There is an article floating around the interwebz this week that has created quite the stir. Apparently, the Fraser Institute has decided that the cost of raising a child is much less than most Canadians estimate. They are reporting that it costs an average of $4,500/year** per child for basics (food, clothing, school, etc). This doesn’t include extracurricular activities or day care costs. Basically, it is the estimated additional amount that an existing household spends to add another family member.
Now, the point of this post is NOT to argue with how much you spend on your kids, or to create some kind of pissing contest to whether or not money = love or why some parents may be better than others, or any of that other BS parenting-wars fodder. This is my own exploration of how much my kids cost our family and why we spend what we do.
So here are the basics, per kid, per year:
- Food: about $200 per month per kid
- Clothing: less than $500/year for both kids, so $250 each
- School supplies/clothes/seasonal wear: $500-ish for both kids, again $250 each
- Health costs: less than $300/year total, so $150 each
Now, those are the mandatory needs. Our total? $3,050 for each kid.
Even if I add in our optional costs, it doesn’t add up to much:
- RESPs: $100/month per kid
- Swimming lessons: $60/session per kid, times 3 = $180/year
- Christmas/birthdays: $300/year for each kid
That’s another $1,680 each year. So in total, my kids are costing us about $4,730 each year. That’s just over the average estimate.
We don’t clip coupons or garden or sew our own clothes. I’m not a DIY-er or an upcycler. I generally suck at being thrifty. That being said, I do save on clothes and other “disposables”. I will NOT buy my kids shoes that cost more than $20/pair or jeans that are more than $15/pair. Even then, I cringe. We are buying two of every size with twins, and there is no one to hand them down to, to break up the cost over a couple of kids. But our food cost is significantly higher now that our girls have been diagnosed as celiac. Our food bill went from $500/month pre-celiac to over $1000/month post-diagnosis. Our income is comfortable enough, although it would be much more comfortable if we got rid of that stupid duplex!!
And yet, we are still in the zone of this study. Am I crazy to wonder what the heck everyone else is spending on their kids to make this so unrealistic?? I would honestly (and non-judgementally) love to know what ups your cost for basic needs. Do you eat out a lot as a family? Are you a lover of shopping? (I hate shopping lol).
I’d love to hear how you stack up in the comments! I find the whole conversation fascinating
**final estimate is on page 46, in the conclusion of the study
This post is a part of the Summer Blog Challenge 2013. You can check out the full list of participants HERE, and comment on Liam’s blog to join us! Meanwhile, check out what Liam, Natasha, Zita, Hethr, April, and others are up to