Author Topic: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years  (Read 6857 times)

Fitzy1

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What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« on: September 29, 2017, 09:20:37 AM »
I figure that attempting to answer this question will be a lot like answering 'how long is a piece of string?' - but all the same:

What does it cost to raise a child on a yearly basis? Obviously some expenses will fade over time (diapers), and others will spring up (medically or hobby wise); approximately how much should I set aside for every year 1 through 18?

ixtap

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2017, 09:27:32 AM »
How long is your current string? I haven't seen any studies, but it seems more appropriate to think in terms of your current spending.

Do you live in a LCOL where child care costs are also low?
Can you wash your own cloth diapers?
How will you deal with extra curricular activities?
What do your vacations look like? How will kids change that?
Can you help them stand up to peer pressure or will you feel you are depriving your kids if they don't have the latest technology?
How do you feel about cord blood banking?

honeybbq

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2017, 11:20:35 AM »
The biggest one is child care. Depending on what your circumstances are and what cost of living environment you are in - this is the mostly highly variable IMO.

I live in a HCOLA, and have 2 FT working parents with no family around. Infant day care is around $2500/month, with it going down to about $1800/month at 5 years old. After care when they are in school is around $500-750/month.  When we were in a LCOLA, infant care was around $1000/month for some perspective.

Obviously if you have a SAHP, the calculations are a lot different figuring lots wages and retirement contributions, etc. Or if you have family nearby to watch kiddos.

Diapers, toys, food, that's all in the noise IMO and in my circumstance.

The other big thing is for kids is college. Are you going to pay? My goal is to save around 200k for their college. This is in a variety of savings vehicles to that if they don't need all the money I can reclaim some of it (some is in a 529).


Cranky

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2017, 11:31:48 AM »
A bazillion dollars, or nothing much, or anything in between.

In the beginning - daycare, diapers, and formula, or none of those.

Will you move to a bigger house/apartment?

Eventually it's school stuff, clothes, braces, activities.

Dave1442397

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2017, 12:07:42 PM »
We spent around $60k in total for childcare thru age 11, when we stopped needing it.

These days, we have karate at $175/mo (+ the occasional $50 for belt tests, etc), braces at $195/mo ($6k total), cello $20/mo, and then you have the usual clothes, food etc.

Fitzy1

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2017, 12:26:47 PM »
We live in a suburb of Massachusetts, so relatively HCOL compared to most other states. We avoid most of it by not buying frivolously, but we can't avoid property taxes at 5k annually. Moving isn't an option for another 30 years since her certification (teaching) is only valid in MA. I say 30 years since she wants the pension - which makes me the luckiest guy ever since it will amount to roughly 4k/mo after taxes in retirement - which is more than we (mostly) comfortably live on now if you take the mortgage payment out of the equation.

Question regarding cloth diapers got me distracted on a tangent wondering if I could run a local diaper service via private label diapers/alibaba, so thanks for that :)

Extra curricular activities, I'm in favor of. Really it's what the child shows an interest in - for me it was several sports and a failed attempt to play violin. My wife's major was Art Education, so if it's something creative I'm sure she'll take lead on it.

At present, we don't really vacation. But I'll want my child(ren) to have happy memories like I did growing up, which would be several camping trips to the Cape per Summer and trips to museums. Then again, my brother didn't like camping as much as I did, and wasn't at fond of museums..

For technology, they will have my hand-me-downs and otherwise it will be a Christmas/Birthday kind of thing. I was 16 before my family got cable, and 18 before my first cell phone - I feel I'm better for it. I'll probably provide them with a phone several generations behind 'current' - for the most part my iPhone 5s can do most of the important things the new one can do.

I hadn't even considered cord blood banking, and had to look it up. It's certainly something to consider.

Regarding child care for infant-5 years old; I'm actually shocked the rate is so high. I barely make more than that after taxes. My plan is to either quit my job and stay home with them (wife is top earner), or since I work remotely 4/5 days, try to make it work/see how long I can try to juggle both. Because my wife will collect her pension in retirement (not counting her 403b, nor social security, nor un-estimatable inheritance), I'm in the fortunate position of only having to plan for the 'now'.  If I find maintaining my job isn't tenable, I'll  try to start some sort of side hustle to help contribute.

Anyone here have experience trying to work from home with a child present?


ixtap

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2017, 12:43:29 PM »
Yes, look into it now, not when a salesperson is trying to guilt you into it while you are already distracted, nervous, and the mother has hormone issues.

StarBright

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2017, 01:06:03 PM »
I know a lot of my coworkers are shocked at the cost of daycare and at how much it costs to add new babies to the health plan (a couple hundred bucks at my place of employment). And I really think those are the biggest expenses that are usually unavoidable.

Other than that you can keep everything as cheap as you want (though the braces as mentioned by Dave below are a good consideration).

I'd say 1500-1800 a month in their earlier years (unless you are in a very HCOL area) and that tapers off to 600-800 during the elementary years (if you need after care), and then it is up to you how much you want to spend on activities, etc.

slappy

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2017, 01:25:31 PM »
Most employers that I am aware of require you to have childcare when working from home.

slappy

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2017, 01:27:50 PM »
I know a lot of my coworkers are shocked at the cost of daycare and at how much it costs to add new babies to the health plan (a couple hundred bucks at my place of employment). And I really think those are the biggest expenses that are usually unavoidable.



This always shocks me. When couples are in the process of planning/trying to have a baby, how is it that looking into the cost of childcare never comes up?   (Yes, I know, sometimes pregnancies aren't planned.) 

MrsDinero

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2017, 01:32:28 PM »

Anyone here have experience trying to work from home with a child present?

It all depends on what kind of work you are planning to do.  If it is flexible hours and not meeting with clients then working from home with kids is possible.  If you have to meet with people on conference calls or have rigid hours then it probably won't work.

My husband and I both work from home. I'm 100% and he is 50/50 WFH and travel.  We have a nanny in the house M-F 9am-5pm, because my husband and I both have conference calls with customers or other work things going on.   It would be impossible for both of us to keep our job and try to care for the babies at the same time. 

TrMama

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2017, 01:58:50 PM »
Diapers are the least of the costs. I'd be thrilled if my one of my kid costs were as cheap as what diapers cost.

Think groceries for someone who eats 150% of what an adult eats. That stage lasts 10 years. Childcare is tens of thousands a year. Braces are $5-8K. Adult size shoes are $90 every few months when they either grow or the weather changes. The high sticker price is because said proto adult inherited her parents freakishly wide feet and only fits specific brands. Medical care for a whole other person. Eyeglasses for someone who's clumsy (and growing!). A whole new wardrobe every 12 months (if you live somewhere without seasons). If you have seasons, you get to buy new clothes every 6 months.

Seriously, I love my kids. They're my whole world. This means my string is very long and I wouldn't have it any other way. Again this winter I'll spend a small fortune so I can show my not-so-little-ones the joys of floating down a snow covered mountain with sticks strapped to their feet.

Mint tells me I spend $6800 on "kids" annually. However, that doesn't include the bigger house, the bigger car (and more driving), clothes, medical, extra groceries, extra utilities, the vacations we took because we love showing them new places, etc.


Fitzy1

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2017, 02:05:40 PM »
Thank you all for the feedback - looks like I have some more saving to do as I didn't anticipate health insurance being so expensive; although in retrospect, of course it is.

At present, I net $100 per month more than childcare costs, so I'd rather take the $100/mo hit and stay at home myself, figuring out how to recoup the opportunity cost. I admit I could make things work if I flexed my stoic muscle - working weekends or nights, pretty much the opposite schedule of my wife - but I also know myself well enough to know that it would make me miserable; taking odd hours for approximately half of what I currently earn.

FLBiker

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2017, 02:21:54 PM »
For us, DW stayed home for the first 2+ years, which meant a "cost" of her salary (minus the 3 months paid leave).  That would be ~$60K of lost wages, offset somewhat by the lack of childcare expenses.

Now, DD is in daycare and DW is back to work.  For us (LCOL), daycare is $750. We're very lucky -- even in our area that's low, but our university has a great "teaching" daycare on campus.  And health insurance doesn't cost any more for us with her.  Again, we're very lucky -- as a married couple both of whom work for the state, our family health insurance plan cost is $30 per month (the same as our couple plan did).

In terms of other stuff, we did cloth diapering (now we're doing pull-ups, because that's what the daycare requires) so that was some initial outlay, but we got virtually all of them second hand.  DW also breastfed (still does, in fact).  We spent a tiny bit on formula to supplement when DD wasn't gaining enough, but that's it.  Now, we're starting to notice her in our food budget. :)

We intend to do public school, and depending on what we're doing with our jobs, that might mean some aftercare, but I believe it would be in the $50-100 range.  And we plan to be quite modest in club / sport / activity participation (more for scheduling than for financial reasons).

In terms of vacations, our budget will go up a bit, but we already tended to do a lot of hiking / camping (or renting cabins).  We'll continue doing that.  If we fly, we need an extra ticket, but so far we've always used miles.  With one kid, we intend to get one hotel room when we stay in hotels.

Laserjet3051

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2017, 09:33:39 AM »
Surpised noone has linked the USDA calculator for the annual cost of raising a child (which varies by age), but the US gov't calculated (for my location) that an new infant would cost on average $26,251 per year.

Calculator at: https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/tools/crc_calculator/



MrsWolfeRN

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2017, 10:00:36 AM »
Surpised noone has linked the USDA calculator for the annual cost of raising a child (which varies by age), but the US gov't calculated (for my location) that an new infant would cost on average $26,251 per year.

Calculator at: https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/tools/crc_calculator/

That calculator is crazy. It underestimates childcare by at least 2/3, and overestimates everything else. For example, I do not pay any more for housing or transportation since I had my child, and my insurance costs the same for a family plan whether I add one child or 20. And why would the costs change with income?

Laserjet3051

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2017, 10:28:58 AM »
Surpised noone has linked the USDA calculator for the annual cost of raising a child (which varies by age), but the US gov't calculated (for my location) that an new infant would cost on average $26,251 per year.

Calculator at: https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/tools/crc_calculator/

That calculator is crazy. It underestimates childcare by at least 2/3, and overestimates everything else. For example, I do not pay any more for housing or transportation since I had my child, and my insurance costs the same for a family plan whether I add one child or 20. And why would the costs change with income?

You should read the underlying detailed methodology behind that calculator, things will make a lot more sense to you. That said, no calculator can pinpoint exact costs for an individual family, so YMMV. Regarding housing, the assumption is that a new human body will take up space in a house, that space requirement increasing with age, until a plateau is reached. In my case, for example, which is consistent with their housing cost modeling, my two daughters do not sleep in the same bedroom with my wife and myself, that would make sex very difficult. Rather they have their own bedrooms, and those bedrooms come at a very expensive premium here in socal, which the calculator does capture.

Regarding childcare, I think regional average estimates (such as this calculator likely uses) will radically underestimate those costs if you live in a HCOL area. But once one understands the methodology and underlying assumptions of the calculator, one can tweak the USDAs estmates to fit their own circumstances with more precision in estimating costs. And finally, these calculators are for the average individual, not the mustachian person, so again, calculator results should be adjusted accordingly.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2017, 10:32:37 AM by Laserjet3051 »

Dave1442397

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2017, 10:57:55 AM »
Anyone here have experience trying to work from home with a child present?

I work from home almost all the time (I went to the office once in September). Last summer was the first time my daughter didn't go to summer camp (she was done with it at eleven years old), so she was home with me all the time. It wasn't a problem at all. If I had a conference call, I let her know not to come into the den when the door was closed. If she had friends over, they would take care of themselves, part from me making lunch for them, etc.

Obviously, little kids are a whole different story and need much more attention.

LadyMaWhiskers

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2017, 02:38:55 PM »
I have worked from home since my son was born. I've had full-time care for him throughout - a nanny, my mother, now preschool at age 2,9. There's no way I could do my job without someone else taking care of him, and for most of the time he's actually had to be taken elsewhere to keep the peace.

A full time nanny cost me $3500/month in Northern California. Some months more. Now that he's in preschool, it's $2000/month, and my mom watches him 3pm until 5 or 6.

I'm a high earner in a HCOL area, so the following is not universal, but it echos a similar poster above. Everything apart from childcare is noise, in the early years. You DO NOT need to spend much on clothes, shoes, gear, toys for baby or tot. Everyone around you will be trying to get rid of their baby junk. They don't eat too much until they get big too. Medical insurance premium increase is material. Look that up for your own situation.

I can't comment from experience on the older years, but I think college savings and potentially private school would be the biggies.

Dave1442397

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2017, 04:56:41 PM »
You DO NOT need to spend much on clothes, shoes, gear, toys for baby or tot.

So true. I looked on Craigslist and found a local woman who was moving and wanted to get rid of all her baby stuff in one lot. I think I paid around $250 for enough stuff to fill the cargo space of a Honda CR-V with the rear seats folded down. Between that and gifts, I don't think we bought anything but baby bottles, food, and diapers for the first few years.

Prairie Stash

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2017, 02:51:29 PM »
How long is your current string? I haven't seen any studies, but it seems more appropriate to think in terms of your current spending.

https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/01/13/cost-raising-child

Here is the most common study. It outlines all the normal variables and then some with the average cost people spend. It notes that people who earn more tend to spend more. People with more kids spend less per kid. I find it helps identify all the hidden costs.

I'm well below average in spending, remember an average doesn't mean everyone spends this much.

ixtap

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2017, 02:58:15 PM »
How long is your current string? I haven't seen any studies, but it seems more appropriate to think in terms of your current spending.

https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/01/13/cost-raising-child

Here is the most common study. It outlines all the normal variables and then some with the average cost people spend. It notes that people who earn more tend to spend more. People with more kids spend less per kid. I find it helps identify all the hidden costs.

I'm well below average in spending, remember an average doesn't mean everyone spends this much.

Yes, but as mustachians, we also know that there need not be a direct relationship between income and spending.

StarBright

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2017, 07:18:02 PM »
How long is your current string? I haven't seen any studies, but it seems more appropriate to think in terms of your current spending.

https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/01/13/cost-raising-child

Here is the most common study. It outlines all the normal variables and then some with the average cost people spend. It notes that people who earn more tend to spend more. People with more kids spend less per kid. I find it helps identify all the hidden costs.

I'm well below average in spending, remember an average doesn't mean everyone spends this much.

Yes, but as mustachians, we also know that there need not be a direct relationship between income and spending.

ixtap - fwiw, don't forget that sometimes there is a direct relationship between income and spending when it comes to child-related things. Our daycare, elementary school, summer programs and ymca all have costs on a sliding scale. So the more you make, the more you pay.

I'm generally okay with this because I believe in equal opportunities for children - but it does make it hard to minimize costs when they are based on your gross income.

farfromfire

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2017, 01:47:08 AM »
The biggest one is child care. Depending on what your circumstances are and what cost of living environment you are in - this is the mostly highly variable IMO.

I live in a HCOLA, and have 2 FT working parents with no family around. Infant day care is around $2500/month, with it going down to about $1800/month at 5 years old. After care when they are in school is around $500-750/month.  When we were in a LCOLA, infant care was around $1000/month for some perspective.
Are all daycares in your area this expensive? Or was this one chosen because it is better in some way?

libertarian4321

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2017, 03:06:44 AM »
Too damned much.

Get a dog.  Or two or three.  It's cheaper, and if you put them in a crate, you won't be arrested by Child Protective Services (or whatever your state calls the storm troopers who enforce the government approved version of child care).

- Happily Child Free

SnackDog

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2017, 04:00:14 AM »
A friend at work has three kids in private middle school in the US which costs him around $80,000/year.  He has that to look forward to for a quite a few years, then they will all start college.  I think he's nuts!

slappy

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2017, 06:11:06 AM »
Too damned much.

Get a dog.  Or two or three.  It's cheaper, and if you put them in a crate, you won't be arrested by Child Protective Services (or whatever your state calls the storm troopers who enforce the government approved version of child care).

- Happily Child Free

hahahaha. my kids love to play in the dogs crate. if I ever took a pic and posted it on facebook, the government storm troopers would probably come after me!

SimpleCycle

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2017, 07:47:43 AM »
Big costs: Childcare, which is in the $1800-$2300/month range for a center in my city, and around $1600/month for an in home.

Extra living space - we could live in a 1 br if we didn't have kids.

Health insurance - mine is about $120/month to insure 2 kids.

Those are the big ones that are harder to control.  All the other expenses are amenable to minimalism and cost cutting measures.

dcozad999

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2017, 10:04:54 AM »
Wow. That calculator seriously underestimates childcare.

For a one-year old in the midwest it puts childcare at $4,950 annually.  Now I live in a pretty LCOL area, and I pay around $140/week for an at home sitter.  I consider that pretty good and that's still over $2k more per month than the calculator estimates.


Prairie Stash

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2017, 12:19:24 PM »
Wow. That calculator seriously underestimates childcare.

For a one-year old in the midwest it puts childcare at $4,950 annually.  Now I live in a pretty LCOL area, and I pay around $140/week for an at home sitter.  I consider that pretty good and that's still over $2k more per month than the calculator estimates.
Please remember AVERAGE cost is not the same as your cost. If one family pays $0, the next $10,000, then the average is $5000. Expecting it to match your costs is weird, what about SAHP?

honeybbq

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2017, 09:19:49 AM »
The biggest one is child care. Depending on what your circumstances are and what cost of living environment you are in - this is the mostly highly variable IMO.

I live in a HCOLA, and have 2 FT working parents with no family around. Infant day care is around $2500/month, with it going down to about $1800/month at 5 years old. After care when they are in school is around $500-750/month.  When we were in a LCOLA, infant care was around $1000/month for some perspective.
Are all daycares in your area this expensive? Or was this one chosen because it is better in some way?

The centers, yes. You might get a slightly better price at an in-home/private place but all the chains (kindercare, bright horizons, etc) are at that price point. At least in the Seattle metro area. If you are in the 'burbs it's probably better.

slappy

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #31 on: October 04, 2017, 09:40:38 AM »
The biggest one is child care. Depending on what your circumstances are and what cost of living environment you are in - this is the mostly highly variable IMO.

I live in a HCOLA, and have 2 FT working parents with no family around. Infant day care is around $2500/month, with it going down to about $1800/month at 5 years old. After care when they are in school is around $500-750/month.  When we were in a LCOLA, infant care was around $1000/month for some perspective.
Are all daycares in your area this expensive? Or was this one chosen because it is better in some way?

The centers, yes. You might get a slightly better price at an in-home/private place but all the chains (kindercare, bright horizons, etc) are at that price point. At least in the Seattle metro area. If you are in the 'burbs it's probably better.

When my son was an infant (two years ago), infant care ranged from 200-350 per week (kindercare and bright horizons are the high end), depending on the center. In home care was $120-$175 range.  We went with a center with a great reputation for $200 a week. As great as this place supposedly is, we had nothing but trouble, and ultimately ended up with a SAHP.  It just didn't work for our kid and his personality.  He probably would have been better off in an in home center, but I was too scared to trust anyone.  Moral of the story: flexibility is key when it comes to kids.

chemistk

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #32 on: October 06, 2017, 05:43:10 AM »
If you don't go the childcare route, it's not too bad.

By my best estimate, our toddler has cost us somewhere in the ballpark of $3000 a year over top of what we would already be spending. That estimate is, of course, from age 1+.

Our newborn will cost us about $7000 out of pocket between now and age 1.

There is about $1000 extra that our toddler cost us when he was 0-12 (carseats, stroller, etc.) that I am not annualizing because these will be reused.

In 6 months, my best guess would be that our two children will have cost us an additional $14,000 over 3 years that we would not have spent otherwise.

This accounts for increases in healthcare premiums and OOP of costs, and factors in the tax benefits of having a child. These costs will go down for a while and then go back up when we get into school and the need for more food/clothes in the house.

dcozad999

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2017, 02:44:24 PM »
Wow. That calculator seriously underestimates childcare.

For a one-year old in the midwest it puts childcare at $4,950 annually.  Now I live in a pretty LCOL area, and I pay around $140/week for an at home sitter.  I consider that pretty good and that's still over $2k more per month than the calculator estimates.
Please remember AVERAGE cost is not the same as your cost. If one family pays $0, the next $10,000, then the average is $5000. Expecting it to match your costs is weird, what about SAHP?


Are you sure?  If I were going to talk about the average cost of childcare, then in my mind kids with SAHP wouldn't be included in the sample.

slappy

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2017, 03:27:25 PM »
Wow. That calculator seriously underestimates childcare.

For a one-year old in the midwest it puts childcare at $4,950 annually.  Now I live in a pretty LCOL area, and I pay around $140/week for an at home sitter.  I consider that pretty good and that's still over $2k more per month than the calculator estimates.
Please remember AVERAGE cost is not the same as your cost. If one family pays $0, the next $10,000, then the average is $5000. Expecting it to match your costs is weird, what about SAHP?


Are you sure?  If I were going to talk about the average cost of childcare, then in my mind kids with SAHP wouldn't be included in the sample.

Some families could achieve $0 but having the parents work opposite shifts or by having family care for the child. I think the $0 was just an example to prove a point anyway.

Also SAHP may not have not a fixed monthly bill to pay for childcare, but there is certainly a cost involved. (We have a SAHP)

farfromfire

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #35 on: October 07, 2017, 01:53:37 AM »
The biggest one is child care. Depending on what your circumstances are and what cost of living environment you are in - this is the mostly highly variable IMO.

I live in a HCOLA, and have 2 FT working parents with no family around. Infant day care is around $2500/month, with it going down to about $1800/month at 5 years old. After care when they are in school is around $500-750/month.  When we were in a LCOLA, infant care was around $1000/month for some perspective.
Are all daycares in your area this expensive? Or was this one chosen because it is better in some way?

The centers, yes. You might get a slightly better price at an in-home/private place but all the chains (kindercare, bright horizons, etc) are at that price point. At least in the Seattle metro area. If you are in the 'burbs it's probably better.
Coming from a country where daycares are subsidized by the government but perhaps less fancy than their US counterparts, could you help me understand what makes these "brand name" daycares worth the extra cost?

slappy

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #36 on: October 07, 2017, 06:07:36 AM »
The biggest one is child care. Depending on what your circumstances are and what cost of living environment you are in - this is the mostly highly variable IMO.

I live in a HCOLA, and have 2 FT working parents with no family around. Infant day care is around $2500/month, with it going down to about $1800/month at 5 years old. After care when they are in school is around $500-750/month.  When we were in a LCOLA, infant care was around $1000/month for some perspective.
Are all daycares in your area this expensive? Or was this one chosen because it is better in some way?

The centers, yes. You might get a slightly better price at an in-home/private place but all the chains (kindercare, bright horizons, etc) are at that price point. At least in the Seattle metro area. If you are in the 'burbs it's probably better.
Coming from a country where daycares are subsidized by the government but perhaps less fancy than their US counterparts, could you help me understand what makes these "brand name" daycares worth the extra cost?

Supposedly they have would better curriculum I guess. Possibly smaller staff:child ratio or more educated staff (requiring higher salary).  Some have cameras that allow the parents to watch the kids via live web cam.  I think itís just like any other education. What makes one school/college better than others?

farfromfire

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #37 on: October 07, 2017, 06:57:35 AM »
The biggest one is child care. Depending on what your circumstances are and what cost of living environment you are in - this is the mostly highly variable IMO.

I live in a HCOLA, and have 2 FT working parents with no family around. Infant day care is around $2500/month, with it going down to about $1800/month at 5 years old. After care when they are in school is around $500-750/month.  When we were in a LCOLA, infant care was around $1000/month for some perspective.
Are all daycares in your area this expensive? Or was this one chosen because it is better in some way?

The centers, yes. You might get a slightly better price at an in-home/private place but all the chains (kindercare, bright horizons, etc) are at that price point. At least in the Seattle metro area. If you are in the 'burbs it's probably better.
Coming from a country where daycares are subsidized by the government but perhaps less fancy than their US counterparts, could you help me understand what makes these "brand name" daycares worth the extra cost?

Supposedly they have would better curriculum I guess. Possibly smaller staff:child ratio or more educated staff (requiring higher salary).  Some have cameras that allow the parents to watch the kids via live web cam.  I think itís just like any other education. What makes one school/college better than others?
Supposedly you retain some of the knowledge and skills you develop in school (I recently heard that for some, high school science class is solving word puzzles). Two-year-olds don't need much of a curriculum, just relatively simple toys/books/coloring pages/etc and simple social skills. I have never even heard of a curriculum for daycare and live webcam sounds a tad obsessive and unhealthy - and isn't the whole point that I don't have to watch my kids?

slappy

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #38 on: October 07, 2017, 07:38:36 AM »
The biggest one is child care. Depending on what your circumstances are and what cost of living environment you are in - this is the mostly highly variable IMO.

I live in a HCOLA, and have 2 FT working parents with no family around. Infant day care is around $2500/month, with it going down to about $1800/month at 5 years old. After care when they are in school is around $500-750/month.  When we were in a LCOLA, infant care was around $1000/month for some perspective.
Are all daycares in your area this expensive? Or was this one chosen because it is better in some way?

The centers, yes. You might get a slightly better price at an in-home/private place but all the chains (kindercare, bright horizons, etc) are at that price point. At least in the Seattle metro area. If you are in the 'burbs it's probably better.
Coming from a country where daycares are subsidized by the government but perhaps less fancy than their US counterparts, could you help me understand what makes these "brand name" daycares worth the extra cost?

Supposedly they have would better curriculum I guess. Possibly smaller staff:child ratio or more educated staff (requiring higher salary).  Some have cameras that allow the parents to watch the kids via live web cam.  I think itís just like any other education. What makes one school/college better than others?
Supposedly you retain some of the knowledge and skills you develop in school (I recently heard that for some, high school science class is solving word puzzles). Two-year-olds don't need much of a curriculum, just relatively simple toys/books/coloring pages/etc and simple social skills. I have never even heard of a curriculum for daycare and live webcam sounds a tad obsessive and unhealthy - and isn't the whole point that I don't have to watch my kids?

Lol. I guess so. But we have had a couple of local stories of daycare workers hurting kids, so some parents get worried. Like I said, I never trusted an in home daycare.  Honestly, at this point Iím just thankful that I donít have to worry about daycares anymore. My son did recently start preschool two days a week at a cost of $140 a month, and itís been great for him.


StarBright

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #40 on: October 08, 2017, 11:57:11 AM »
The biggest one is child care. Depending on what your circumstances are and what cost of living environment you are in - this is the mostly highly variable IMO.

I live in a HCOLA, and have 2 FT working parents with no family around. Infant day care is around $2500/month, with it going down to about $1800/month at 5 years old. After care when they are in school is around $500-750/month.  When we were in a LCOLA, infant care was around $1000/month for some perspective.
Are all daycares in your area this expensive? Or was this one chosen because it is better in some way?

The centers, yes. You might get a slightly better price at an in-home/private place but all the chains (kindercare, bright horizons, etc) are at that price point. At least in the Seattle metro area. If you are in the 'burbs it's probably better.
Coming from a country where daycares are subsidized by the government but perhaps less fancy than their US counterparts, could you help me understand what makes these "brand name" daycares worth the extra cost?

From my experience touring daycares (both centers and homes) in two states, cheaper centers had higher ratios, more teacher turnover, usually had more religion and were more likely to have a TV going when I toured.

More expensive centers had pretty low ratios (my kids had 3 babies to 1 adult when they were in infant rooms), experienced teachers and actual childcare philosophies (Montessori, Reggio, Rei, etc). The more expensive centers have also had a food/meal "Curriculum" with a focus on healthy cooking, fruits and veggies and manners and learning about where food comes from (so they gardened in the summer, took field trips to farms, etc).

We started with a super nice center when my first child was born because it was the first one that had a spot open up on the waitlist and they welcomed me coming in to nurse on my lunch break. After that it was very hard to make a switch to a cheaper center.

Hula Hoop

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #41 on: October 08, 2017, 01:46:52 PM »
This thread makes me so happy that we live in a country with government subsidized childcare.  The fees are on a sliding scale according to income and very reasonable.  Teachers all had early childhood education degrees and seemed great.  Main downside was that it closed during the summer, like school, and they had pretty high student teacher ratios but these were pretty minor downsides.

I agree that extra costs are often dependent on income and social class.  I was talking to my sister this morning back in my home country and she was saying how now that she has 2 kids they need to buy a bigger house so that each kid has a bedroom.  Here where I live it's 100% normal for kids (even three kids and including teenagers of opposite sexes) to share rooms.  We actually have an extra bedroom but our 2 kids still share a room as this is the societal norm and all of their friends with siblings share.  When my husband was growing up his three sisters shared a bedroom and he had a tiny windowless room to himself since he was the only boy. 


Mikila

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #42 on: October 15, 2017, 05:43:36 PM »
How much you spend on children is a matter of choice.  Some people spend the big bucks, some don't.  As a point of reference, our two cost us a couple thousand a year each, including food.  We choose not to pay for private lessons.  Our kids are plenty well off (compared to the rest of the world) enjoying public schools and participating in band, school activities, etc.  Daycare was always unaffordable, and so we did not pay it.  We worked alternating shifts for those years when Mom worked.  There are plenty of free and cheap programs/ activities to choose from without having to pay for Karate or sports.

I know several people who put their kids in expensive travelling sports leagues in hopes of them earning a college scholarship.  It would be a much surer bet for them to save the money for their kid's college. 

When I was a kid, I knew a lot of other kids whose parents put them in gymnastics, sports, martial arts, ballet, etc.  How many of them grew up to make a living with it or still do it at all?  A small percentage, to be sure.  On the other hand, those years in school band which were nearly free taught me music appreciation and I still play.

historienne

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #43 on: October 16, 2017, 11:12:55 AM »

Coming from a country where daycares are subsidized by the government but perhaps less fancy than their US counterparts, could you help me understand what makes these "brand name" daycares worth the extra cost?

Supposedly they have would better curriculum I guess. Possibly smaller staff:child ratio or more educated staff (requiring higher salary).  Some have cameras that allow the parents to watch the kids via live web cam.  I think itís just like any other education. What makes one school/college better than others?

Staff with training in early childhood education & better staff ratios are most of it.  There is a pretty strong research base showing that stuff matters for long term learning outcomes.   It's not about remembering the specific things that they learn; it's about developing appropriate attachment patterns, resiliency, etc.  In later years (3-5 year olds), it's also about laying the foundation for literacy and math skills.  A good center will have lots of stuff that looks like play but is introducing kids to fundamental concepts.  A mediocre center will have either totally undirected play or worksheets/flashcards/etc.  A bad center will have so few staff that kids are getting hurt, or staff with "behavior management" skills that consist of yelling at kids or similar ineffective-to-traumatizing strategies.

ETA: we pay so much money for childcare.  So much.  But neither of us want to stay home, so it is what it is.  I am very glad that we can afford a good daycare center.  The price difference between our excellent center and a mediocre one is maybe $800/month (for two kids), and that is well worth it to us. 
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 11:14:59 AM by historienne »

asauer

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #44 on: October 16, 2017, 11:44:30 AM »

Anyone here have experience trying to work from home with a child present?

yes, from  0-4 months it sucks b/c they need to eat all. the. time.  As long as you're fine with doing some work here and there, it's ok.

From 6 months to 1.5 years it's fine.  the physical needs are more routine
From 1.5 to 3 years it really sucks again.  they need constant supervision/ redirection/ entertainment.  However, hiring a "parent helper"- a person to come in for a couple of hours per day and watch the toddler while you get critical work tasks done (calls etc).  It's affordable and doable

3-5 years- back to being a little easier.  Attention span goes up so you can do some work while they're playing or painting or whatever.  Still have to keep a close eye on them though.  Turn your back for a second and paint is all over your carpet.

slappy

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #45 on: October 16, 2017, 11:50:51 AM »

Coming from a country where daycares are subsidized by the government but perhaps less fancy than their US counterparts, could you help me understand what makes these "brand name" daycares worth the extra cost?

Supposedly they have would better curriculum I guess. Possibly smaller staff:child ratio or more educated staff (requiring higher salary).  Some have cameras that allow the parents to watch the kids via live web cam.  I think itís just like any other education. What makes one school/college better than others?

Staff with training in early childhood education & better staff ratios are most of it.  There is a pretty strong research base showing that stuff matters for long term learning outcomes.   It's not about remembering the specific things that they learn; it's about developing appropriate attachment patterns, resiliency, etc.  In later years (3-5 year olds), it's also about laying the foundation for literacy and math skills.  A good center will have lots of stuff that looks like play but is introducing kids to fundamental concepts.  A mediocre center will have either totally undirected play or worksheets/flashcards/etc.  A bad center will have so few staff that kids are getting hurt, or staff with "behavior management" skills that consist of yelling at kids or similar ineffective-to-traumatizing strategies.

ETA: we pay so much money for childcare.  So much.  But neither of us want to stay home, so it is what it is.  I am very glad that we can afford a good daycare center.  The price difference between our excellent center and a mediocre one is maybe $800/month (for two kids), and that is well worth it to us.

I absolutely agree with you! Early childhood is a critical time. However, I'm not sure the costs for each center are a direct representative of the quality. For example, the center we chose, supposedly one of the best in the area, was also one of the cheapest. There is another local center that is more expensive (only slightly, but still more expensive) and it has been in the news for teachers injuring children and other teachers not reporting it.  Some people also find real success with in home centers, which are supposed to be cheaper. I have learned that a lot depends on the kid and the parent. As I alluded to, it's the same conversation we have we discuss school districts.  A child with involved parents who have instilled a love of learning can still be successful at a "bad school".  My niece goes to daycare we chose for our son, and I see so many issues with her, because her parents think that daycare=parenting.

John123

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #46 on: October 18, 2017, 07:07:54 AM »
I figure that attempting to answer this question will be a lot like answering 'how long is a piece of string?' - but all the same:

What does it cost to raise a child on a yearly basis? Obviously some expenses will fade over time (diapers), and others will spring up (medically or hobby wise); approximately how much should I set aside for every year 1 through 18?

If you can afford it, one parent should stay home until the kids are at least in kindergarten.  So, count on one less income plus all the other costs of raising a kid.   It will delay FIRE, but you won't care (unless you're selfish). 
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 07:12:18 AM by John123 »

puzzlefighter

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #47 on: October 18, 2017, 08:17:13 AM »
I would estimate $285,000.

6k first year and +1k for each year after successively (i.e. 7k second, 8k third, etc). I have kids ages 2 and 7.

StarBright

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #48 on: October 18, 2017, 08:50:27 AM »
I know a lot of my coworkers are shocked at the cost of daycare and at how much it costs to add new babies to the health plan (a couple hundred bucks at my place of employment). And I really think those are the biggest expenses that are usually unavoidable.



This always shocks me. When couples are in the process of planning/trying to have a baby, how is it that looking into the cost of childcare never comes up?   (Yes, I know, sometimes pregnancies aren't planned.)

I think it is because when people do research they look at the online estimates and cost calculators and then think they will be able to find something cheaper. But the reality we found was that we went with the first acceptable place that had a spot for us.  We put ourselves on waitlists as soon as I was pregnant and there wasn't an opening until my infant was several months old. It is very hard to find infant childcare. So we ended up paying several hundred a month more than we had hoped/planned. I have at least two coworkers who found themselves in the same boat.

Also most centers do not publish their prices - we found we had to take a tour before anyone would give us prices so we relied heavily on "average" numbers when we were in the "discussing future children" phase.

historienne

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Re: What's the Financial Cost of a Child? Ages 0-18 years
« Reply #49 on: October 18, 2017, 11:37:22 AM »

If you can afford it, one parent should stay home until the kids are at least in kindergarten.  So, count on one less income plus all the other costs of raising a kid.   It will delay FIRE, but you won't care (unless you're selfish).

I'm not going to knock anyone else's choice to stay home, but no research finds major differences between high-quality childcare and a stay at home parent in child development outcomes (one study has found that kids in daycare are slightly less well behaved but also slightly more academically advanced, but both effects are small and neither has been consistently replicated in other work).   On the other hand, the *quality* of both daycare and parenting have been found to have important effects.

I don't want to turn this thread into a debate, but I do not think it is ok to shame other parents for their parenting decisions when there is no evidence-based reason to think that those choices are bad for the kids in question.

  Some people also find real success with in home centers, which are supposed to be cheaper. I have learned that a lot depends on the kid and the parent. As I alluded to, it's the same conversation we have we discuss school districts.  A child with involved parents who have instilled a love of learning can still be successful at a "bad school".  My niece goes to daycare we chose for our son, and I see so many issues with her, because her parents think that daycare=parenting.

Absolutely true that price doesn't guarantee quality, but in our area, there tends to be a strong relationship; the largest part of the cost of running a daycare center is staffing, so more and better-trained teachers = higher costs.  In home centers can be a great alternative, but around here they are even harder to get into than large centers, because of licensing requirements that limit the number of infants.  And of course, yes, quality of parenting is the strongest factor in most child outcomes.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 11:41:47 AM by historienne »