If you thought getting your kids ready to go back to school was expensive, you may really have sticker shock when you hear this next figure. More than $300,000; that's how much it now costs to raise a child from birth to age 18, when adjusted for expected inflation. That doesn't even include college costs.
Tell any parent the latest average cost of raising a child and you're likely to get the same reaction.
"I don't know. It's a lot of money. You think every year--if something gets more expensive--you just make do when it happens," Sarah Kohls said.
A mother of six, Kohls is an expert at making do. She knows firsthand how quickly the money goes when you have this many kids.
"So if you're thinking of the gas that it takes to take them to school or the groceries we bought this week or activities that we do, well yeah, I guess that's where that money goes," Kohls said.
A couple of things that make raising a family so much more expensive today than when the first USDA report came out in 1960 are health and child care costs. Health care expenses have doubled for children during that time and child care costs were insignificant back in 1960.
Child care costs for six kids didn't make financial sense for the Kohls family, so mom quit her teaching job.
"At the time when the twins were born, we had four kids three and under. So we decided this is the route we were going to go; I was going to stay home. Some days I go crazy, but most days it works out," Kohls said.
Having more kids is less expensive. According to the new report, families with three or more children spend 22 percent less per child than families with two children.
"We have four boys all in a row, so the twins are wearing what Malachi wore and we're Goodwill shoppers. We like Goodwill," Kohls said.
Kohls also gets creative when it comes to saving dough.
"Lunch--a peanut butter and jelly sandwich--we eat a loaf of bread. So instead of buying bread every day, I make it--I can make it for under 50 cents a loaf, but I can buy it in the store for what? $2, $3, or $4," Kohls said.
Kohls says while kids may be expensive, it's all worth it.
"We'll do what we have to do to take care of them," Kohls said.
That $300,000 figure is for middle-income families. Those with high incomes are projected to spend nearly $455,000 to raise their child, while low-income rural families will spend much less--an estimated $146,000.
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