Kids might be less demanding when they know what you are already investing into their financial support.
“Dad, can I have $20 for a movie and pizza?” All parents have felt like an ATM dispensing cash for this-and-that. Sometimes, we need to dig in our heels and say, “No.” At such times, it’s good to have a few facts in your mental queue to justify why the request was denied.
Raising children costs a small fortune – $1,151 per month on average, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics. Of course, parents shouldn’t rub that figure in a child’s nose. But neither should a parent feel obligated to say “yes” to each and every request for cash.
This means the average family can expect to spend $234,900 to raise a child to age 17. College costs are tacked onto this figure, says USDA.
Some of the major expenses:
- Housing represents the largest expense—30% or $70,000 ($343/month)
- Food accounts for 16% or $37,584 ($184/month)
- Childcare and education expenses amount to 18% or $42,282 ($207/month)
The USDA’s data excludes insurance, transportation, and clothing, not to mention soccer shoes, music lessons, and educational toys/computers.
Of course, family lifestyle differences and location make for wide variations in costs.
My point is kids tend to focus on the immediate request for cash. But offering the information that you are already spending upwards of $1,000/month on their welfare changes the discussion. Consider saying, “The extra cash is not in the budget. Is there something we could drop this month?”
A child asking for a cash handout might appreciate a parent’s frugality once he/she appreciates just how is already being spent per child.