Bringing up children is something that could be considered priceless. Being a parent is one of the most worthwhile things a person could spend their life doing. Having said that, there are many individuals who are curious about the true and total cost of raising a child. The answer is not for the faint of heart, but it can give you some insight as to how much you may end up spending over the course of your child’s years of living with you.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has researched this area, and has provided us with a figure. The average cost of raising a child born in 2013 from birth to age 18 is $245,000 for an average, middle-class family. That is a shock-inducing amount to the ears of most who hear it. “How can this be true?” many individuals wonder. The truth is that caring for children adds up. There are many expenses that contribute to this figure, and here is how the estimate came to be.

Housing Expenses and Transportation

The largest chunk of money that you should expect to spend is for housing and transportation expenses for your little one. This will likely eat up about 2/5 of the financial estimate. Since having children generally includes the need for a larger home, it is easy to see how this can add up. Throw in the cost of playing taxi driver to your child as you take them to and from school and after-school activities, and you can see why this is the main portion of expenses.

Daycare and Education

Approximately 1/6 of your expenses towards raising your child will be spent on childcare and education. Daycare is often a necessary choice when raising a child, and it can eat away a large portion of a parent’s take-home pay. Don’t be surprised to look at your childcare bill and wonder whether working is making or taking your money, once you add in this cost.

What They Eat

Food is another large expense that a parent must deal with, and it will consume about 1/6 of your child-rearing costs. With some of the expenses such as housing, it is possible to live frugally and save on the cost if you can learn to live with less. Food is difficult to cut expenses on as every person added onto the grocery bill multiplies the cost. If your child has food allergies that require you to buy special groceries, this can cause the bill to go up even more.

What They Wear

Another item your child cannot live without is clothing. This may cost you about 1/7 of your total expenses. If you are lucky enough to have a friend or relative who gifts your child with hand-me-downs, consider yourself lucky. Often once a child reaches their teen years, they have specific taste in clothing style, and it is no longer always a possibility to obtain free clothing that your child can agree with you about.

Raising children is not an inexpensive task. Seeing the estimate alone can cause an individual to reconsider having children. The thing is, no one can put a price on what an amazing experience it is to be a parent. Those who have been blessed with children will agree that it is worth every bit of stress and savings in order to have the opportunity to be a parent to those children.