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The Cost of Raising a Teenager

USA Today’s reporter, Kathy Chu, talked to some typical parents to get a feel for how much they spend indulging their children [1]. Here’s a statistic from the U.S. Department of Agriculture [2] of all places, quoted in the article:

Last year, a middle-income family spent an average of $190,980 to feed, house, clothe and entertain a child from birth until age 18, with the preteen and teenage years taking the heaviest toll…

Banking Deal: Earn 1.30% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at Synchrony Bank [3].

At an average of $10,610 each year per child, parents often have to choose between funding their own retirement and their own children. How do you find that balance?

You want your child to be well-rounded and to have the opportunity to discover his or her talents, so you want to provide summer activity camps, music lessons, sports participation, class trips, and college-level summer courses. Children feel they have needs spurred by society like a hot car, tech gadgets, and extravagant parties (remember Marissa and her sweet sixteen party [4]?). All of this comes at the expense of funding that child’s higher or private education and your own needs.

teenager.jpgThe article offers some actions you can take to minimize teenager-related expenses.

On the one hand, I’m looking forward to having children. On the other, I’m dreading it until I’m sure that my income will keep growing.

10 Comments (Open | Close)

10 Comments To "The Cost of Raising a Teenager"

#1 Comment By Anonymous On May 16, 2006 @ 11:48 am

Heh. I have an entry in the works on the same article. Maybe I should just abandon it and link back to yours…

#2 Comment By Anonymous On June 3, 2010 @ 9:44 am

Very cool you got this linked to the Yahoo 10 ways to save money tips Flexo!

#3 Comment By Anonymous On June 7, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

you must be rich. 10,610 a year for one child? I don’t think so. if you know where to shop for groceries, clothing, ect it doesn’t even cost half that. I can take $400 a month to aldi to feed a family of 5. 1 teenage boy, 1 teenage girl, 1 4 year old boy, myself and my wife for the entire month and that is 3 meals a day. they only need cloths twice a year and not $50 jeans or $150 shoes this isn’t a household of fashion. for clothing I have one word WALMART. for shoes shopping anywhere will do with a $40 limit on the shoes. shoes you need twice a year maybe 4 tops if they are really hard on shoes. the problem with people and households today is that they are worried about what others will think if they are seen at walmart or aldi friends may view you as being poor. so what if you are or not? I have a middle class household but that doesn’t mean I should be spending over $10,000 per child per year. you ready for this? This is per child per year with strict rules such as no lights on during the daylight hours and at night, shut of lights as you leave the room. Recycle everything you can garbage is $20 a month for 5 of us making $4 per person per month. only run water when absolutely needed. $50 a month for water making $10 per person. so here it is. my children are 14, 12, 4.
1 child per month

Groceries = $90
Clothing = $20
electricity = $8
water = $10
gas = $5
Garbage = $4
school supplies = $30
mortgage/rent = you pay with or without kids doesn’t count.
medical/dental insurance = $100

total monthly cost of 1 child per month (30 days) = $267 which makes $3248.50 per child per year. even if I was to include activities for the kids that cost money such as movies, chucky cheese’s, the fair, xmas and birthdays it still wouldn’t come near 10,000. maybe 6,000 tops. budget better, hunt/fish for meat, have a garden for fruits & veggies save some $ and only spend it on American products. ever wonder why our economy is so bad right now? think about it.

#4 Comment By Anonymous On September 28, 2013 @ 6:53 pm

What does a hunting and fishing license cost? What if they want to play sports and other activities that cost money? You can save all the money you want on food and clothes at walmart but thats not all that cost money. Do you keep your kids locked in the house and only let them go to school and the movies, chucky cheese’s, the fair, and buy them gifts? No, kids want to do more today then we ever did. Do your kids have a phone or computer? That cost money idiot.

#5 Comment By Anonymous On June 1, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

of course the rent counts, genius, unless your kids sleep on the street.

if you didnt have the kids, then your house/apartment would be smaller, and therefore you would pay less. So it counts.

#6 Comment By Anonymous On October 30, 2014 @ 11:08 am

Ok, please tell me where you buy your clothing for your kids, because $20.00 a month on clothing is even impossible if you are going to a second hand store! Wow! You must also be feeding your kids garbage! I feed my family natural home cooked meals and I buy whole foods, not your processed convenience crap. Your full of yourself or completely delusional if you think you can pass that off. I’m guessing that you don’t even carry dental or medical, because your numbers are so delusional. If you are truly providing for your children, as you say, you would know that even $10,000.00 a year is the bottom of the barrel. As for you rent, sorry, but it does matter in your household and IS considered in the cost for your family. I assume you never give you children a ride either??? LOL! You really are out of your league.

#7 Comment By Anonymous On June 30, 2015 @ 3:06 am

Your numbers are completely unrealistic in our society. Mortgage and homeowners insurance does count because the house needs to be bigger with kids than it does for a single person or a couple. What about doctor co-pays. Our medical insurance is 4 times more has a huge deductible and doesn’t cover anything, especially not dental. Groceries for $400 a month – what are you eating? Junk and fillers or protein, veggies, complex carbs and whole grains? GMO with additives and chemicals or wholesome, organic and free-range. Aldi’s isn’t so nutritious. What about vitamins? Seriously who drinks tap water these days with cysts, chemicals and parasites – filtered tap water would cost way more than that. What about soap and shampoo and other products such as laundry detergent, tissues and toilet paper – that can’t be in groceries. Clothing – way more, even if you shop second hand stores and rummage sales. Who wants to support Walmart? Have you noticed how they underpay their workers, cheat their vendors, and take advantage of factories overseas who put their workers in dangerous and unhealthy situations and pay them hardly anything? Not made in the USA for sure – made by underage workers in other countries in horrible conditions. Who wants that on their back? Someone is paying for their cheap prices even if it is not you. Sorry, I think your numbers are totally unrealistic, even if you take advantage of coupons, sales, rummage sales, 2nd hand stores, hand-me-downs and free-handouts as much as possible.

#8 Comment By Anonymous On May 27, 2016 @ 10:34 pm

So you would have a 4 bedroom house if you had no kids?

#9 Comment By anonoymous On January 5, 2017 @ 10:24 am

I disagree without about the RENT or MORTGAGE being zero, you would pay for that anyhow. Well if you did not have children or less children, you would have a home most likely with less rooms, less costs. Here in Colorado I can tell you there is a BIG difference between renting a 1 or 2 bedroom vs. a 3 bedroom.

So yes, it does add to your costs.

#10 Comment By Erika Currier On December 5, 2016 @ 11:26 am

What’s with the “Idiot” and other ignorant name calling? The guy is simply trying to say that he doesn’t pay 10 grand per kid per year. Everyone’s financial situation is different. Sounds like we could use his advice on how to save money instead of bashing him. Jesus H. Christ people, do u read what your writing b4 submitting? ? U sound very silly. I know as a single mother of a 14 yr old daughter EVERY THINGS is more the older she gets, but having a garden (canning for the winter season) and hunting helps out alot. But everything costs something, whether it’s canning jars or bullets. We pay for it all. So give him a break. His wife prob does the finances, lol. Maybe that’s what he thinks they pay. Lmao, either way…it’s expensive whatever way u look at it. 1 kid or 5, they are all expensive. Just enjoy our time w them cause it goes by way to fast. Single mom from upstate Ny