Raising a Child is Even More Expensive Than We Thought

Yikes! We all knew raising children could be pricey....but we didn't know the figure would be THIS high!

cost of raising a baby LUMPANG MOONMUANG/Shutterstock
Childcare. Diapers. Food. Extracurricular activities. Baby gear. Toddler toys. Teenage swag. Those are just a few of the expenses you'll incur as a parent. And while we probably don't need to tell you that parenting is a pricey endeavor, we do have some news to break to you: The damage might be worse than you expected. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture just released its annual Cost of Raising a Child report for the year 2015, and it says that parents who welcomed their children in 2015 will spent an average of $233,610 to raise each child from birth to age 17. 

We often think of college tuition costs as the main financial stressor parents face, and the fact that those expenses are not factored in to the Department of Agriculture's findings makes this figure all the more startling. Add that to the fact that the average cost reported here doesn't even include expenses related to pregnancy, adoption or childbirth, and that number really starts to climb.

According to the report, married, middle-income couples can expect to shell out about $12,350 to $13,900 a year for the expenses associated with raising a child.

Not surprisingly, housing and food account for a large chunk of these expenses. Childcare/education, transportation and health care are also major sources of financial drain. 

Of course, every family is different, and we all choose to spend money in different ways. Sending kids to private schools, staying home to avoid the heaviest childcare costs, living in rural areas as opposed to urban, looking for lower-cost activities or graciously accepting hand-me-downs from friends and relatives—those are all factors that can certainly affect how much you'll spend as a parent.

Ultimately, don't let the number freak you out, but let it help you start thinking about how you'll budget for your new bundle of joy. And remember that the exact amount you'll spend on raising your kids is, to some degree at least, up to you.