The cost of being a parent

I’ve made no secret that I stuggle with this whole mother hood thing. I’ve even been know to say that it is butt fuck hard.  What I talk about however is the emotinal side.  The physical, providing side is pretty damn hard too.  From the moment you find out you’re pregnant you are bombarded with the costs of being a parent.
The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling did a study and put the costs into a lump sum figure.
In fact, the report shows, the total cost in today’s dollars is
$448,000 for the average family to raise two children from birth
to age 20. For the average couple with two children today, those
children cost around $310 a week, or 23 per cent of average gross
household income of $1,324 a week.
This figure takes into account most of the costs involved in
parenting, including housing, transport, recreation, food, clothing
and education.
Now I don’t know about you but my income isn’t 1,324 a week. In fact it’s much less.  This means that I have to be crafty in getting it to stretch. We don’t always get the things that I *want* but we rarely go without the things we *need*.  Many people will say that all children need is love but that is a great big bunch of hooey.  Children need food, water and shelter, all things that are easily accessible in the Western World.
Let’s break this down a little bit. What are the individual costs you’ll most likely see in raising a child. I have a 3 yo so can only vouch for the first 3 years personally but here it is.
Cot – $100+
If you can find a decent second hand one you can really save a lot of money.  Or you could go down the co sleeping route…which I found I needed and craved my space once Devil Spawn started sleeping through.
Pram – $100+
This isn’t necessary but if, like me you don’t have a car then it is very much needed. The baby trolleys are usually few and far between at the supermarket and unless you have a sling which can be costly then you are going to need a pram.
Nappies – Av $20 per week.
Whether you go disposable or cloth, they are going to be costs involved.  The start up costs of cloth nappies can be in the $100’s however they save you money in the long run.  Disposable nappies are a bottomless pit of cost.  It’s also a case of trial and error of finding the ones that don’t give your baby a rash, don’t leak and don’t need a loan taken out to buy them.
Feeding – Av $50 per week
In the first few months this all depends on whether you breastfeed or bottlefeed.  Breastfeeding is completely free.  Bottlefeeding involves formula which ranges from $16-$30 a tin. When Devil Spawn was a baby a tin would last about 10 days.  Don’t forget all the bottles. You can get inexpensive ones for $10 for a 3 pack, but the trouble with bottles is that you have to keep replacing them.  Your baby outgrows the teat flow, the numbers wear off, making preparation innacurate.
Once you move into solids there starts to become a steady increase as you buy foods that bub can eat as well, until they are eating normal food and your grocery bill has increased by about $50 a week. 
Clothing – Never ending
In the first 12 months, babies generally grow and grow.  You feel like you are constantly packing clothes away and getting new ones out.  If you can get hand me downs, then this is great.  If you can’t then it can be an expensive venture.  The average cost of jumpsuits is $10. Unless you plan on washing every single day then you are going to need 3 or 4 at least. Thats $40 right there.  The funny thing about kids is that they keep growing and wearing out their clothes, so you need to rinse and repeat that process every couple of weeks.
Toys – Never ending
Toys aren’t a must but they sure as hell make this parenting gig a ton easier.  Devil Spawn is spoilt for toys.  His room is choc-a-bloc with everything a boy could want.  I don’t like to spend more than $40 for a toy.  The average cost is around $20.  I try to buy good quality stuff because I would much rather it last than break after the first use. 
Lotions, Potions and all the stuff for the Bums – Average $20 per week
The stuff you need during a nappy change can rival a make up artists arsenal.  There is wipes, nappy rash cream, body wash, moisturiser, talc powder and heaps of other stuff that I can’t think of right now.
Misc – Average $200 per week
This is everything else but not including the shelter.  This is the electricity and phone.  If you have a car then you have to factor in upkeep costs and money to put fuel in it.  Fridge break down? Yep you’ll be paying to fix that too. Washing machine die? Until you can afford to fix it or buy a new one then you will be making the trek to the laundromat.
This is part one of a two part post about the responsibilities of raising a child.  This is the very average break down of the costs. There are lots more things that I haven’t taken into consideration including daycare, school, and entertainment costs. 
Part two will delve a bit deeper into the emotional responsibilities of being a parent.  The things that you provide to make your child feel safe, to set a good example.

5 thoughts on “The cost of being a parent

  1. ann

    It is butt fuck hard!! I am not ashamed to say I buy heaps from our local salvos shop. Books, toys and clothes. Most of my kids “brand names” are from there the rest are handme downs or have been gifts.
    Great post Tegan.

  2. Alison

    Hard and getting harder with rising water, electricity, petrol, fuel. Xmas is just another stressor. Will paint on a happy face for the sake of the kids, again.

  3. Ang

    An excellent post about the things that many of us don’t even think about before we become pregnant – especially if it isn’t planned.

    And then there is also the unexpected things that happen like food allergies that can be ridiculously costly to manage depending on what it is. One of my friends’ son has an allergy to milk, soy and beef protein. This means purchasing bread for him from a health food shop at the cost of $9 a loaf if she chooses not to bake all of his bread :/

  4. NessofBoganville

    Yep it is damn expensive to raise kids. That is the main reason we are living in ‘Boganville’. But I figure I grew up here and I turned out (mostly) okay.

    We also do the Salvos/Vinnies thing for certain things to save money. And other than go without. We only have one car etc.

    Looking forward to Part Two…


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