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The Cost of Becoming a Parent

The cost of becoming a parent is not to be taken lightly. Not only do children burn holes in your pockets, but there are a plethora of factors to consider, ranging from clothing and food to recurring costs like child care.

Younger parents, who tend to earn less than their colleagues, face the brunt of these costs with greater severity.

According to a 2018 report by the UNSW Social Research Center, a one-child couple in a low-income setting can spend up to $969 a week on living expenses.

With an average employee in the US earning $4,364 monthly in 2021, that leaves little breathing room for new parents to save up for bigger purchases like better housing and transportation.

This financial pressure can lead to some tough choices when it comes to raising children.

Let’s take a deeper look at how these expenses are allocated in their budget.



1) Food and Groceries

All of the families involved in the UNSW Social Research Center poll cited food as the second-costliest expense in their budget.

This is a crucial finding as it points to the living standards that these families are able to maintain on a regular basis.

Here are some of the most common grocery items and their approximate prices:

  • Sausages (1kg) – $7.00
  • Skinless Chicken Breasts (1kg) – $10.00
  • 1x Lettuce – $3.00
  • Apple (1kg) – $5.00
  • Milk – $2.00
  • Butter – $5.15
  • Large eggs by the dozen – $5.00
  • Sliced Wholemeal Bread – $2.00

With inflation, prices for these items are likely to increase in the years to come.


2) Childcare

Once children grow older and become more independent, parents are obligated to send them to daycare or after-school care.

While there’s no question that providing your child quality education is important, the cost of doing so can be pricey, to say the least.

On average, you could be looking at around $100 per day in child care centers.

However, there are ways to drastically reduce the cost. These child care costs can be mitigated through a subsidy programme based on the family’s annual income and activity level (such as volunteer work).

There are many helpful resources you can find online, such as this Gowrie NSW subsidy calculator, to help you determine how much you can save based on your financial status.


The Cost of Becoming a Parent


3) Rent and Housing

With a new addition to the family, it’s only natural for you to expand your living quarters as well.

No matter where you reside, rent tops the list as the largest piece of the cost breakdown when raising a child.

Take this Australian example – according to the UNSW Social Research Center study, Australian households spend roughly $1600 per month on rent.

This doesn’t take into account the utilities and maintenance fees that you may spend monthly or on occasion. These costs differ based on your lifestyle, but according to the survey participants, the estimated price of household expenses in Australia is around $100 per week.


4) Health

One of the great things about being a parent is that you might have access to high-quality health care for your children.

The downside is that this care doesn’t come cheap. Health costs for a child can rack up, from dental bills to annual doctor visits.

Parents can expect to spend at least $500 per year on health care for their children.

This figure doesn’t include larger costs that may come up, such as hospitalization for accidents or health conditions that your child may be born with.


5) Clothing and Recreation

Clothing and recreational items like toys and sports equipment are another big expense for parents.

On average, families might spend around $1,000 to $2,000 per year on clothing and recreational items for their children.

While this number may seem high, these numbers may vary depending on the child’s age and activity level.


The Cost of Becoming a Parent


6) Personal Care

Personal care includes items like diapers and baby food, which is something that all parents will have to deal with eventually.

Parents can expect to spend around $4,000 in the first two years of their child’s life. As they grow older, personal care expenses may slow down a bit.

Personal care will often expand over time to include more goods, such as shampoo, soap, and toothpaste as a child grows older.


The Cost of Becoming a Parent



Overall, becoming a parent can be a fulfilling yet costly endeavor.

However, with some careful planning and organization, most of these costs can be planned for and predictable.

If you’re stuck or confused, don’t worry! There are many resources online that can help you wrap your head around the wacky and wonderful world of parenthood.

Happy parenting!


The Cost of Becoming a Parent is a  feature post 

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