Here's How Much Kids Actually Cost and Why
In an article by MoneySense, it’s estimated that Canadian parents will shell out approximately $254,000 on each child, from birth to age 18. This amounts to about $13,000 per year — and every year, it seems these numbers are only climbing higher. When considering the costs of raising kids in Canada, there’s no such thing as too much research. Read on for some average costs that parents can expect to spend per year on children.
Food: $1,800 per yearIn an article by Loans Canada, it’s estimated that the cost of food for kids will amount to about $1,800 per year, a number that varies depending on the age of the child in question.
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Clothing: $874 per yearAccording to a 2015 update to the popular (and widely-referenced) 2011 MoneySense article, in which the publication updated their numbers to account for inflation, the average cost of children’s clothing per year left parents footing the bill at around $874. Keep in mind, in 2019, this number is likely to have gone up.
An article on WhenToSaveMoney.ca notes the consistent expenditure of clothing in the Canadian parents’ annual budget, as kids will continue to grow out of their clothing and need new items frequently as they age, with extracurricular activities and associated uniforms, special equipment, and so on, becoming big-ticket items for already-strained budgets.
Increased transportation: $2,152 per yearTransportation for Canadians is a big-ticket item. While this number accounts for the increased transportation costs incurred by children, it doesn’t account for what parents are already spending on general day-to-day vehicle costs that are unrelated to their parenting duties – things like the vehicle in itself, gas spent going to and from work, insurance that they would be paying regardless, repairs, etc. For example, in a 2017 Statistics Canada survey shows Canadian household spending on transportation ringing in at over $12,000 per year.
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Diapers: $900 per yearWhile this is a cost that will diminish after a few years, it is a major financial burden on any new parent, and one there is no escape from. The exorbitant cost of diapers may vary from child to child, but one constant remains: it is always a big-ticket item, not to mention a frequent purchase during the early years.
A 2018 GlobalNews.ca article notes that the average Canadian child will go through over 2,700 diapers in their first year alone, so for disposable diapers, they’ve quoted this cost at about $550 per year (at least). The popular MoneySense article tags this cost at $900, and a blog post by YoungAndThrifty advises new parents prepare for costs anywhere between $550 and $1200. This one really varies, so we’ve gone on the safe side and tapped the mid-range MoneySense estimate.
Personal care: $260 per yearThis miscellaneous bracket covers items like toothbrush, shampoo, body wash, and all those odds and ends parents will be replenishing throughout the year that pertain to their child’s personal care. Keep in mind, this number is a conservative estimate, and many children will require more than average of certain items, as well as the possibility of specialty items, based on their individual needs. Always assume the number will be higher for your child to ensure you’re calculating with the unexpected in mind.
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Increased household costs: $2,834 per yearThis bracket accounts for any additional costs and adjustments in parents’ household costs per year, incurred by children. This translates to renovations or physical changes made to a household to add space for children, “baby-proof” a home, expansion or relocation of home to accommodate for increased family size, etc.
Healthcare: $255 per yearThis one’s tricky. While most sources still align with the MoneySense calculations, health care is one of the hardest costs to anticipate. This one will depend heavily on your health coverage, insurance, lifestyle and childs’ specific medical needs. Always plan for the worst and hope for the best, because when it comes to healthcare – this is one estimate you just can’t set in stone.
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School: $1,000 per yearFrom lunch bags to field trips and everything inbetween, Canadian parents will spend upwards of $1,000 a year on school-related expenses. This number will rise considerably as your child advances from daycare to grade school and beyond. If that $1,000 per year seems daunting, consider the realities of post-secondary education, which can cost several thousands of dollars — per semester — and is a cost that, for those kids attending, will kick in around their 18th birthday, with most degrees requiring at least 4 years of enrollment.
While there are options for financing these costs — student loans, academic grants, scholarships, etc. — there are no guarantees that your child will qualify for those forms of assistance. This future school cost is one most parents will anticipate early on and begin saving for as soon as possible.
Additional cost of kidsWhat do we mean by “everything else”? Think braces, childcare (in Toronto, for example, this CTV News article reveals Canadian parents pay nearly $1,700 per month), summer camp, swimming lessons, we could go on. It’safe to assume that beyond the basics, Canadian parents will be opening their wallets for several additional and miscellaneous costs throughout their child’s life – from necessary and not-covered-by-health-insurance dental emergencies to pricey summer camps and extracurricular activities.
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The grand total from birth to age 18: $254,000 (roughly)The most accurate and widely-referenced estimates for how much Canadian parents will spend to raise their children from birth to age 18 is pegged at just under $254,000. Keep in mind, these numbers reflect the rate of inflation between 2011 and 2015, making it a safe bet that this number today would likely be higher by the several thousands (at least).
Between the rising costs of living in Canada, and the unique needs and expenses associated to each individual child from birth to age 18, it is almost impossible to nail down a specific tally of total expenditure. It’s fair to say that the average numbers are generally best used as a loose guideline, and in every category, smart Canadian parents know to always plan – and safe – for the unexpected.
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