What it Costs to Raise a Child

Recently msn:lifestle published an article stating that it takes $369,360 to raise a child.



Jeez. These kind of articles just make me itch.

Let’s see, for my four kids that’s $1,477,440 total. At my current salary, if I don’t spend any money on myself (no food, clothes or lattes) it will take me 32.8 years to pay for my kids.


It doesn’t take anywhere near $369,360 to raise a child and we all know it. That is what rich and upper middle class parents spend and the marketers (and investors and insurance companies) are feeding these figures to the media who take the figure as an absolute value. This reporter doesn’t even tell us where she got this dollar amount. These kind of articles leave us poor single parent schmucks wondering how we are going to keep it together. Or thinking that our kids are missing out.

Let me tell you all: we are doing just fine. It doesn’t take near that kinda money to raise a kid. Just ask me. Or Amy Dacyczyn who, with her husband, raised six kids on less than $30,000 per year (for the whole family, not one child) and wrote The Tightwad Gazette.

Looking at the dollar amounts presented in the msn article we can see that the first two families could easily half their food costs if they were following along on the Food Stamp Allotment challenge with us.

Gas costs: I have averaged $120-$180 per month for the past several years in gas costs and one half of that is work related gas. So I spend $60-$90 per month on gas for me and the kiddos. $300-$500 is outrageous. Are they driving the kids to soccer in an RV?

Travel, sports and activities: $350-$1300. This is luxury spending. $100 for golf lessons for a child is luxury spending. Yeah, the kids may end up being the next Tiger Woods (I wouldn’t wish that on my kid) and yeah, they might get some college scholarship money from playing a sport. But if you took the money and saved it for college, you’d probably break even.

I spend $276/month for music lessons/instrument repair. I’ve got the money and it feels worth it to me, but if we were struggling, it would stop.

The two high dollar expenses that I won’t quarrel with include the $1000/month insurance costs. I think these parents are self-employed, so it could easily cost that much for medical and life and disability insurance for a family. Also the day care cost of $1770 rang true to me to.

There are creative ways around those costs, but that would be a topic for another post…..

Chin up, single parents.

We are going to be OK.


2 thoughts on “What it Costs to Raise a Child

  1. Lora says:

    Even though this site is geared to the single parent lifestyle; I have gained a great deal of insight; enjoyed many thought provoking discussions with my spouse; and have tucked away several little jewels from reading this blog! (Keep it up!!)
    With that being said; I breathed a huge sigh of relief after reading this most recent posting. Although I am not a single parent (I am a stepmother of 2 young daughters)…..that $$ amout IS enough to make me lose some sleep! (will my husband and I EVER be able to retire!!??)
    But; your conviction; stamina and proof that it can be done; makes be breathe a deep sigh. I, too; can keep my chin up!!


  2. Fawn says:

    Lora- it makes me pretty happy that you find stuff here in the blog that is useful to you and being a s-mom. That is a tough gig, as tough as being a single parent…probably harder.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. Back attcha.


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