I was having lunch with a coworker the other day and the conversation turned to the cost of raising children. Read any report on the cost of raising children and you quickly realize that parenting is an amazing, worthwhile, but sometimes expensive, journey.
We began to consider some of the costs that caught us off guard as parents. Like your list, our list had several surprising costs. Let me share with you four that made our list:
- Diapers. On average diapers cost about $0.20 to $0.25 each. Diapers can cost as much as $1,000 per year. That’s a lot of money (and a lot of motivation to get your child potty trained asap). A recent article in the Tampa Bay Times said that 1 in 3 parents couldn’t afford diapers for their children. Diaper technology (yes, there is such a thing) has improved dramatically over the years. Unfortunately, this has also lead to increased prices, a cost that catch some parents off guard.
- Braces. For my coworker, the cost of braces caught him off guard. The total cost of braces can vary, but variation does not include cheap. To get your child’s teeth straight with metal braces, expect to pay anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000. Of course this does not include any other pre-braces work, like retainers, that is necessary. Those parents with multiple kids can spend a surprising amount of money on their children’s teeth.
- Sports. Choose your child’s sports wisely and cost effectively. Most sports tend to have a fee attached to it. But, unless you are a part of a travel team, this is not where the costs really show up. It is in the gear. Each sport has its own equipment needs. For example, if your child plays baseball, they will probably need cleats, a glove, a bat, and a helmet. And maybe a bag to keep everything together. More than likely, your child will grow out of each of these pieces of equipment. At that point, you have to purchase them all over again.
- K-12 education. Even if you do not send your children to a private school, education costs can still pop up. Of course, there are the costs of supplies. Most parents know these expenses well. But it is really the extracurricular costs that can impact a family’s budget in an unexpected way. Many parents are choosing to send their children to outside tutoring, academic camps, music camps, and other academic-related activities and events to, hopefully, help their child perform better at school. And while this is a good thing, there is a cost. And, often, it is not cheap.
God allowed me to be a parent. It is one of the greatest privileges of my life. But there are costs associated with the role.
Consider what future costs may arise for your child. Plan well, and don’t get caught off guard.
Written by Art Rainer, member of the Summit Stewardship and Generosity Ministry Leadership Team.
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