Wowsers! The Real Costs of Raising Kids Revealed – How Do You Fare?

Remember the days when you would go to the shops and come back with a car boot full of pretty things for yourself? Now, most of our shopping is done online AND the majority of our purchases are for our kids. One of the many #joysofparenthood.

Not that we’re complaining – raising tiny humans is 100% worth the costs, even if it means we need to triple the amount we’re spending on coffee just to keep up to the energetic little turds.

But, do you know the true costs of raising kids? Mum Central decided to get the trusty calculator out to find out. Turns out, our darling little humans are costing us A LOT more than just our sanity.

Cost of raising kids: For two kids, parents are looking at over $17,000 a year (over $300,000 for 18 years).

I know, CRAZY, right? No wonder our bank accounts curse us at times!

cost of raising kidsWhere did these numbers come from? 

The Australian Institute of Family Studies published a very extensive report in 2017. However, they did forget to take into account a few things, such as Christmas presents and takeaway food, which we added in (we have included an * beside these categories).

There is also the income we lose during the years we stay home with them and when they get sick, which, if your kids are like mine, seems like a weekly thing (thanks a lot, daycare!).

The numbers are based on a low-income household with two kids – a six-year-old girl and a ten-year-old boy.

So your numbers may be a lot higher depending on your circumstances, especially if your kids go to private school or if you’ve got older children who need braces and don’t have family health insurance or play competitive sport.

The numbers may also be quite a lot higher if you eat out a lot or if your kids request multiple snacks a day. I swear my kids would eat the estimated weekly food budget in ONE day if they had access to the pantry. Which, thanks to COVID-19, they do.

Have a look at the breakdown of costs below and let us know if your family is above or below these budgets.

An estimate to how much we’re spending a year on our kids 

For a family with two kids

Remember, these are the costs for the KIDS only. Husbands don’t count.

  • Food (groceries) – $78 a week/ $4,560 a year
  • Additional food* (tuck shop, takeaway) – $20 a week / $1,040 a year
  • Clothing and footwear – $17 a week / $884 a year
  • Household goods and services – $40 a week / $2,080 a year
  • Transportation – $24 a week / $1,248 a year
  • Health – $10 a week / $520 a year
  • Personal care – $10 a week / $520 a year
  • Recreation – $37 a week / $1,924 a year
  • Education –  $62 a week / $3,225 a year
  • Entertainment* (movies, concerts, indoor playgrounds, Vbucks for Fortnite, etc- $20 a week / $1.040 a year
  • Occasions* (Christmas gifts, birthday parties, gifts for other children’s birthdays, etc) – $20 a week /$1,040 a year

Total weekly cost: $338

Total annual cost: $17,576

Additional costs of raising kids – income lost

This number also doesn’t take into account the lost income from maternity leave, sick days, etc (which is actually incredibly high).

According to, every family needs to factor in over $300,000 over 18 years for the cost of lost income. This equates to around $17,000 per year. Yikes!

Again, this number will vary depending on how much time you take off and what your income is. This number may also be a lot higher if your little one has health issues. 

Whatever the case, Wowsers!!

No wonder it’s so hard to save anything! Of course, our kids are worth every cent, well, almost every cent, but, still – it would be great to have a bit of cash to spend on ourselves and our online shopping addictions.

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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