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It can be very expensive to raise a child in the United States. For example, according to one online calculator, it costs almost $200,000 US Dollars (USD) to raise a child from birth to age 18. Other sources estimate the cost at $250,000 USD or more. For parents who put their kids through college, tuition can add as much as $10,000 USD or more to that estimate.
Although this may seem like an unaffordable amount of money, keep in mind that the cost of raising children is spread out over almost two decades. Divided equally by 18 years, raising child will cost you roughly $11,000 USD per year. If you have two children, it will theoretically cost you about $22,000 USD per year to raise them, and so on. However, keep in mind that the first 11 or 12 years of each child’s life will most likely be more expensive than the teen years, because daycare expenses usually go away at age 12.
Fortunately, many of these expenses are ones that smart families can avoid, dramatically lowering what it costs to raise a child. For example, the online calculator estimates an expense of $2,900 USD per year for a bigger home. If you can find a bigger home that suits your needs for only $700 USD more a year, it will drop the total expense down to $150,000 USD. If you parent a child in the same size home you have now, you’ll spend under $140,000 USD.
Likewise, the calculator includes an annual cost of $1,250 USD for a bigger car. However, many families can raise a child using the cars they already have, which saves around $15,000 USD over a period of 18 years.
Other costs of raising children are negotiable, too. For instance, breastfeeding for the first year of your baby’s life could save you a thousand dollars or more in groceries. Making your own baby food — which is actually quite simple — can also save you hundreds of dollars. Savvy shoppers should also be able to clothe their child for well under the allotted $600 per year.
The recreation category provides another way you can save money while raising children. There are many free or low-cost ways to entertain your kids. Trips to the library and the park, picnics, and school and community events are all great free or low-cost outings for you and your child. Also, don’t forget that children have great imaginations, and can easily entertain themselves with the toys they already have.
Although at first glance it seems very expensive to raise a child in the United States, in reality, many of the costs are unnecessary, and can be avoided by financially savvy parents. By cutting or eliminating some of the expenses as described here, you should be able to cut the cost of raising children nearly in half.