Kids are expensive. Duh, I probably don’t have to tell any of you that. Even people without children know that it costs a lot of money to raise a child. You could probably compare it to lighting money on fire and just watching it burn. There is always something they need at any given moment. Whether it is the general necessities like food, diapers, clothes, and child care or the less necessary like toys, sports, braces, or cell phones…it all adds up very quickly.

When you first have a baby you think to yourself, I’ll just suck it up while they are babies. We’ll pay for the diapers, formula, and child care and we will save money once they are out of diapers. Ha! I have three kids (9 and under) and I am still waiting for the day that I don’t have to spend money on diapers. If it is not the diapers then it is the school supplies, sports, camps, more food, braces…the numbers just keep mounting even as they get older.

I read a recent statistic the other day that pretty much blew my mind. The total average cost of raising a child from infancy to age 17 in the U.S. is currently….drumroll please….$233,610 (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2017). For each kid. What? And that number doesn’t even include a college education. How can this be? How are parents even supposed to do that?

If you have kids, it is probably best not to think about it. Not much you can do now. If you haven’t had kids yet, think about it…very hard. I’m not saying not to have kids because they are expensive, but rather, think about all the expenses first. There is far more to it than just diapers and formula. There are many hidden costs that you just don’t think about until you actually have kids. Things like:

  • Food – The amount of wasted food is ridiculous. Granola bars with one bite out of them. Bananas that are “no good” because they broke. Billions of uneaten dinners.
  • The urgent care visits. Strep, pink eye, stitches, broken bones…over and over and over. I’ve spent a good portion of my salary on co-pays for strep tests.
  • Christmas presents (from you and “I’ll just ask Santa for an iPad, they say.”).
  • Halloween costumes and candy. That stuff adds up quick year after year (that is if you don’t want to be the crappy neighbor that hands out old parade candy from last summer).
  • Extravagant birthday party venues. Yes, venues. Can’t let your kid be the one that has a lame party at home with no circus. The shame.
  • Cost of gas. You are shuttling them around all over town. It’s like a reverse taxi service… you drive and you pay.
  • Legos – the amount of money spent on Legos is absurd. They are expensive and they usually end up broken on the bottom of a toy box.
  • American Girl Dolls and accessories (because apparently dolls need their hair done at a salon – I had no idea).
  • Shoes…Kids go through shoes at lightning speed. They outgrow them. They put holes in them. They lose them.
  • Cost of electronics. They need ipads and iphones at the age of 2 these days.
  • Netflix subscriptions. It has become a necessity.
  • The wine you need to drink on a daily basis just to survive parenthood.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be off cutting coupons…and selling my organs on the black market. Gotta pay for college somehow.

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