The Cost of Raising a Kid Is...
From diapers to food, here's the price tag on the priceless experience of being a parent
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual "Cost of Raising a Child" report, and it's higher than ever. For families who had a child in 2015, it will cost a whopping $233,610 (in 2015 dollars) to raise a child from birth to age 17. That's a lot.
The report takes into account the following (in order of percentage): housing, food, childcare/education, transportation, healthcare, clothing, and other miscellaneous expenses. College is not factored in.
Across the country, costs were highest in Northeastern and Western cities and in the urban South. The Midwest had the lowest costs across the board. This variation was mostly due to housing costs as well as childcare expenses, according to the report.
No matter where you live, it's an enormous amount of money. And given many people have more than one child, the costs get even higher. With that in mind, we asked parents for their best money-saving tips:
"I post to my local parents' groups when we're in need of things like coats and boots, and generally hear from other parents when they have things in my kid's sizes. I haven't bought winter boots for my kids in years! I also return the favor by posting offers for big-ticket items when my kids outgrow them."-April
"I sell clothes that my son has outgrown at a local big consignment sale. Since I sell, I get access to a pre-sale before it's open to the general public and stock up for the next season."-Allison
"We have season passes to a local amusement park, since it's cheaper than buying tickets every time. Plus, you get guest passes and other perks as a season park holder. And we can also drop in for two hours and leave without feeling like we wasted our money."-Eric
"I get passes for museums and the aquarium at the library. They're often free or at a discount."-Stephanie
"Buy your daughter dresses that, when she grows, will work as tunics...sometimes then as t-shirts. It's amazing how long one dress can last."-Jeanne
"I swear I spend at least a third less at the grocery store if I leave my kids at home. That way I stick to my list and they don't pester me into buying a bunch of stuff we don't need."-Julie
"I use the online garage sale site for my town and neighboring towns to buy and sell kids furniture, winter boots, and coats. I also buy in bulk and freeze prepared meals."-Amy
"I'm in a preschool coop with my neighbors! Every mom hosts one morning with three girls, so I get two mornings off-for free! The kids love it. So do the moms." -Dana
"With four kids and a full-time job, I cook breakfasts in bulk and freeze them. One favorite: I make a huge pot of oatmeal, portion it out in a silicone muffin pan, and freeze it. Then I pop them out into individual bags and store them in the freezer. During the week, I put a serving in the bowl, add a little milk, and microwave. I save money, time, and it's easy to feed my kids a healthy breakfast." -Kristine
"There's nothing magical about baby food except for the convenience of the jar. Mash up your own sweet potatoes!" -Amy