Check the calculator: Raising a family can cost you about $12-14k per year, per child

We’ve all heard the stories about how much money it costs to raise a child to 18.

Depending on the survey you’re reading, the number is going to be about the same: around $250,000.  A quarter of a million dollars.  All to raise a child, clothe them, educate them, feed them, buy them electronics and other “necessary” gadgets.

The MoneySmart Family System: Teaching Financial Independence to Children of Every Age
The MoneySmart Family System:
Teaching Financial Independence to Children of Every Age

But we had to ask ourselves – that figure is based on raising a single child to 18 years old.

What if you have more than one child? Is there any benefit to having more than one child in reducing the cost in raising children?  One would think so – you only need to buy that one box of LEGOs, let the kids share as they grow up together!

That’s one of the benefits — calculating the cost of a multi-child family – that we see with the USDA’s CENTER FOR NUTRITION POLICY AND PROMOTION and their EXPENDITURES ON CHILDREN BY FAMILIES PARENTING CALCULATOR.

The calculator does just fine in determining the value of one child, and closely matches that $250,000 figure.

But it also allows you to enter in up to SIX CHILDREN into the system to see how those additional children play out in your planned expenses.

And it does end up that when multiple children are close in age, that the costs per child can end up relatively low.  It’s when there are large gaps between ages when you start to see some more money needed for the younger child than if their siblings are just a few years older.

Using the calculator for a newborn as an only child in the family, we see that the expected annual costs are in the 12k-14k range (your calculation may vary, depending on the criteria you used to generate this figure).  Adding a second child to the mix did not double the figure, but only added an additional $10k to the parenting cost, for an expected annual cost in the $22k-25k range.

So utilizing this bad math – your first child may cost you $250,000 to raise them to 18 years old, but that second child should only cost you an additional $180,000.   Again, your math may be different.

What do you think, is raising a child worth that quarter of a million dollar expenditure?