From birth to 18, the average cost of a child is $241,323. The monthly cost is $1200. This varies on location and parental income. These expenses include
1. Food costs
2. Does your child compete in sport?
3. What Technology do they have?
That’s not to say that my teenage son is eating all of the food, it is split between three of us, (sometimes four if my daughter is home from college). We eat pretty healthy. I would say average meals. Pizza possibly once a week for my son, as he doesn’t like Shepherds Pie!
But it’s not just about main meals, is it? It’s breakfast, lunch and of course the snacks. I try to keep his snacks relatively healthy. I don’t buy chips, only as a treat, if he’s having company over. And I don’t buy soda. He drinks a lot of milk, but trains a lot at sport. He also drinks a lot of water, which I buy at the store, as our water doesn’t taste very nice.
If you have at least four meals planned, then it’s easier to quickly get in and make them when you get home from work. Rather than standing looking aimlessly into the refrigerator. It’s also a good idea to invest in a crock pot - lifesaver on really busy days.
Whenever I bring someone grocery shopping, especially my son, (not that he really ever wants to go with me!) I always end up spending much more than normal. And also end up buying more junk that usual. It’s easy to agree to what is going in the cart, and mostly, it’s only when you get to the checkout that you see all this extra stuff going through. So my advice is go on your own.
Does Your Child Compete in A Sport?
What Technology Do They Have?
However, a cell is not the same as a laptop or tablet. More and more I find that school assignments must be submitted electronically. This in turn requires your teen to have a device that they can type a report on or complete research. They may have to do group assignments and unfortunately in the current COVID-19 environment that involves some kind of online meet up. So not only do they need a pretty good laptop or tablet which may be a one off payment or a monthly finance package, they also need a good broadband or data package. This is an additional cost per month that is unavoidable if they have schoolwork to complete.
Yes, you may have a family Wi-Fi package in the home but I find no matter how good it is, if everyone is on at the same time, then it starts to throw some people off.
The last thing you want is for them to be in an online class or group study and lose connection. If it is affordable then I would suggest they have their own connection.
Our boy on the other hand didn’t really care about what he wore until he turned 16 or so. Then he would only wear two particular brands which had an average spend of $60-$80 per item.
Because we were already spending a lot on our son’s sport we weren’t spending huge amounts on clothing. But without realizing it the cost of clothing works out at about $40 per month.
The reality is they can’t wear nothing! And the older you teenager gets the more aware (sometimes) they get of fashion or trends. It’s a big business with lots of competition and with more and more online influencers the cost is only set to rise. As I say, in our house you don’t just ‘get’ because you ‘want’. There has to be a need or a special occasion. If you get on that fashion treadmill, it’s very hard to get off.
Everything I have mentioned so far is to do with day to day living. Food, clothing, technology. But teenage spending doesn’t end there. If your teenager has a part time job then they have their own dispensable cash, which is fantastic. Our son does not have a part time job because his training and competitions take up so much time and he wouldn’t be available to work on a regular basis. Due to this, when he wants to go meet up with friends we need to give him money.
We live quite rurally and so when he goes to meet friends he meets them in our local town. They usually just go have food. But money doesn’t go as far as it used to (I sound like my parents!) He gets around $15-$20 per outing. But this (because of competitions and training) is not a weekly event. The average weekly pocket money is generally set at a dollar per year, so a 13 year old would get $13 per week and a 17 year old gets $17 per week.
The other miscellaneous items are things like gas, hair cuts, insurance. Again if they have a job and a car they should be paying for their own gas. But if they are running errands for you, or driving siblings home from school well then the gas should be paid for by the parent or at least subsidized.
Raising a child is certainly not a cheap option. But no one goes into parenting with their financial hat on. Well I know we didn’t.
Everything costs money. It’s how you budget, is what is important. Sometimes it’s hard to live within your means. But if a splurge on the latest fashion item or cell phone for your teenager is going to push you over the edge financially for a month or more then realistically it’s not worth it. No matter how much your teenager begs you for it.
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