How Much Does Having a Kid Really Cost?

Every payday, it hits me that as sweet little balls of sunshine my daughters are, they’re also savage little income suckers who drain our checkbook dry.

I don’t feel like we spoil them, but there are those little things like soccer leagues and doctor appointment co-pays that feast like vultures on the last remnants daycare, food and diapers leave behind.

It’s not surprising that according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual "Expenditures on Children by Families," which was recently released, a child born in 2010 will cost his or her parents $226,920 over the next 17 years.

The main expenditures reported by the USDA included housing, child care, education, and food. However, I wonder how closely they analyzed those little things that really take the bite out of our budgets. The items at age 20 you never, ever thought you’d be spending your hard earned dollars on:

That one regrettable (baby) outfit. You try to be good about hitting the discount stores for your little ones, because we all know a spanking new onesie is a filth magnet. But then one day, you’re flipping through a catalog and come across justthecutestbabyoutfitever! It’s not something you would usually buy – maybe it’s a six-piece sailor suit or Lederhosen – and it costs as much as your wedding dress, but Junior would look so cute in it, you just can’t resist.

It’s this one time, you tell yourself. It will be perfect for family pictures, and we’ll be really, really careful.

However, the second he puts it on, a Slurpee machine will arise from the depths of Hell and summon him to swan dive into the icy cherry-colored goodness. Of which he does. Because toddlers can’t stand up to peer pressure – especially from the devil.

Indirect costs. Since having kids, investing in the following “non-essential” items on a regular basis have eaten away my RV-for-retirement fund: concealer, dry shampoo, batteries, chiropractor appointments, track pants, Resolve carpet cleaner, batteries, Tide to Go, Color Wonder markers, batteries, fruit snacks – both organic and preservative-laden (depending on how desperate I am that day), Happy Meals, barrettes, and batteries. Did I mention batteries?

Pop culture-swathed merchandise. I have two girls, so Disney princesses infiltrate 95% of all household goods we own – flashlights, sippy cups, lawn chairs, enema bags. No matter how unnecessary or mediocre the good might be, as long as it has Hannah Montana or Elmo embellished on it, the kiddos are drawn to it. (“No, MJ, you do not need a shirtless Justin Bieber cell phone cover. Why? Because you’re four, and you don’t have a cell phone. He’s also shirtless. The cashier will think I’m a pervert.”)

I grew up in the time of New Kids on the Block. I get how pop culture and capitalism converge. But even Danny, Donnie, Jordan, Jon and Joey would be shocked by the obscene amount of Bieber merchandise that catches my daughter’s eye.

The replacement of everything you and your significant other own. Look no further than S**t My Kids Ruined to know your child will destroy every material possession you hold dear. Before you even think of procreating, it’s imperative to set up a repair/replace savings account to prepare for the onslaught.

My recent casualties of war have included my grandmother’s antique bowl, my iPhone (I will forever be haunted by the crack of my screen on the sidewalk and the accompanying chorus of “Ohhhhhh s**t….” from a group of dads at the playground) and our carpet (pink nail polish spilled by my 4-year-old; red nail polish spilled by me when jumping up to admonish the 4-year-old for spilling pink nail polish on the carpet).

Let’s face it. Kids are greedy, expensive, dirty little human beings. But with one smile, one thank you, one hug, they earn every last cent of that $226,920. Even while wearing a Slurpee-stained white lace dress and wrestling in a Teddy Graham-imbedded carpet.

By Nicole Plegge, Lifestyle Blogger for SmartParenting

Share This Story

Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL 

Our Daily Things to Do email is the easiest way to plan your day.
Follow Us
   
Want daily ideas of things to do? How about special offers & giveaways? Sign up and we’ll handle the rest.
Things to Do

Toddler Tinker Time
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Thursday, April 15, 2021

Bring your little ones to Toddler Tinker Time at The Magic House for special experiences designed especially for preschoolers. Weekday mornings, Tuesday through Friday, families will enjoy hands-on activities in the Art Studio, plus private playtime featuring limited capacity in Wonder Works and Wonder Why.

View this event »
Petite Picasso Virtual Art Classes for Kids
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Magic House now offers a virtual art experience for children – multi-sensory Virtual Petite Picasso classes. Classes are taught live from the Art Studio at The Magic House, and a different art activity is featured each week! 

 

 

View this event »
You Might Also Like...

From Our Sponsors
Popular Stories

How to Lessen the Impact of Social Isolation on Your Child's Mental Health

This need for regular socialization all comes down to nature – we are biologically human wolf packs who need to connect with each other, especially in our early years. We asked local experts how to help kids handle the isolation resulting from the pandemic and remote learning, and how it may impact their futures.

Continue reading »
Saint Louis Zoo's Newest Exhibit Features Roaring, Spitting Dinosaurs in a Walk-Through Land Before Time

The creatures in this temporary exhibit will move realistically, some roaring and spitting, or placidly marching on lush vegetation to the delight of visitors. Along the tropically planted trail in this land before time, families will discover the amazing connection between dinosaurs and living animals today. 

Continue reading »
Fun for Every Child: The Steps Summer Camps are Taking to Be More Inclusive

Each year, summer camps take thousands of kids on an incredible adventure, where they can explore the great outdoors and make both friends and memories that will last a lifetime. When camps are more inclusive, it benefits every child ready for summer fun. 

Continue reading »
Spring Break Camps Offer a Variety of Activities for Kids and Teens in St. Louis

Welcome 2021's much-awaited springtime with a variety of fun Spring Break camps for kids as young as Pre-K. From rocketry to wildlife, science to arts & crafts, sports to healthcare, in-person or virtual Spring Break camps offer kids a way to meet up with their peers, learn a new skill, or return to favorite fun activities. Here is a roundup of Spring Break camps available in the St. Louis area:

Continue reading »
How Are You Holding Up? Here's What Experts Say About Coping With Anxiety, Stress and Uncertainty

Telling children they shouldn’t worry about something doesn’t make that worry go away. Instead, we want to help them develop skills to manage worries so they can feel empowered to cope with future worries.

Continue reading »
Follow Us