Having children is expensive. Parents say that, but not many talk about exactly how expensive it is. As usual, we asked around and we googled it for you.
In the US it looks like raising a child until he or she is 18 years old costs nearly 250.000$. Yep, that’s a quarter million and around 13.000$ a year – all this excluding University. In Europe the number is pretty similar, with Spain and Germany calculating an average between 7.000€ to 11.000€ a year, depending mostly on the family income.
Of course the costs of raising a child vary depending on which country do you live, how much economic support you receive in your State and also whether you live in an urban or rural area. The following list just tries to compile as much information as possible so when you (hopefully) do the math before getting children, you don’t forget a thing. Get the calculator ready, and try to keep breathing while you read.
If you are lucky to get pregnant in your first year trying, probably the biggest cost during your pregnancy will be some tests and medicines, which in some countries are covered by social security. But upon starting and as the months go by, some couples realise that sometimes it is not that easy to get pregnant. Some decide to go for fertility treatments (brace yourself for 10.000€ to 50.000€) and others to adopt their children (which can be 20.000€ to 40.000€ depending on which country you choose for your adoption process).
And things just got started.
This cost might appear in your bill if you happen to live in a country where health is mostly privatised. In the US it seems that is pretty hard to find out how much exactly the hospital services for a birth cost, as this video by Vox illustrates perfectly.
No matter where you live though, you should inform yourself on whether the hospital you are supposed to give birth in will charge you in any way. The bliss you’ll experience when holding your child will make everything else blurred, so ask in advance!
You might have been planning to have children for a while and maybe you already prepared a room for your baby. But some parents get so excited about the good news, they forget to figure out how to make room for their new born in their flat. Maybe during the first year you can manage to stay in your home without moving, but is that sustainable in the long run? Keep in mind your child will need his or her room eventually, and space to play indoors if the weather where you live is cold most part of the year.
Statistics show that day care for children keeps getting more and more expensive, in some places even more expensive than higher education. But it is not only the day care: in times where people work over 8 hours daily, some of them surpassing the 12 hours in the office, children need to be taken care of during this time. Meaning you will need to account for someone to drop and pick up the kid, apart from the normal day care hours, and then the cost of extra activities in the afternoons.
In countries like Spain, “kindergarden” ranges between 300€ to 500€ a month and the average activity is around 40€ – 60€. Check how are they priced in your country, and figure out how many days you’ll want to be covered with an afternoon activity. We bet at least twice a week, and that’s around 400€ monthly.
Having children will get your home messier and dirtier faster. So prepare yourself to clean a lot more or have your wallet ready to seek for help. Of course you can just let things be – we are here just to warn you, not to judge you.
Online cleaning services around Europe are priced between 15€-25€ an hour depending on the tasks you need to be covered.
If you want to keep yourself sane, you will probably need a couple of evenings for yourself a month. That’s what we consider the minimum, but probably you’ll need more than that. If you happen to have the support of your family, this won’t be an economical problem for you. But depends whether you live nearby or you can count on them to adapt to your needs, you will need to pay for getting a break.
Babysitters online in Europe list their price around 20€ per hour, and let’s say your night out lasts 3 hours. That’s 60€ without counting for the dinner, drinks or the movie tickets. Just saying.
Again, the health system your country offers will determine how much you should worry about this. But children spend heaps of time at the doctor’s or sick and the problem is that they will get you sick too much more often. So budget for more doctor visits and many more pharmacy sprees.
And with that we mean a car, a child special car seat, a bike seat and any accessories tied to that. Most parents we asked said they tried to stay away of buying a car or getting a car upgrade, but at some point they couldn’t dodge that anymore. If you prefer using public transportation, you won’t notice the extra cost in the first years, but they will come at some point.
It’s not like that there are no cheap offers to travel with kids these days, but your budget will increase every time you take a holiday. Not only because the group gets bigger, but also because you are subject to take your holidays when your kids are having holidays, meaning that you will probably book them exactly when other parents are booking them as well. The days of odd dates to fly or enjoy discounted hotels will be long gone.
Consider a week holiday for 3 an expense between 2.000€ to 3.000€.
This one depends mostly on how do you want to raise your children. Whether you don’t want to enter a consumerism loop with your kid or you are absolutely looking forward to get him or her all the toys you ever dreamt of having as a child.
No matter what’s your position in this topic, keep in mind that toys tied to birthdays and holidays, including video games, movies, entertainment and of course birthday parties will definitely make a dent in your economy. Don’t take our word for it!
We probably forgot some of the hidden costs of having a child, but we think this list covers most of the expenses parents face and not everyone is happy to talk about. Please point one any mistakes or other aspects you consider we should mention and research in the comments.
Our advice: if you know for sure you want children, start saving up. If you still don’t know, make sure you are mentally ready to invest so much of your income in your kids before you go for it. It will save you regrets in the future!
This article is based mostly on the experiences of our friends. But of course we also scoured the Internet. In case you need a more specific overview, here the list of the resources we used to write this article:
The true cost of having a child – Nerd Wallet
Cost of raising a child Calculator – USDA Calculator
Cost of raising a child – Wikipedia
The most surprising cost of raising my kid – CNN Money
The very popular radio program “La Ventana” covers the cost of having a child in Spain. Listen from minute 42. Spoiler: 7.000€ – 11.000€ on the first year, and the amount increases over the years.
Criar un hijo en España cuesta entre 5.000€ y 25.000€ – El Confidencial
Cuánto cuesta tener un hijo? – Noticias BBVA
Ein Kind kostet 126.000€ – WiWo
Was kostet ein Kid bis zum 18. Lebensjahr – Kindertipps
Was kostet ein Kind im Monat – Windel.de