How Much Do Kids Cost?

Updated on June 17, 2013
J.G. asks from Chicago, IL
29 answers

You'd think with three kids I'd know how much it is to have a kid,,but I honestly don't know. The only added cost with our new baby is her college account. I do about 96% cloth diapers, I breastfeed, and I've spent maybe 100 on clothes since I got rid of all my baby girl stuff years ago, so i don't notice added cost in our budget. When she starts eating solids, I will probably spend an extra 40 a month on produce.

My closest friend is disparate to have a baby. She's 41, got married last year, and there are lots of issues. To being with, her hubby had a vasectomy in his 20s. He is now kind of on board for a baby, but he keeps asking her, "how are we going to afford it?" They live in the Bay Area. Rent is ridiculous, 2200 a month, and she will have to continue to work after baby comes. She is a therapist and is planning on starting a private practice, but meanwhile, she can't convince hubby that kids don't cost a lot of money. I told her they don't because the forced lifestyle change usually covers any added costs if you ignore college ---in their case, they go out dancing and to dinner all the time. Since this won't happen with a newborn in the house, the money will shift from outings to baby costs. Am I crazy for thinking this way?

Also, while there are lots of start up costs for a baby, my friend can easily get everything she needs from her friends.. We are all done having kids, so she wouldn't need to buy much.

How much do kids really cost?

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So What Happened?

I don't get the 250k amount. Sure, if you include college, but that's like 13k a year. No way in hell we send more than a few hundred a month on kids.

My friend is screwed. Her hubby is a big kid. He's what I like to call a super immature trust fund baby..neither of them have any financial sense at all, and they are in their 40s!!!!! And of course he can't access his trust fund yet, so they can't even buy a house.

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answers from Boise on

I agree we have 8, and initially it isn't to expensive. Little people things are fairly cheap, they don't know a name brand, and only want to be loved, fed and kept warm.

The cost really starts to add up by junior/high school. That's where it will get ya.

The fact is, if someone really wanted one. They could afford it, it's really a question (if needed) what they would be willing to give up to have one.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Well my sister lives close to the bay area and pays 24,000.00 per kid per year for elementary school. They are also saving for them to have enough money for an ivy league college education when they are ready. Summer activities and camps in that area, including day cares (since she works) are insanely expensive too. Yet I don't think everyone there is rich and some just make it work.

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answers from Tucson on

I think you are completely right on about the "cost" of kids. Going from an active social life out and about spending money to having a newborn the money will definately shift! They will be too tired to be going out a lot! And yes if they can get a lot of stuff from friends or 2nd hand even better! Reallyat first the only regular expenses will come from diapers (depending on what route they take with that) and formula if they opt for that over breastfeeding. I have 3 kids and even if you make a good living you never feel truely ready for the finacial aspect of kids but it usually works out in the end!

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answers from Dallas on

You know what? I don't want to skimp on life.

I am, by nature, a frugal person. I cloth diapered, I don't spend a lot of money. We don't live in a huge house, or drive fancy cars. I stay at home. With all that said...My parents raised us on very little money. I was not able to finish college, because I couldn't work enough to pay for it. I was terrified of being saddled with student loans I couldn't pay back. We NEVER went on a family vacation. We could not play the sports we loved, or take the classed we desperately wanted to. We could not get any new clothing. (Call me crazy, but sometimes people deserve something brand new.) I could not go to camps. I could not eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. I couldn't get a nice haircut. I couldn't do so much MORE, then I could do. I have never been hung up on money, even as a child. However, I have many memories of being denied wonderful, simple things...because my parents decided kids shouldn't cost that much.

I want to visit Disneyworld. I want to take a vacation. I want to pay for four years of college. I want my kid to have braces, if needed. I want him to play sports, if he wants to. I want him to have art supplies, if he loves art. I want to be able to pay for private school, if we decide home school isn't working. I want to not have to worry about my car breaking down. I want to pay for his college. I don't want to saddle him with debt. I want to know I can live in a house. I want to know that we can have fun. I want to know I can afford to eat as cleanly as possible. I want to buy NEW clothes, if I see something that will fit and I love it. I want to stay in a hotel for fun. I want to be able to feed pets. I want to donate to many charities. I want to take an evening with my husband to get a nice dinner, and have time together. I want to visit museums, gardens, historical sites. I want to do the things, I didn't get to do as a kid.

So, might end up costing a quarter of a million to raise my kid. I am not frivolous, I simply want to enjoy my life, and give my son some opportunities I never had. I suspect for many people, it's the same. There is NOTHING wrong, with wanting and hoping to provide...more then the bare minimum.

It's about life choices. Perhaps, he does NOT want to give up his lifestyle. Perhaps, that's incredibly important to him. Not everyone is willing to sacrifice for a child, and so they shouldn't. It's better to realize that before you have a child, anyway.

16 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

It's all about priorities, like most other choices in life.

The "cost" isn't always about "cash on the barrel head" items. It's about a possible reduction in income, child care costs, etc.

O. thing I know, you manage to live on what you earn, with or without a child. I've made 3 times what I make now, and I've made half of what I make now. You can adapt and manage.
As for your friend--no clue what to think about her having a child. Sounds like she already has O.!

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answers from San Francisco on

Babies don't cost much, but they only stay babies for a few years.
Even with my husband's excellent insurance we pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket for medical and dental care, plus we've had two in braces and one one in therapy for anxiety problems, so that has been a good $8,000+ out of pocket.
Traveling costs more, which is something we LOVE to do. There's no discount on airline tickets, a child over two costs the same as an adult.
We pay a LOT more to live in an area with good schools, if we didn't we'd just spend it on private school (no I would never home school, I don't consider myself or my children a good fit for that.) And of course a bigger family means a bigger home, even if it's modest, it still costs money.
Then there are swimming lessons, dance classes, zoo passes, sports participation fees, summer camp, I could go on and on.
Sure, a lot of this stuff is optional. We only need food and shelter and the most basic medical treatment to survive, right? But most of us want to LIVE, and enjoy life, which for us means traveling and pursuing our interests and passions, and giving our children the same opportunities.
And don't even get me started on college. We will have two in college this fall, one out of state. Whatever you're planning to save for college? Double it. There are so many underlying and hidden costs you wouldn't believe it!
I think the husband may be smarter than your friend, she just wants a BABY, he realizes the BABY is just the short term goal, my son is 20 years old and still comes home on his breaks and over the summer. I'm only 45 (husband is 52) I don't think I'd be thrilled to have this kind of lifestyle in my mid 60's :-(

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answers from Los Angeles on

Kids don't cost much once they are here. My wife nursed. No formula cost. The clothes for most of them came from baby showers or hand me down from friends. When they got big enough for semi solids we got this hand turned food grinder so our kids ate what we ate right off the table. It fit in my wife's purse so if we went out, we took our baby with us at first.

I spent a lot of time with our kids helping them to do well at school. 5 got scholarships. 7 went to schools where they could live at home so I paid for room and board. I lived in poverty all my life. My wife and kids and I are real close because we did so much together. We had enough people in our family we played baseball a as family. We did lots of things together. I cannot even begin to tell you how lucky we were to not have just one or two kids.

Good luck to you and yours.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Kids start getting expensive the older they get...when you factor in sports and the extras like that...once they hit the teen years, forget about it! Senior year is a doosey!

With that being said, if you want kids you make it work, ya know?! Lots of people who are not wealthy manage to get by just fine. It really depends on your real desire...& your friend's husband sounds like he does NOT have the desire to have kids, plain & simple.

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answers from San Diego on

Kids *do* cost a lot of money over the long haul (18 years), but my goodness, if they are just going to have one child, I'm sure they could swing it based on what you've laid out in your post.

But WTH? He's in his 40s and isn't allowed to access his trust fund yet? Is he a nincompoop, or what?

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answers from Chicago on

I would agree that a lot depends on your lifestyle, but make no mistake about it, kids are expensive. I don't know about this $250K thing, but I have had my own experience to draw from. Aside from the cost of college, you assume that everyone lives in a good public school district. If you don't (and many do not) there are added costs for private school. And even still, preschool is not free. Starting in the fall, I'll be paying $320 a month for my youngest daughter to go to preschool. We do live in a good school district, so elementary school and beyond are "free" for us, but there are added costs there too. The cost to register alone is $215. I just paid for my 2nd grader's 2013/2014 year. Our school also charges an extra $250 for bus service. I choose to drive my girls to school, but not everyone can do that. During the school year there are field trips, teacher gifts, book fairs, birthday parties. None of that is free. Plus once they get into middle school, there's the cost of text books, the cost of extracurriculars, etc. We've been warned by parents in our neighborhood with teens that the cost of the public highschool is over $800 just to sign up and get your books. Yikes! So much for "free" high school. BTW, once they start driving, get ready for the added cost to insure them on your insurance plan. Teenage drivers are not cheap to insure that's for sure! Speaking of insurance, there's also life insurance. Right now my husband and I are paying $300 a month for life insurance on both of us. This is only because we have children. Believe me, if it were just my husband and I, we would not bother with this type of insurance. If one of us died, the other could easily handle ourselves financially. With kids, that's a different story. They need to be protected and financially secure, so life insurance is in order.

If your friends both work, then who will take care of baby when it arrives? You say your friend will keep working when baby comes. Well unless they have family in the area willing to be the daycare for free, then they will have to pay for a nanny or daycare - very expensive. This is tens of thousands of dollars a year. You can take that right off their current bottom line.

You may not notice some other costs creeping in but they are there. I have 2 kids and I drive them to a lot of places. That is extra gas expense, which right now ain't cheap either. Food, yes, especially if we ever decide to dine out with the girls. That's 2 extra people we're paying for to eat. Also bigger ticket stuff - travel, that's 2 added plane tickets. We went to Puerto Rico for spring break and it cost us an extra $1,000 just for the two children to fly, let alone souveniers, food, etc. on the trip. Before kids, that $$ would have paid for an added weekend trip for us alone. Again, this is a lifestyle choice I know and not everyone will spend money on vacations. But if you are a person who likes to travel (and we are) you need to consider that in your cost of living. My husband and I used to travel frequently before kids. Now we can only afford one trip a year and sometimes those are not even doable. This year was a good year.

If you ever like to go out to dinner alone, again a lifestyle choice, but now it will cost you $50 just to get out the door because you need a babysitter.

I honestly could go on. But in short, think about everything you spend on yourself to live and multiply that out for every extra person you add to your family. Doctor visits? Co-pay per person. If they need medicine, there's that too. Milk? Now has to serve 4 people (for us) not just 2. Clothing? There's only so many hand-me-downs to get you by. Shoes? Ugh, their feet grow out of shoes sometimes faster than I can buy them. School? It's never "free". How about furniture? The children have to sleep somewhere. Even if your friend can get a used crib from another friend, what happens when they're ready for a big bed? And a mattress? And linens? Ok, I have to stop myself or I will turn this reply into a gothic novel.

Bottom line, you are way underestimating the cost of having children. Maybe your babies are still super little and you are not thinking about them as they grow into people. If that's the case, I am afraid you are in for a rude awakening my friend...because they only cost more money the older that they get.

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answers from Salinas on

250K seems low to me. Read Bug's answer. When we had kids we wanted them to live the life she's describing with all the opportunities and extras we enjoyed in our own chilhood. They aren't necessary but you'll find most everyone WANTS to give these things to their kids.

Babies have a way of growing up both in size and cost.

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answers from Williamsport on

I don't get the whole "let's do a spread sheet and figure out if we can afford a baby" mentality personally. I'm like you. I figure babies have been getting born since the beginning of time and people make due. The best and most successful kids often come from large, poor families and put THEMSELVES through school and get out and work at 18. We are not rich, but we don't get any aid either, we just budget and live modestly and pay for three kids without much stress aside from health care issue, but that has always been a struggle as working Americans with no health has not gotten worse with kids. Your friends have health insurance I presume, so they don't have to sweat ANY child birth costs. They can have a three headed baby who goes into intensive care for a year and I'm guessing their insurance would cover's the dilemma?

We PAID for three child births out of pocket on one low salary by moving to a cheap location. It took years to pay off those deliveries, and now we're debt free and looking into some minimal coverage while paying for every little appointment for ear infections or stitches...your friends don't even have to do that. Cushy child delivery:check. Medical expenses: check. What's their stress exactly? Food? Clothes? Doesn't sound like it. Start up costs? PUH-Leez I just finished donating the last of the PILES of free baby gifts I never used. We didn't have to buy strollers, cribs, baby carriers, clothes, ANYTHING we got so many gifts.

I'm sorry, but people living in an expensive location with big career plans and big entertainment budgets who just can't fathom how to pay for a baby.....probably don't need a baby to be honest. But if they just took a human "leap into the unknown" I'm sure they'd be fine. And at their ages, they should really decide. They already may be looking at added costs for fertilization. I mean sure, if they want the kid in private school from preschool through college and a posh college fund and every activity in between...they may have to do some "sacrificing". But they don't HAVE to do any of that.

My kids are now in some lessons. If we had to, we'd pull them. I homeschool. I don't know. They just don't cost much in general yet and I'm not planning on handing them every expensive opportunity and object in the future either.

How much kids cost depends WILDLY on the beliefs of the parents. We are able to travel and have fun and do activities and visit family and get treats and have presents on's just not excessive. I was raised the same way and was very happy until I became self-reliant at 18. Every week we have fun at the library, the parks, friend's houses, cheap ice cream stand...these things just don't cost a lot. Shopping has never been a family outing and they've never gotten used to "getting" stuff even though they do have everything they need.

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answers from San Francisco on

I agree that while they are newborns, it's not much. But think of birthday parties, christmas, school costs (supplies/clothes/pictures/fund raisers/teacher gifts), clothing (gets much more expensive as they get older), toys/electronics (much more expensive as they get older), junior proms, senior activities, hair cuts, medical and dental expenses (insurance premiums, out-of-pocket). The list goes on. So, yeah, they get much more expensive as they get older!

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answers from Washington DC on

Free to get and a fortune to raise! Kidding... kind of.

Certainly first kids are more expensive than the ones that follow, not only because you already have baby stuff, but you've also already adjusted the infrastructure of your family life to accommodate kids, so you don't have to do that AGAIN for the next kid.

I know you don't see yourself as spending much on kids, but it sounds like you stay home and mother full time. It doesn't feel expensive that way because your life is already set up for that, but it "costs" whatever you would have made working full time and aren't... but then that is a cost for your FIRST but not the others because you're already home.

Since they need both incomes (and actually they may not once they look at the cost benefit of childcare vs staying home and doing some amount of freelance work), there is the cost of childcare. $1000-1200 a month for infants was standard seven years ago five or six years ago. If they're right in SF, probably closer to $2000 these days... so there's $24,000 in the first year for childcare. It isn't the cost of the STUFF that makes kids expensive, so while it's helpful to get stuff from friends, those one time expenses probably aren't what her husband is worried about. If their rental is tiny (and probably is for $2200 a month in the Bay), they may want to move to someplace bigger... either raising this monthly cost or moving further out from the City and adding to commute time, transportation costs, and possibly childcare.

They should probably count on about another $25-30,000 per year for the first 4-5 years, and continuing that through age 18 if they aren't living someplace they feel comfortable with the public schools... so yeah, $250,000 doesn't sound like it includes college funds!

All that being said... you just make it work. Middle class people have kids all the time without saving-up first. You do what you can afford and you find ways around the rest. If they want a baby they'll have one. If they don't, no amount of budgeting will get them there.


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answers from New York on

How much do kids really cost? They are UNQUANTIFIABLE!!!!! It depends on kid (s) and the parents. What lifestyle are the parents accustomed to and want to maintain? What do they want for their kids?
Can you set aside for special needs? Private school vs. public school? College or no college?

I seriously don't think you can nickel and dime a child, or spreadsheet one for that fact. There are too many variables. Sometimes you can be frugal and not be paid well to begin with and that still doesn't matter. Sometimes you can make a lot of money and get laid off.

Again, there are variables.

The one constant is love and second behind that is living within your means, and even better, saving.

Just today I listened with envy to moms talking about their second and even third. I know I can't afford another, given the fact that I have never been paid well, lived frugally and am trying so darned hard to get out of unemployment.

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answers from Wausau on

My first born was more expensive than my second (less than 2 years apart) because I had to buy a crib and other baby gear. Professional grade breast pump. Bottles and formula. Diapers. Clothes. Toys. The second born needed his own carseat(s). I bought a sling for him. A double stroller. A second Boppy when the first wore out.

Now that they are school aged...that is where the major costs start to come in. Clothes skyrocket in price when you're out of the little kids department, and I don't even mean brand names. Just basics. With boys, the hand me downs get less frequent because they wear things out. School costs add up, even in public school. I kept track of school-related costs this year and it was over $1000. That doesn't include extracurricular stuff.

Our insurance and medical costs are higher. With two boys in the tween age, grocery costs shoot up. These are just some things that pop in my mind.

In your friend's case, she's going to have childcare costs. One of the reasons I'm a SAHM is that it wouldn't have been financially worth continuing my job after paying for daycare.

The main issue here is that your friend's husband doesn't actually want kids. The money is a concern, but mostly a handy excuse. She should not have babies with this man unless she wants to be a single mom. She probably shouldn't have married someone with such a different life outlook in the first place.

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answers from Dallas on

When you figure baby costs, that's not the cost of a teenager.
Sure a baby, if healthy, does not cost much but things start adding up down the road. IF HEALTHY. Health care alone is going to skyrocket.

You have no guarantees of all things going well. In fact, you have a guarantee of things not going as planned.

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answers from Dallas on

Kids cost a LOT! You also change your lifestyle in order to be a good parent.

Our daughter just graduated from high school. We started saving for her college before she was born. We project college alone at $250,000 for 4 yrs at SMU ( not including scholarships) This does not include grad school. We feel its our obligation as parents to getnhernout of college debt free.

That # is aside from everything else which is health care, car, insurance, education through grade 12 which includes laptops, etc,

We do eat out a lot. We live debt free and have taught our daughter that debt is evil. Live below your means and practice delayed gratification.

At the same time, it's vital to prepare for your own retirement.

We have sacrificed a lot but we also are fortunate and live a good life thanks to our dedication, attention to numbers, planning and forecasting. That said, we are numbers people and plan a lot.

If we didn't plan like we do, we'd never be running a successful business and be able to cover daughters education, our retirement and the basic expenses if raising a child.

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answers from San Francisco on

The cost is negligible if you never go out and do anything. As soon as you step outside your front door, your wallet will vomit. You don't HAVE to buy special baby shampoo, baby food, baby this or baby that. I washed my kid with the same soap I wash myself with and fed her with the same things I eat, just blended up so she wouldn't choke. She's turned out fine. You don't HAVE to sign your kid up for expensive pre-school. I gave my daughter her beginning education at home before she started kindergarten at the public school and every report card sent home says "works well above her peers academically." It also says "Talks too much and fails to raise her hand." mostly because at home I indulge her and answer all her questions, no matter how silly or how frequently they come. She needs to learn that at school, she can't just ask random questions whenever they pop into her mind because it's a disturbance in a group environment. Anyhow...

Yea, if you want to live that kind of life, paying for a family of three isn't much more than paying for a family of two.

But kids WANT things. And they grow out of clothing and shoes FAST. Those sneakers you just bought seemingly yesterday? Yea. They don't fit anymore. (I've still got shoes I wore a decade ago... that saves ME money, but with a kid? Can't do that. Must spend money.)

I don't think you can put a hard fixed price on any one kid. My kid will most likely have much less spend on her than many of your kids, mostly because we don't have the money to spend. We do without.

If your friends are living paycheck to paycheck and just covering themselves with nothing left over, then having a kid will be a major hardship. If they live paycheck to paycheck but spend all their money going out and doing things rather than saving, then they'll have to give up some of their activities in favor of paying for what the kid needs. Can't really put a number on it.

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answers from Washington DC on

It depends. If someone is like you, then it's just what you choose to put into things like college (not mandatory, but we are saving for DD's future, too). Your kid can wear all expensive clothes or all thrift store clothes. Your kid can attend a public or private school.

I think the bottom line is, can you afford diapers (of any kind), daycare (if both parents work) and additional food down the road? If so, then go for it.

But you can't put a sticker on a kid like a car. My sks both needed braces. DD may need glasses. Someone else's kid may get asthma. You have to be willing to be somewhat flexible.

If there are already "lots of issues" then she made a poor choice in marrying this guy if she really wants a kid. I feel for her. But time is ticking for her. And she may need IUI, IVF or something. Will he really be on board for all of it? I don't think he wants a kid. He had the vasectomy in his 20s and now it may not even be able to be reversed (and reversal comes at a cost, too).

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answers from Cleveland on

You're arguing and I'm not sure why. There is no one answer to this question. After very basics, it's up to the parents what they think is a necessity or impt. What you're really arguing is that what many parents spend on is a total waste of money. And that's just your opinion. Most of this topic is opinion and personal preferences. So you can't decide this for your friends husband...

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answers from Houston on

Whatever they cost, it sure seems like these two can afford them! I really never noticed an increase in cost till my oldest started sports and now swim lessons etc and now shopping for five, the grocery bill has gone up, but we just got an Aldi right in my neighborhood, hallelujah!! Love that place. I am so with you, a night of dancing and drinks is easily $80, depending on how much you drink, type if drinks etc. more if you have to call a cab at the end of the night. He just sounds like a big ol' baby himself ;)

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answers from Miami on

Your friend has a career. She cannot continue her career without spending money to have someone take care of the baby unless she has someone do it for free. Paying for daycare takes a chunk of money out of their monthly earnings. Health care insurance premiums usually increase when you have kids. As many doctor appointments as they have, even after making your deductible, that's certainly some outgoing expense! (Not even counting the expense of pregnancy and birth...) You're lucky if none of your kids have had tonsillectomies, ear tubes, dental work. (Both my kids had extra teeth that had to be removed, good grief. And one of mine had hardly any enamel in 4 baby molars which made it so he had a lot of fillings in those particular teeth.) Even with insurance, this adds up.

Perhaps you won't opt to put your kids in organized sports like t-ball, soccer, swimming, gymnastics, etc, and that's certainly your choice. But a lot of parents feel that their kids' lives are enhanced a great deal by doing this. These all cost money. The gas for schlepping kids to these activities adds up too.

The older kids get, the more expensive any extras cost. You'll want to take them to museums, zoos, do field trip type things for their homeschooling education. These cost money. When it gets to the point that you need extra help in teaching them, and you will, this is an expense. Some parents send their kids to summer camps when they are older. That costs a butt-load of money. To those of us who do this, we feel that it's very worth it.

Your friends may stop eating out and dancing, but baby furniture, baby clothes, all the accoutrements of a 41 year old professional woman who is desperate for a baby is NOT going to go bare bones. Even without college, children cost a lot of money. If money is all her husband can think of, then I feel sorry for her because having children is not about money. Perhaps she and her husband should go to counseling and talk this through before she gets any older.

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answers from Chicago on

That number ($250k) sounds astronomical. What kind of lives are they expecting those kids to have? My parents raised 5 children on roughly $80k/yr, and all of us went to a private school from K-12. We didn't have college funds--we had to get scholarships, grants and loans for college. We didn't take big vacations--going camping was our form of vacation. We didn't do expensive sports like hockey, we did softball and baseball at the local rec center and at our school. I never for a single day of my life felt like I was deprived of anything a child needs to be happy.

The cost of having kids truly is marginal, but if she can get hand-me-downs from friends or family, it isn't a huge expense to have a baby. I have never produced enough to breastfeed, so we do have to shell out around $200/mo for formula. But that's just for 1 year.

Is their Bay Area apartment 1 or 2 bedrooms? I don't think they need more than 2. My SIL lived in San Carlo for 4 years, in a 2 bedroom townhome with her husband and their twins. It is very feasible.

Costs only shift, though, if the couple wants them to. There must be a clear effort to prioritize.

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answers from Houston on

When I lived around family--they were such "champagne-mind, beer pocketbook people" that I felt I should try to keep up witih them--the RIGHT clothes the RIGHT shoes, the RIGHT purses...

When I moved out of state and chose different friends, I was able to shop thrift and not worry about how people viewed me and my son.

Change your surroundings and circle and you may actually save money and sanity.

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answers from Portland on

I totally agree with you. I feel the same way. I was fortunate to have all of our baby gear either gifted or donated to us after friends were done with it. They do put a little more pressure on the budget when they are older, I just got the 7k orthodontist estimate for 3 years worth of braces for my oldest. But, in general, they aren't very expensive when they are young.

We've had 10 years of very limited expenses from them, since they are healthy and don't expect much. Their activities now are around $200 a month, because I have a sports lover and my daughter takes piano now. We only spend about $200 on clothes each year, since they don't need much and aren't that interested in clothes yet. I look for great deals and order online. Presents and parties for them are around $1500 for both kids total per year, which includes both birthdays, Christmas and Easter. Not too bad. They still don't seem to eat much, so our food bill isn't that bad. I know couples who spend more on food than our family of 4. I suppose we wouldn't have moved into this nicer neighborhood with great schools if we didn't have kids, so that is an added expense. But they are so worth it!!

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answers from Atlanta on

Didnt read the other comments but..mostly all of the people I know had unplanned pregnancies and couldnt afford kids. At least they thought they couldnt. Babies dont cost much when they are small. They arent charged to go places, baby clothes are cheap, milk is free and they dont need toys when they are small. The highest thing is child care. All that extra stuff like a crib, changing table, play pin, bouncers and swing is nice to have but they are not neccessities. When they are toddlers they start getting a little more expensive. But by the time they are toddlers/kids Im sure your friend will have figured out the budget and know how much she can and cannot afford. Kids are angels from heaven and yes they do change your life. Your friend is getting older and if she want a kid, HAVE ONE!

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answers from Denver on

My opinion is that one's cost of living barely has to increase when one has kids. I'd say we spend about 3K/year on parties, clothes, and school supplies. My kids wear hand-me-downs with no issues. My husband would say they have increased our food bill dramatically, but they haven't really - that's mostly him using them an excuse to buy and eat junk food.

ETA: I'm still bewildered (though familiar) with the refrain that kids are expensive. We spend 2-3K/year on vacation, but I did that before kids, so I consider it a wash. We just spend it on different things now - Kansas used to be the boring part of a drive east, now it's the Hayes Museum and a private zoo where you can feed the lemurs. Groceries are really a wash too - extra apples now vs. artisan cheese then.

We do Tae Kwon Do and soccer through our rec center, but that's less than $500/kid/year. Korean school is $150/kid/semester and we only do a semester (of Saturdays) each year. We do summer camp through our church and our local rec centers, so that's less than $500/year. Swim classes are about $100 through the reec center in summer. There are tons of free and inexpensive concerts, festivals, places to hike, bike.

I'd say we live a very rich life, but it doesn't cost a lot. We did buy a Wii and Xbox Kinect but without a doubt, my husband would have bought those whether we had kids or not, so I don't know - maybe a few hundred in kid friendly games, but we use those for years. We use a co-op preschool, so that's maybe 3K/year, so if I try to account for everything...I still can't begin to approach a # that strikes me as huge.

ETA2: I supposed if we had to do full time preschool, it would get steep, but we ran the #s and it didn't make sense for us to both work full time. And we are putting $ aside for college, but I paid for my college and earned scholarships - there's no law that college must be out of Mom and Dad's pocket, and it's not end of the world if it isn't. It's an upper middle class norm, sure, but that doesn't make it a necessity. Not being able to hand one's kids the world on a silver platter is hardly a reason not to have kids. But I agree, your friend is screwed. I can't come up with a number any bigger than about 12K/year if I am honest about what we would have spent if we hadn't had 'em - we just shifted the objects of our spending. It sounds more than your friends husband doesn't want to shift priorities more than anything else.

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answers from Detroit on

Not much. We also breastfeed and have EVERYTHING from the first kids. Maybe the first kid is a lot if you have to buy all new stuff. But, we spend a lot on food. Probably $1,500 a month. I prioritize that and it's mostly fresh fruit, veggies, milk and lean protein, organic a lot of the time.

I know kids don't NEED all the preschool, but we do hundreds a month on preschool and tons on summer camps. But they do benefit from it and enjoy it. Also it would be very difficult for me w/o those activities, already being stretched thin on multi-tasking (let alone have time for laundry!). But if we cut all activities and fun, new stuff (toys, cute shoes, etc), it would not cost a lot. I don't see why kids HAVE to cost a lot, but I know we spend a lot on them, though it's choice.

Also, mine cost less as they get older. Preschool isn't free but school is. Sports teams are cheap but early childhood specialty programs are not. Once they start school it's just school and sports, and even summer camp is free each day through our parks department...not a lot at all! It's preschool age we spend a ton on, and preschool summer camps. And the older ones only go to the Dr. once a year unless they get sick (rare). The little ones go more often.

I'm a big fan of organized sports. It's how they get exercise and learn being part of a team, and I've seen too many kids in my life who end up not getting into anything but videogames, not wanting to do anything or go anywhere. So we're running around to sports games but happily so!

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