The financial burden associated with completing a college education has generated most of the news headlines of late, but couples starting out on the road of parenthood also need to be prepared for the costs associated with seeing their child through the formidable, and expensive, Pre-K to 12th grade years, as well. Child care, clothing, dentist appointments, school activities, and Sweet 16 parties all add up.
Here are just a few costs to consider and plan for:
After School and Day Care
The average American family with two working parents will pay $11,666 per year – or $972 a month to make sure their child is taken care of properly in the hours before and after school.
Sports and other Extracurricular Programs
Whether it’s Little League baseball or the Modern Dance Classes, registration for social, skill building programs in your community range in price from $150 to $500 per child – not including the cost of any other required equipment!
Camps, vacations, viewing summer blockbuster movies, even recreation permits for using the town parks and pools can add up. These activities can cost a family more than $600 per child, on average.
Being aware of the realities associated with child rearing and having a financial plan for handling them will help you manage the costs from exceeding your family’s budget. Below are a few tips on keeping these costs in check.
- Plan ahead: Research programs, community centers, and camps near your home for the best services and cost to send your child.
- Determine if your child is extremely enthusiastic and ambitious about a certain sport to consider the possibility of spending more on an elite team rather than a less expensive recreational or school sport
- Look for used or free equipment, possibly passed down from family or friends, to save the multiple expenses on your child’s sport.
- On milestone events like birthdays, communions, and bar/bat-mitzvah’s, ask your family and friends to contribute to your financial goals for your children. Gift registries, such as Present Value, allow you to share with family and friends what those goals are, along with the number you need to get there. This type of gifting make people feel like they are contributing to the success of your child, rather than just throwing money into an envelope.