Kids are expensive. No one can argue with that. But are they less expensive than we think? Are we spending more on our kids than we have to? Are we spoiling them?
The average U.S. two parent household with kids spends an additional $11,348 per year compared to a two person house without children, according to a 2010 census report. The lion’s share of this goes toward food ($2,382), shelter ($2,699), transportation ($1,758) and education ($1,296). Utilities and clothing are also high, between $700 and $800 per year. Childless couples spend $137 more in alcohol, and $1,286 in healthcare, surprisingly. But the big question is the $629 more in entertainment for couples with children: how much stuff does a kid really need?
Bundle.com recently conducted a survey to conclude which cities across the country “spoil their kids the most.” Manhattan, New York reigned supreme by spending 90% above the national average, followed by Brooklyn at 67%. Atlanta ranked 7th spending 17% above the average. Nashville spent the average, and Madison, Wisconsin spent the least at 58% below the average.
If you just spent $3,500 on a baby crib, chances are you are not only spoiling your child, but you have the buying power of Jay-Z and Beyoncé. If you are buying your two year old “Babyccinos” when you go to the coffee shop, then you are probably spending more than you need to.
What about more common child luxuries? Does a 10 year old need their own cell phone? According to a survey from the Center on Media and Health, 22% of kids 6 to 9 have cell phones. The number jumps to 60% of those 10-14. So if you don’t give you kid a cell phone by the time they’re in high school, you are the minority.
We all want to give our children the best. However, consider this: if you are spending more on luxury items for your child than yourself, you might be setting the child up for disappointment. People tend to expect that they will receive the same or more as they get older and have to work harder. So when your kid finally is on their own and they can’t afford what they used to get for free, they are in for a rude awakening. Think of it this way, your child will eventually be an adult like you. When they get there, will they be willing to make the personal sacrifices it takes to raise children of their own?
U.S. Census Consumer Expenditures 2010: http://www.bls.gov/cex/2010/Standard/cucomp.pdf
Bundle.com Cities that Spoil Their Kids the Most: http://www.bundle.com/article/cities-spoil-their-kids-most/
The Brooklyn Paper Babyccinos: http://brooklynpaper.com/stories/35/7/all_brooklynbabycinnos_2012_02_17_bk.html
WIVB 4 Should Kids have Cell Phones? http://www.wivb.com/dpp/news/local/should-kids-have-cell-phones