According to the USDA, as of 2011, the annual child-rearing expenses for a middle income family with 2 adults and 2 children is between $12,290 and $14,320. Here is how it breaks down:
Housing = 30%
Childcare and Education = 18%
Food = 16%
Transportation = 14%
Health Care = 8%
Miscellaneous = 8%
Clothing = 6%
How to save money on housing costs:
1. Children don't need there own room. According to the study, when figuring housing costs, they considered each child to have its own room. If I have to share my room, why do my kids deserve there own?
2. Don't use kids as an excuse to buy a bigger house, just find better ways to utilize the space you have.
We've been lucky to only need childcare part time since my husband and I work different shifts. We also live in a very good public school system, so we will not be paying for private school education.
I've already discussed easy ways that we save on our food expenses. Here are some other tips.
1. Breastfeed - It's free and healthier.
2. Don't waste money on prepackaged foods. Buy the large container of juice and pour it into a sippy cup. Buy large packs of snacks and put them in snack baggies or, better yet, reusable containers.
3. Don't assume name brands are always better. Most items we can't tell the difference between name brand and store brand.
4. Pack snacks and take a sippy cup whenever leaving the house, no need to pick up fast food or purchase convenience foods at convenience store prices.
5. Limit eating out. Maybe about once a month or so we take our kids out to eat at a restaurant. But usually it ends up with me scarfing down my food in between helping my kids eat and keeping them entertained. Afterwards, I always feel like we wasted money. So usually we reserve going out to eat for nights we have a sitter and can really relax and enjoy ourselves.
Another great area to save money on kids is on their clothing. Buy gently worn clothing at garage sales, consignment stores or accept hand-me-downs from friends and family, When the kids grow out of them, sell the clothes at consignment stores, garage sales or on ebay. I also do this for toys; Buy used and then sell it when the kids are done playing with it.
I've never put much thought into transportation as an expense of having children or health care. I know our health insurance went up when we had kids but its not really one of those things I can shop around or negotiate since I get insurance through my employer.
I am always interested in learning more ways to save so I'd love to read comments of any ways you save on children's expenses.
I thought I'd take a little break from posting about ways I've learned to spend less and save more. I always like to read about other peoples budgets, so stay tuned to see what mine looks like.