyes as well but the doctor said not to share the bottle of drops.  They wanted me to go to my doctor and get a prescription and get my own bottle.  Dreading another co-pay and spending another $50 on a teeny tiny bottle I didn’t listen and borrowed his drops. Luckily my goop went away.


Of course, anytime your kid gets a cold you have to worry if they’re going to get an ear infection.  You don’t really know if they have one or not but if they’re acting fussy and crying a lot you start to wonder if the cold caused an ear infection.  So you take them in to see the pediatrician which means you have a co-pay. 

Sometimes they have the ear infection, sometimes they don’t; but you pay for the doctor’s visit no matter what.  The thing is, you love your kid and don’t want them to be in pain.  So whether it’s a suspected ear infection or some other ailment, when something seems wrong with your kid you worry about them and call up the pediatrician. All those doctor’s visits add up over time.

Time Off

When your son or daughter is sick, someone has to stay home with them and that means taking a sick day or vacation day.  If you’ve worked at a job for many years you may have a surplus of days accumulated, but if not then each one of those days is pretty valuable.

It’s not just sick kids that will eat up your vacation days.  For example, last week our daughter got kicked out of daycare because she wouldn’t take a bottle from the babysitter.  My wife went to pick her up and our baby sitter said she couldn’t come back the next day since she was refusing to eat from a bottle.  With little notice to find an alternate, I ended up having to take a day of vacation to stay home with her.


Usually kids don’t mean to be destructive but due to their youth and ignorance they destroy things unknowingly or accidentally.  For example, maybe they’ll pick up something fragile (cell phone, camera, decoration, etc) and drop it as they walk across the floor.

Or they’ll be potty training and have an accident and get pee stains all over the furniture or the carpet. 

Maybe they’ll be washing their hands and plug up the sink and overflow water all over the bathroom.

They can also be destructive towards their own bodies.  A big cut or a big fall can lead to a an expensive and day-consuming trip to the emergency room.

I’m sure the list is endless, there are many different ways kids can destroy things.


Babies cause so many expenses that they’re in a whole cost category of their own.  Cribs, strollers, diapers, and formula aren’t cheap.  Then there’s the process of being pregnant and actually delivering the baby.  Doctor visits and hospital stays keep the medical bills flowing in for a while.  Depending on the mother, you might also drop a bunch of money getting the baby room ready, which can mean new furniture and decorating.

Toys / Clothes

You can certainly save money on toys and clothes by buying them at garage sales or discount stores but those costs still add up.  Your kids will either destroy or grow out of the clothes and toys that you buy them so every season you’re spending more money.

Cost of Kids

So far, we’ve only experienced the costs of the first few years of life. We haven’t gotten to expenses for school age kids, let alone the costs of college.  I don’t know what the total bill will be but I know it’s going to be MASSIVE.

However, the joy of being a parent and seeing your kids learn and grow is worth more than the large financial cost of raising children.  Although they may deplete your bank account, they’ll fill up your heart and make you happy in ways you didn’t know were possible.  Just make sure you budget for the little money sucking bundles of joy.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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