The Department of Agriculture recently announced it takes $250,000 to raise a child through high school. Why the Dept. of Agriculture? Because children are similar to vegetables.
I think this estimate is severely low. Having raised four daughters, here are some expenses I don’t think the researchers took into account:
- Home repairs including, but not limited to, repainting the wall that your 4-year-old “decorated” with nail polish. Or that Slurpee stain in the carpet that will NEVER, EVER come out–no matter how many times you pay a professional carpet cleaner.
(Scrub all you want. Even a nuclear holocaust won’t get rid of this stain.)
- Every blankety-blankety-blank Happy Meal toy, cereal prize or other worthless trinket that fast-food restaurants/Disney dangle in front of children. This also includes temper-tantrum averting treats at the mall and impulse buys in the grocery store line that they won’t SHUT UP about.
- School clothes–but not just clothes, the right kind of clothes. The expensive stuff that will only be worn once. This also includes the dozens of shoes you buy, not because your child grew out of them, but because she suddenly doesn’t like the way they feel, or she’ll “forget” one at her friend’s house, or they don’t match ANYTHING she owns.
(“But mo-om. None of these shoes match my skinny jeans.”)
- Gas for driving them to and from school, work, their friend’s house, the mall, etc.
- Face products, at least for daughters. If you don’t buy them their own face soap, moisturizer, etc.–yours will suddenly go missing. Strangely enough your daughter will “have no idea where your face mask is.”
- Yards of fabric to make your teenage daughter a homemade princess costume for Halloween, only to screw it up and have to buy one anyway at the last minute–for twice the cost.
- Every other Halloween costume. Plus accessories. And fake teeth. And fake blood.
(This Halloween costume costs $3,139. Then you still have to buy candy.)
- The price of being “Santa’s Helper” during the holiday season. In December, I set up a direct deposit so my paycheck went directly to Toys R Us.
- Birthday parties that MUST include the cool Disney princess du jour, gift bags for 20 little girls, an elaborate cake that no one will eat and tiaras.
I could go on (and on and on) but you get the idea. So if you’re in the process of child-rearing, save your cash. You’re gonna need it.