The Real Cost Of Raising A Child

Eloise is getting braces on July 24th. This expense has taken me by surprise. Kind of like the expense of raising children at all. Like who knew how much you would spend on other kid’s birthday presents or that you’d have to donate blood to afford piano lessons.  I mean you’ve seen the latest report, but I think parents should be informed of these expenses upon hospital check-out. You know, so we don’t have a heart-attack nine years later.

(Thank you Mom and Dad for my braces in 1981 – Now I know your financial pain. Totally worth it though right?)


Dear Ms. Morrison and Mr. Duncan,


We hope you enjoy your new daughter. It was our pleasure serving you in our hospital. Before you leave make sure you make your full payment of $20,000 for our services of your c-section birth as well as nursing and doctor time billed for your three day stay. It’s been such a joy having you here.


We’d also like to leave you with an itemized bill of future expenditures to get your child to the age of 18 in case you’d like us to put you on a payment plan now or you could just pay all of this upfront avoiding any possible inflation charges.

-diapers and wipes $5000

-food $30,000

-nursery set-up plus at least four bedroom remodels before college $4000

-daycare and preschool $40,000

-250 birthday parties attended for friends x $20 a present = $5000

– orthodontia $7000

-Horse camp and other Summer camps to keep up with the Joneses $20,000

-books and school supplies $10,000

-Piano $1200

-Piano lessons $13,000

-Dance classes $14,000

– Dance costumes $1500

-American Girl dolls and accessories $800

-6th grade trip to France $3000

– clothing $20,000

-health insurance premiums $20,000

-broken arm $4000(high deductible insurance)

-dental cleanings(no insurance) $3200

– glasses and eye appointments $3000

– birthday parties hosted $4000

-Taylor Swift concert tickets $400

-Minivan to fit the family $26,000

-Incremental cost to move to a larger house to fit the family divided by 3 kids $40,000

-pool passes $1500

This bill of $276,600 does not take into consideration any educational expenses you will incur if you choose to send your child to private school or if you like take them to Disney World and YOU KNOW YOU WILL.  We are also making the assumption that once she receives her drivers license she will be required to pay for the car, gas and insurance. If you choose to pay for this please add $30,000 to this total or tell your child to get a job.



Your empty wallet


P.S. We’ll see you in just two shorts years for baby #2! You had better start saving now!


On a totally related note – I will blog for braces! xoxo

About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, world traveler, and marathon runner. I would love for you to contact me at

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  1. lena says

    The hospital bill for my son’s birth alone was nearly $200,000! Too bad there isn’t just a premium for children and after you reach it, they’re free or just a co-pay. Yikes.

  2. says

    I think you pretty much nailed it, kids are expensive, no joke! But if hospitals actually sent this letter home with new parents, they would probably be re-admitting half of the dads with heart palpitations! Perhaps that early parenting ignorance really is bliss…

    • admin says

      I know – besides diapers I really don’t remember thinking about the costs at all.

    • admin says

      HA! Yes all 3 of my girls will need braces so when we go in for the appointment next month maybe we should bring over a car brochure and just ask her to pick one out.

    • admin says

      Braces are kind of like buying a car now. Instead of just telling you $7000 total they say “and for only $125 a month over 5 years YOU can have a child with straight teeth!”

  3. says

    I always loved that picture of you:) If they gave us projected costs I think people would leave the children at the hospital!! You forgot to mention additional car insurance for the car they will want…. You’ll make it through all of this. The part about the job is such a good idea:)

  4. mia says

    You forgot the money for therapy for mom along with meds to survive teen years….which btw start around age 10. 😀

  5. says

    I’ve been procrastinating on taking Ben to the orthodontist. It’s inevitable. He’s got one messed up grill already.
    Elaine recently posted..Dad Love

    • admin says

      Don’t laugh…but I do. I come from a mother who saved everything.(And yes, I even still have those braces in some ziplock bag)

    • admin says

      Just knowing that I won’t be able to step foot into Anthropologie for the next 11 years is depressing.

  6. says

    Yay! I didn’t realize how much I’d be saving by my daughter having no interest in American Girl dolls! And that we’ll never own a minivan!

    Also – you were adorbs! Well, you still are, of course, but look at that mouthful of metal! Where was your head gear?


    The Only Rosenberg Child to Not Need Braces
    Cheryl @ Mommypants recently posted..Happy Father’s Day

    • admin says

      No braces – oh you were so lucky..but you never got to experience the thrill of getting your braces locked together while kissing that weird boy in 8th grade.

  7. says

    Lol. Yes, I had no idea how expensive it would be. And it doesn’t remotely help that I’m one of those people that likes to buy things to show their love (its an actual LOVE LANGUAGE. I read about it!) so my children have all my money way down in the red and lots and lots of things they do not need. But they’re well dressed, entertained, and healthy!
    Marta recently posted..What My 16 Year Old Self Told Me

  8. says

    Oh my goodness.

    However you can totally send me all of your eldest daughter’s clothes that are too small. You know they are totally going to go out of fashion before the other two get to wear them. That should defray costs a bit. 😉
    Lady Jennie recently posted..Celestial Dew

    • admin says

      Oh that would be a brilliant idea – until you see all the things with bling on them… xo

  9. says

    I might have thrown up a little in my mouth after seeing this.

    At first I thought I had it better since I have boys. Then I thought about sports equipment/lessons/leagues and fell over holding my bank card and sobbing.
    Katie recently posted..make you smile

  10. says

    This post sums up precisely why I (lovingly) call my children “black suckholes of financial need.”
    They will both need braces (yes, perhaps that pacifier #2 had until he was SIX has something to do about it, but at the time my need sleep through the night & thus his need for a no-nightmare-pacifier outweighed the thought of future orthodontia). One small note: for those raising children in cities, an urban tax of about 20% should be added on: taxis, outsourcing birthday parties (no room in an apartment for the entire freaking 3rd grade), the need for a chiropractor after heaving a stroller up & down the subway stairs for six years…godalmighty. If those damn kids don’t spring for top-of-the-line Depends when I’m old, I’m going to die and haunt them forever. I’ll pop out when they have sex and fuck them up even more than I already have. Heh. Revenge is sweet.
    deborah l quinn recently which we discuss unicorns, world religions, and whether barack IS in fact a muslim

  11. says

    I remember, as a kid, going crazy watching my dad fill out all of the insurance paperwork around the braces my sister & I wore. And thinking that it looked like absolute torture.

    And now I’m thinking about it, myself, and I’m scared shitless.

    (in regards to a previous comment I put here, my dad, then, started screwing the orthodontist — just to explain why there’s a strained relationship there)

    And dear god, are diapers expensive. I actually don’t mind picking up after the accidents during potty training (though the pooping on the floor is certainly not fun) because I realize it’s working toward “not having to buy diapers,” and that’s a very, very good thing.

    I’m totally planning on learning how to sew, and to become a better cook, just to make things a little less expensive. Leila will totally want to wear fashionable clothes made by her dad, right?
    John recently posted..Where I realize that not all trips for ice cream are created equally

  12. says

    A couple of expenses we didn’t have was having to bail either you or your brother out of jail Thank God for small favors:)