At one end of the scale, it reportedly costs as much as $1 million for the joy of raising a child until they are 18 (e.g. Mark McKindle, social researcher, November 2009).
The middle of the road estimates are more around the half a million dollar mark. For instance, my sister did an article on it for Money online and her guy estimated it was $600 000.
The Australian government released some figures at the end of last year that it is exactly $384 543 per child (not sure what they included but it is a very precise figure don't you think?). Our new FEMALE Prime Minister (*air punch*) might have more to say about this in her pre-election spiel.
But the smallest figure I have seen is $1300 per year (a meagre $55, 000 for 2 kids until they are 21) reported on the Family Law website. Obviously there's a very frugal bunch of people in the Family law area.
I am no economist, but as you know, I have rather an interest in Money Matters. The cost of raising a child is clearly not an easy thing to estimate, and I may be speaking out of turn here, but I reckon I have worked out the reason for this discrepancy.
It is good ol' fashioned variation.
I know, don't be shocked. Amazingly, all families are not the same. Who knew? And, even within your own family, there is variety in expenses, from day to day, year to year, child to child.
Some week's they cost nothing. Other week's they cost a fortune.
If you want to "keep up with the Joneses" they will cost you more. If you just want to feed them and clothe them (in hand-me-downs) they cost less.
If you are under house arrest with illness for weeks, they cost a little. If you are managing them during school holidays, they cost more.
If you have a little Destructacon (not naming any names, Dew Drop), then in one week they could cost you an unexpected:
- $143 for a new VW key
- $169 for new frames for your prescription sunglasses
- $200 for new sunglasses for your husband
- $?? for a new mobile phone
- $?? for a new twin stroller
I honestly have no idea how much we spend on our kids each year. Pretty much everything we have I suppose. I think our family is definitely not a $1 million per child kinda family, but I don't think we can get away with $1300 per child, per year either. We're somewhere in the middle I suspect, and very dependent on the flow of money into our house.
How much do you think you spend on your kids annually?