The true cost of raising a child. I don't buy it.

A recent article on broke down the costs of raising a child to the age of 17. The magic number ended up being $245,000, which in my mind is a rather inflated number. (This number doesn’t include college education.)

You all know that I happily raise my kids on a $20,000 a year salary. They have a roof over their head, food in their bellies, clothes on their back, and lots and lots of love.

I thought it would be interesting to look at the breakdown of some of the numbers and see how they can be decreased.


the cost of raising a child

Housing – $73,500

I’ve got to be completely honest – I don’t understand how it would cost $73,500 in housing unless you lived in a one bedroom house before having children.

Let’s say for example you have a two bedroom home. If you have one kid, that child has his own bedroom. If you have two children the kids can share a bedroom (like mine do.)

Having children does not mean that you have to run out and buy a bigger home.

I can only see this $73,500 figure being accurate if you live in a very small home pre-child and then have more than two kids. Otherwise the housing costs are pure lifestyle inflation and in no way necessary.

And remember this study is for ONE child so it’s insinuating that you’re going to pay $73,500 extra in housing costs PER child. I just don’t buy it.

Food – $39,200

For every one child you have you’ll be spending $2,305 in food costs every year. That’s more than half of my total food budget for the year!

I can see this being kind of, sort of true for feeding a teenager, but to me the number is still inflated.

Transportation – $34,300

I’m not buying into this one either. $34,300 for transportation for ONE child? No, not unless you’re buying your kid a $30,000 car for his sixteenth birthday.

Clothing – $14,700

Sorry I had to stop and laugh out loud on this one. $14,700 over seventeen years is $865 per year. What?!

I don’t spend more than $200 per child per year on clothes and my kids are pretty well dressed. Try shopping sales, yard sales, and online thrift shops. You don’t need to spend $900 a year on your kid’s clothes.

Other Categories.

The other categories are Child Care and Education at 18%,, Healthcare at 8%, and Miscellaneous at 6%. While I still think those numbers are highly inflated they come off as a bit more realistic to me than the housing, clothing, and transportation categories.

What Do Kids Need?

These studies about “the cost of raising a child” are so inflated they make me laugh. The thing is they’re based off want parents want and feel obligated to give their children. It’s all lifestyle inflation. These studies are not necessarily the TRUE costs of raising a happy, healthy, and responsible child.

What do you think about these numbers? Spot on or far off?

About Alexa Mason

Alexa Mason has written 192 articles on this site..

Alexa Mason is a freelance writer and wanna be internet entrepreneur. She is also a newly single mom to two beautiful little girls. She chronicles her journey as a single mom trying to make it big at