Costs of Raising Kids—From Birth to Preschool

cost of raising kids

Since I found out I was pregnant with my first child, the budget wheels starting turning in my mind. How can I afford to care for a little one? The cost of raising kids is something to be considered when planning a family.

Yes, we should sit down and count the cost, but sometimes unforeseen events happen and finances don’t work out on paper. During our good financial times as well as our bad we should trust in the Lord for our provisions. There were countless times in our lives when clothing, diapers and formula was really pinching our budget. After giving my financial situation over to God, I saw him provide in miraculous ways. A knock on the door from a neighbor who didn’t need her loads of extra diapers. Another knock on the door from a family member with sacks of clothes her kids didn’t need anymore. A call from a previous job that said they owed me an entire paycheck. Yes, God always provides, even when our budget doesn’t add up to meet our needs.

However, many parents still wonder, “How much does it cost to raise a child in today’s society?” Well, the answer has many variables, but here is a brief sketch of the amount of money it would cost an average, American family to raise a child from birth to preschool. Hope it helps in your financial planning!

Newborn to six months old:

  • Daycare. Are both parents going to work full-time outside the home? If so, the most major expense will be daycare. The average yearly costs for a day care center in the U.S. is $12,000 per year. If that amount startles you, try looking into some work-from-home options. There are loads available!
  • Formula. The second most major expense for the average parent of an infant is the cost of infant formula. Formulas can differ in price, but the average family with a newborn or infant will spend about $130 per month on formula. This does not include the bottles and other feeding accessories. Breast-feeding has some major financial perks!
  • Hospital bills. If your insurance does not cover the entire cost of the hospital bill for the birth of your baby, then you may still have a good chunk of money to hand over. After prenatal visits, blood work, ultrasounds and delivery, the entire cost for a hospital birth is around $10,000. Most insurances cover a good bit, but you may need to budget and save to cover the remaining costs. Choosing a mid-wife greatly cuts down on the cost, but not everyone feels comfortable with that decision.
  • Diapers. The majority of Americans choose disposable diapers for convenience. But there is also hefty price tag for this modern convenience. About $100 per month will be the cost of diapers during the first six months of life. This price can vary as well based on your baby’s needs and on the brand you choose. If you are a Pamper’s fan, you can join their club for free to get loads of coupons and free stuff. Join here.
  • Baby gear. Car seats, strollers, cribs and port-a-cribs can really add up! If you purchase everything new, the equipment for babyhood will cost you several thousands of dollars. After the baby showers are over, consider purchasing any other needed items second-hand. Many people have baby equipment that is gently used and they want it off their hands. Take advantage of that problem and help them out!
  • Well-baby check-ups. You’ll be making more visits to the pediatrician than you could ever imagine! Well-baby check-ups during the first six months of life are scheduled very often. The average well-baby check-up is estimated at $130. Again, this differs from state to state and practice to practice.
  • Six months to one year.

  • Daycare. This will still be a major investment if you continue to use childcare for your little one. Child-care costs can vary greatly if a nanny, grandparent or family friend is chosen to aid in the day-to-day care of your little one. Considering staying at home yet? Choosing to be a stay-at-home mom can save you more money than you think!
  • Layette. At this time, your little one will be growing by leaps and bounds. As your bambino begins to reach 10 months old, you will also begin looking for the perfect walking shoe. Shoes, socks and comfy, correctly-fitting clothes are important during these months of optimum growth and learning. Check out second-hand stores, clearance racks and sales to help your little one find the perfect clothes for his or her personality. The average cost for a baby’s clothing needs is approximately $85 per month.
  • Baby food. Convenient jarred baby food can add up fast as many jars cost about $1.00 a piece. This could average out to about $18 per week.
  • Check-ups. Well-baby check-ups are still scheduled and recommended, but are less frequent at this age. Average cost is still the same as the infant check-up.
  • Toddlers

  • Daycare. Still a major cost for this age.
  • Layette. Your little one is still growing, but has slowed down a good bit. The average cost for a toddler’s clothing needs is $150 per season.
  • Toys. Toddlers are learning and soaking up any information available. You will want to purchase educational toys and books to encourage this learning spurt. The average learning toy costs between $15 and $30. Books are around $10-$15. Check-out your local thrift stores and yard sales for great deals on children’s books.
  • A larger home. Your infant could easily room-in with you. But, now your little one is gaining independence and you don’t want to stunt this desire. Adding an additional bedroom or scouting for a larger home is typical for a family with children. These costs vary too great to give an average cost, but it is still something to consider!
  • Pre-schoolers

  • Daycare. This is the age when the child-care cost could drop as you may choose to put your child into Pre-K classes and only pay for an after-school care program. However, any child-care programs will cost you thousands per year.
  • Education. If you decide to place your child in a private school or home-school, the price will be higher than parents that choose to send their children to a public school. Private schools can range from $5,000-$12,000 per year and home-school costs can range from $500-$2,000 per year. DO your home-work before choosing a private school or home-school curriculum. Some schools offer discounts or scholarships. SOme home-school programs offer payment plans and discounts as well.
  • Bikes and riding toys. As your child gets bigger, so do the toys. Now your child will be interested in enjoying the great outdoors even more than before. Purchase bikes, wagons, pools, balls and all kinds of fun equipment for outside play. Depending on your choices, the costs involved in purchasing outside recreational toys could range from $300-$5,000. It adds up quick!

Raising kids is quite an expense, so plan and budget carefully for a more secure financial future for your family. Need some idea on how to raise kids frugally? Check out this post for some creative ways to stretch your child-raising budget.

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