Whelp friends, the time has come to stop tracking all the money our baby has eaten over his lifetime, *tear*. I just can’t keep up with it all, and there’s no way in hell I’m gonna be sorting through TWO babies expenditures to figure out whose is whose in a couple months, bleh…
But while I didn’t make it to the 18 years I originally wanted to (of course, coming up with this brilliant plan *before* the kids arrived and sucked our time!), I did make it past at least 18 months ;) And in fact, all the way up to 29 months! Which should award me something, right?
This also means Baby Money #1 is officially 20 months old this month – woo! (The other 9 mos tracked was pre-birth) Which comes out to a little longer than a year and a half, for all those non- parents out there who always wonders why we tell our babies’ age in months (why DO we do that, exactly?). It’s been an amazingly crazy and awesome trip experiencing fatherhood so far, and I can’t wait to see what else this little cutie poop has in store for us down the line. And, his future brother too, for that matter.
How much do babies cost?
What isn’t awesome, of course, is how much these little boogers cost you over time! And I know firsthand as I’ve been tracking almost every single penny of it since he was first conceived over these 29 months ago (2 and 1/2 years). Those studies that show kids cost $241,080 throughout their lifetime? Well, I’m starting to believe them now :)
While it is a sad day for spreadsheet lovers everywhere, we have collected quite the data over the years which we’ll now be able to extrapolate out a bit :) Even though, yes, all kids and families and expenses will differ depending on thousands of variables (but this is my blog, and my story, so there.)
For those who have missed them, here are our past milestones:
- Pre-birth: $2,781.73
- Total costs by 1 1/2 months: $3,651.15
- Total costs by 5 months: $5,241.83
- Total costs by 12 months: $15,252.37
- Total costs by 15 months old: $19,989.70
Want to guess where we’re sitting now? 5 months past the last update, and 29 total from day #1? I hope you’re sitting down!! Or, that *I’m* sitting down for that matter! (I am – since I’m in my desk chair blogging this ;)).
The Grand Finale of Baby Costs: $28,185.49!
BAM! No wonder our cash reserves have been leaking these days… Now if we extrapolate these numbers out to see what the future would hold had I continued to track these (and, if we happened to live in Magical Land where all numbers equally stayed the same throughout the months/years), I’m sure we’ll see quite the chunk.
Using a monthly average of $1,270.19 (grand total of $28,185.49 minus pre-birth of $2,781.73, divided by 20 months), and then adding back in the pre-birth numbers, here’s what we’d be looking at:
- Total costs at 3 years old: $48,508.57
- Total costs at 6 years: $94,235.41
- Total costs at 9 years: $139,962.25
- Total costs at 12 years: $185,689.09
- Total costs at 15 years: $231,415.93
- Total costs at 18 years: $277,142.77
Holy shit. That surpasses CNN’s $241,080 by over $35,000! And then for two kids? $554,285.54. And I call myself a personal finance blogger…
The Breakdown by Category
Now obviously the amounts above, and in your specific lives, will differ depending on how you spend your money and what’s included in these number vs what’s not (for example, does college money count? Do you use daycare? Home school?), but it’s an interesting thing to look at for sure. Especially if you plan on having kids one day!
To give you a better idea of how all this counts FOR US, however, and so you don’t think I’m some crazy $$$ waster ;), here’s how much we’ve spent in the 29 months broken down by category:
- Toys: $360.76
- Clothing: $642.84
- Diapers: $1,141.59
- Home/Furniture: $1,117.12
- Food: $1,332.49
- Supplies: $1,859.52
- College Savings: $3,350.00
- Medical: $6,792.42
- Daycare: $10,588.75
- Extra padding: $1,000 (I added $50/mo for stuff I probably forgot to track)
So as you can see, our top 3 money suckers are daycare, medical costs, and college savings – which alone account for over $20,000 worth. And that’s with semi-decent insurance and lower (to us, anyways) daycare since we moved out of the city! I can’t even imagine what it would cost with no insurance or even higher daycare, ugh… Or what college will truly cost 15+ years from now.
I’d say we’re fairly comfortable with the expenses in the other areas. We hardly spend any money on toys (grandma and pa give him a lot), hardly anything on clothing (most of it’s been passed down by friends, which thankfully we’ll be able to use a 2nd time now with baby boy #2!), diapers are certainly a bitch but it’s a part of the game, and the rest – food and supplies – are pretty normal as well. At least from where we’re sitting. So unless we plan on living on only 1 income going forward (we’re not), or having our kids never get sick again (DEFINITELY not), we’re stuck w/ the numbers pretty much as they are. Though we have nixed college savings for the time being until we turn our cash flow around.
In summary, it’s been a wild ride for our wallets to say the least. But as I always leave off with on this money tracking adventure – the love these babies pay us back with is immeasurable! I’d happily give $28,185.49 over and over again to have my little guy with us for many more years to come :) And from the looks of it, I’ll be doing exactly that, haha…
Kids aren’t for everyone, but I can confidently say they are for us. And plus, I plan on having them take over my online empire in just a few short years anyways, so by the time that happens I’ll have a new source of passive income coming my way ;) That’ll help recoup some of these costs!
PS: You can see an item by item breakdown of this $28,000+ here: Baby Money Tracker
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I do not have any kids right now and thank God. It is not that my wife and I can’t afford one- we easily can, its that I am way to busy right now to handle one. That said, I feel like many of the expenses people have related to their kids are optional– like the $360 on toys or $642 on clothing, or I hate to say it… the college savings, which is entirely optional. Kids are crazy expensive anyway you cut it, but I think it needs to be recognized that a lot of it is “choice” driven spending, not necessity.
Yup, lots of optional stuff. And I’ll tell you this too – you’ll always be too busy for kids ;) In case that’s the only thing holding you back from making any (and I doubt it is).
I hadn’t seen you tracking these costs before! Awesome!! (kinda…)
Mrs Ikonz and I are looking at starting a family soon and I was wondering how much a little gremlin would set us back.
Childcare in Australia is easily the biggest cost. You’re looking at paying about $150 a day, meaning most return-to-work mum’s are working just to pay for daycare.
Great to see you’re thinking so far ahead about college savings, but what else should I expect from a PF blogger?
See you at $1m!!
You might get there before I do at this rate ;)
Have you found your risk appetite for saving/investing has changed since kids have come along?
Hmm… no, not really actually. As long as I’ve got enough money to provide food and shelter on a daily basis I don’t worry too much about the rest there. Still very much aggressive than the opposite :) Would be different if i were older though perhaps.
Yeah, nothing quite like doing your taxes and seeing you paid $12K for daycare and the federales give you a break of $600 for that. Thank God childcare FSAs exist!
Also $642 on clothing is pretty good for a kid. I mean that’s only like $50 a month and since kids love to outgrow things and ruin outfits by spilling blueberries or other items on them. I don’t know if Baby $ is anything like my little guy, but he refuses to wear a bib because mom and dad don’t wear bibs. The only good news is he is pretty much amazing with a spoon and puts a napkin in his lap on his own (not that that helps his shirts that much).
Hah! And why isn’t mom and dad wearing bibs then in that case? ;)
Just finishing up tax stuff now actually, and had no idea you could get credits or deductions or whatever for childcare! My wife had to actually tell me to report it to my accountant and I happily obliged :) So we’ll see what happens!
Wow, thanks for posting this! We are looking to adopt soon and so far the focus has been on affording the adoption itself. Looks like we are in for and expensive ride (although I knew it would be expensive prior to reading this, I just didn’t know exactly how much). ;-) Thanks for sharing!
Yeah, your numbers will look a bit skewed for that for sure, ugh… But at least you’ll have a beautiful baby/kid to love forever and ever!! Always worth the $$! :)
Daycare is SUCH a killer! I totally get why many people opt to have one parent stay home. When my sons school started a free after school program I felt like I hit the lottery…ha!
HAH! I don’t even know what we’re gonna do with all that extra $$$ once they go into school – can’t wait! :)
I was impressed when you decided to track every munchkin penny! It sounds like kids manage to be as expensive as I feared.
So long, baby miney tracker.
Yup, bye bye money tracker, hello more free time! ;)
Thanks for sharing, J Money! It *is* nice to see what might be in store for me and the future husband down the road! There have been plenty of people sharing wedding expenses (which are helpful for us now), but you really are one of the only people to have tracked and posted baby expenses like this! Knowing my love of spreadsheets, I’ll probably do this, too – when I get to that point ;)
Go for it!! I hope you beat my numbers too :) Glad you find them helpful.
“diapers are certainly a bitch but it’s a part of the game…” Man, I hear you there J! At one point we had three in diapers. It felt like every other dollar we had were going to some diaper company. But, like you said, it’s SO worth it and that’s putting it lightly. I just shudder to think of what it’ll cost our kiddos once they’re of age to have their own family.
Disposable diapers*, anyone?
I know a few frugal families that go that route. Mr. Money Mustache went did as well.
*I have not fathered a child so I’m not sure if the pain in the butt (pun?) versus cost savings is worth the cost savings.
Haha… I don’t know if it saves a lot more money or what (or the environment – though I think most studies show they do?), but one look from my wife when I mentioned the idea of it was all it took to know we’re not going that route :) I’ve got mad respect for those who do though!
Wow! At least daycare goes away in a few years (although other things might pop in). So if that drops off you might be under the CNN estimate. And it frees you or Mrs. $$ to make cash. But going from 2 income people to 2 income people plus daycare, it’s certainly a big cost. Way to keep track! I stopped at day 2 and switched to huddling in the fetal position and crying for an hour a day… ;)
Haha…. smart man ;)
Great breakout of expenses. My wife and I will be working on #1 later this year and have started to save up money for the costs associated with having a child. It’s still an eye-opener to see it, but I guess from your side, the view is that it all is worth it!
Yup! And honestly, it’s not like you’re really thinking about the money and how much it’s adding up over time either – you’re just enjoying time w/ the kids :) I just happen to be tracking it all which forces me to look with mouth wide open in amazement!
Baby costs= hundreds of thousands. Them being your kids=priceless
I initially started tracking everything our first baby cost us, but I gave up way before you did. It was depressing me too much to see how much he cost so I guess I took the out of sight out of mind route. The one good thing about diapers is that they go through less and less each day as they get older until that wonderful day when they are completely potty trained. Daycare may go away, but then school and other activity fees enter in.
Adding a second baby won’t cost nearly as much as the first either since you already have a lot of the initial stuff you need. You also know a little more about what is absolutely necessary for your family and you aren’t experimenting with different products or brands trying to find the right fit.
I was wondering though, with the food cost, is that just baby food? Would you have tried to separate out what portion of the grocery bill was his as he got older if you continued tracking everything?
Good points on potty training/school stuff/etc.
Yeah, lots of baby food still + some other foods too but over time I got lazy to track it in detail so just lump a general amount in ;) The only real big thing we’re working on our son with is his eating habits (he’s pretty picky outside of baby food) but he is getting better over time. We’ll be starting baby #2 out MUCH sooner on human food I’ll tell you what! :)
By baby number 3 I decided he wasn’t eating anything but breast milk until he was able to eat what I made for the rest of the family. By 7 months old he was sitting at the table with us eating small pieces of whatever I made for that meal. Saved a ton on babyfood!!! And it was so much cleaner
Holy crap – that’s awesome!!! Way to go!
I had been here a few times but I’d never seen this baby tracker until someone brought it up. So I came to check it out. All I can say is holy sheesh that’s a lot of money.
I would like to note for people to really realize everyone number are different and the cost definetly doesn’t have to be that high. Actually it would have been nice if instead of dropping it all together you just switched over to tracking costs for your second little one. This way you could average out the costs and see how different( or maybe the same) they are.
Also check out baby lead weaning, like other reader suggested this is where you go to table food. We did this and our food costs were not that big we still bought jar baby food for lazy days and going out but it was very minimal. Also boiling carrots and mushing them is super easy and not time consuming and WAY cheaper then buying jar ones..
One last thing can you explain medical costs I’m curious why they are so high.
For sure – these #’s will be different for everyone :) And our 2nd has cost way less so far since we already have most things in place and now he gets hand me downs from his older brother! Woohoo!
RE: Insurance costs – A bulk of that $$ is all the premiums over the months. We had some ER visits and stuff in there too, but mainly it’s the high # due to insurance rates – and it doesn’t help that I’m self-employed and have to get our own :)
Thanks for keeping track of how much I spend. I have a 16 month old and baby #2 on the way and I’ll use your figures for my scenario. I imagine it’s about the same guesstimation =P
I’m going to send you a bill for 1/2 of all the hours I’ve spent calculating it out, and then a surcharge for the emotional baggage it’s thus added to my life ;)
I just dropped $75 on pizza for my son who turned 15 this weekend. He had a bunch of friends over to celebrate his Birthday. I feel you pain J. I won’t have it any other way.
Hopefully you were able to at least participate in that! :)
Did you see this post on Mad Fientist last week? I think being a savvy, personal finance blogger, the numbers are scary but you’ll do just fine :)
I did!! Featuring it on RockstarFinance.com today actually – GREAT article :)
omg what a cutie!! Totally worth that obscene pricetag ;)
Thank you! I’ll tell him you said so :)
OUCH! We wouldn’t have the daycare expenses, but we’d have everything else. Ouch, ouch, ouch. My internal clock isn’t ticking loudly yet, so it’s hard to jump head first into this knowing how much time, energy, and money it will be. I think I need to wait for my hormones to cloud my judgment, lol. ;-)
Or you can just remove the goalie and let it “happen when it happens” :) There’s never a “good” time to make ’em really.
Maybe the missus will be fine with us just getting a new puppy instead? Yikes. Those costs are an eye opener, but better to know these costs upfront. Thanks so much for sharing this info, friend!
Well, to be honest I’m kinda glad we DIDN’T know these costs ahead! I woulda freaked myself out! Haha… so, in a way I’m saving everyone in the future from seeing it too and possibly skewing them away from kids :)
Woof! That’s quite the price tag. I’m no where near ready for baby making, but at least you get a really cute little human out of the deal. I’d love to see how much my sister and I cost our parents in birthday parties alone. They threw us the coolest parties, even though I’m pretty sure my mom was a master negotiator and just pulled a bunch of strings to get awesome people (like a real detective) to show up at our parties.
Knowing your dad, I bet he DOES have a spreadsheet on you two rugrats stored somewhere to one day teach you guys some lessons, haha… Call him up right now and ask :)
That’s one of the reasons why we stop at 1, hahaha. Yeah, kids can be expensive. The daycare expense was the big one for us as well. Now that I’m home, we don’t have that expense, but I don’t have a regular paycheck anymore either.
Actually, if you count college saving expense, we are nearly at $25,000 already… I guess we spent more than you on just one kid so far.
I told my wife on Saturday I miss being a stay at home dad and would totally do it again. But she’d have to get a job first and then I’d lose you all since I couldn’t do both at once again – THAT was draining, yikes…
But not to worry – I’m not going anywhere soon :)
Moral of the story: if you’re not ready, wrap it up always!
Yes, that and if you don’t want it to fall off w/ diseases!
What a great post! As a future parent I totally appreciate the breakdown you provided. I saw an episode of Dr. Phil one day where he was trying to educate a pregnant teen (who was unwilling to get a job) that kids can cost upwards of $10 grand a year. I’ve always tucked that number away in the back of my head so I can remember for when I do have kids, and I like being able to apply that to your experience here. Thanks! I found you via Mr & Mrs. 1500, great post there, too!
Very cool – thx for stopping by. I’ll have to buy them a beer for shooting you over here :)
I just want to say how much I appreciate you calling your kids, “these little boogers.”
It’s amazing how quickly the costs of children can add up. Not saying raising happy, healthy kids can’t be done for financial reasons, but it sure is important for people to understand what they’re getting themselves – and their money into. The more you know, right? :)
Boogers BOOGERS boogers!!!!
My favorite quote from my dad is “Children are the death of net worth.” We frequently have “what if” days where we talk about what we could do or how much money we would have if we didn’t have our son. But then my freakin crazy ass love for him bubbles to the surface and I put my big girl panties on and work harder for all of us.
Haha yeah…. a fun game to play more so when you don’t have kids :)
I don’t have kids, so this may seem a bit callous. Wouldn’t a dog give as much back as one of these kids that do not even recognize you for the first few month?
How much earlier could you retire, or you can even retire better without one?
And please do not count on kids taking care of you in their old age. They will strip you of your assets and put you in a government medicare paid nursing home.
But now is the time to open up a Roth IRA in their name. $2K now, invested in the S&P, might be enough for their retirement when they get older.
Hard to answer question #1 since it won’t make sense w/out having kids, but as far as the Roth – yes, great idea! Haven’t researched it myself to know of any rules with babies/etc, but if it’s possible it would be a very smart move :)
Not gonna lie, I’m a little disappointed that the tracker is coming to an end. I loved peeking in to how much your kiddos were costing (on the off chance that we ever end up with any!).
Sowee!! It was a fun experiment no doubt, but man my head’s going to be clearer going forward… and I’ll need all the extra space up in that brain for the babes!
Love the baby tracker…man I didn’t know those boogers cost so much. Not only that…taking care of them makes me so tired, I succumb to conveniences that my generally frugal self normally wouldn’t…like ordering take out more, buying something at a store which is more expensive…cause I’m too lazy and tired to go to a cheaper place. I’m wondering if toddlers and older kids cost a lot too with all the activities that many parents enroll them in…hmmm? Maybe continue the tracker until college!
YOU track it till college!! Haha… Imagine tracking after all those tiring/lazy days you just mentioned ;)
CNN’s total doesn’t include college! (Which might be why so you’re much over)
Woo! +1 for me!
Wow it’s crazy to see those numbers on paper (or screen). Have a 13 month old myself and it can definitely get pricey. Thankfully my wife is able to stay home with him and we have family nearby so we have help and people randomly buying clothes. But damn they are expensive!
Great your wife can stay home! The other nice thing about that is you get to watch them grow up and spend tons of quality time with them :) Something I miss from when I did it a cple days a week myself (though luckily i spend plenty of time since I work from home and get to help him get ready in the mornings and here right when he gets home too.)
I saw a Maclean’s magazine a while back that pegged the costs of a baby over $678,000. The headline scared me so much I had to buy the magazine. I think some of the costs they calculate in that number were a little far fetched but it’s obvious, from your account too, that kids aren’t cheap. No kids for me yet, so my wallet and bank account is making the most of these kid-free years.
It’s definitely scary if you only concentrate on the dollars. Luckily once they pop out it kinda melts away :)
My two son’s are in their 30’s now and I can pretty confidently say that you will lose track counting before he’s grown. I don’t believe it is possible, but I hope you prove me wrong!
You’re already proven me right since we’ve stopped tracking now :) I’m sure I could technically go on and really focus to pull it off for 18 total years, but I’d rather spend that time enjoying the new kiddos as well as my free time when it comes up. I’m happy with the way our test worked out here – was interesting while it lasted!
And so ends the single greatest internet undertaking of all time. It was a blast while it lasted and I thank you for it. God speed, J Money, and thanks for the memories. I look forward to your net worth update in the next few days.
Haha, thanks man… It’s damn good I stopped tracking this too – I have no more spare time w/ the 2nd babe! Man two is a handful :)
Also, here’s this month’s net worth for ya – just dropped it:
Your baby tracking endeavor was amazing! My husband and I are expecting a little one in a few weeks time and I’ve also been trying to keep track of all our expenses so far but it’s been way too difficult to get everything recorded. I have a feeling that once the baby is actually here, I will have neither time nor energy to keep it up too. So for you to have reached 29 months is truly spectacular!
Haha – you’re right on that one! It definitely changes your priorities a bit ;)
Congrats on the soon-to-come babe though! Such an exciting time in life – soak it all up, even when you’re tired and annoyed w/ the little guy/girl! :) The phases changes so fast in the first few years – it’s amazing.
wow! Crazy idea but I think it’s really cool especially for us budget geeks! Want to see how this goes on yearly!
Cloth diapers have saved us quite a bit so far. We have spent about $600 on cloth diapers for baby #1, which, based on your numbers will save us about $500. Once baby #2 comes along (only in the conceptual stages at this point) we will have saved $1700-ish. There is also, beleive it or not, a pretty good used market for diapers, which will get us another small bump.
Nice! You guys are braver/frugaler than us ;)
I have to admit, this was painful to read, I’ve spent a fraction of that on my kids. Hell, we lived on what you spent on Junior in a year. And unless you are simply noting the costs without any intent to spend carefully (which is perfectly fine in itself, but seems counter to part of the point of your blog/lifestyle)… I think “challenge everything” is sorely needed here.
I’m sure our costs will look extreme to some, and a lot less to others. As you can see, healthcare, daycare, and college savings makes up a bulk of our costs at $20,000+. Could we skimp on a lot of that? Sure. But it doesn’t make sense for us in our current phase right now. I put all this out there to give a real-life account of how much it can cost someone, but there’s a lot of factors to consider such as locale, needs, goals, careers, lifestyle, etc. It’s hard to compare when it’s not apples to apples.
Naw… it doesn’t cost 1/4 million to raise just one child ($1 cool million at four). An unmarried co-worker told me so. Of course he did that in front of others who were married. He still stuck to his ignorant position.
My guess is 1/4 million is on the low side.
He of course, never married. Women liked his appearance and money but he daily sprayed himself with female repellent. Just obnoxious.
“Female repellent” – hah! I feel like we’ve all accidentally sprayed ourselves with that at some point in our lives :)