$812,000: The cost of raising two children

A typical middle-income family earning $2200 a week now spends $812,000 to raise two children to the age of 24, compared to $537,000 back in 2007.

And spending on kids is outpacing our pay rises, with earnings for a middle-income family increasing by just 25% over the last six years.

For young parents Sasha Fox and Adam Taylor in the early years of family life with their three-year old daughter Chiana, there’s a long road of choices and costs ahead.

At today’s consumption levels Sasha and Adam will spend at least $40,000 on food for Chiana by the time she reaches the age of 24.

They also face transport costs of at least $50,000.

“I suppose it’s just something that we’ll deal with as it comes,” Ms Fox said.

“We’ve both always worked so we don’t think it will be a worry for the future.”

NATSEM principal research fellow Ben Phillips said while the cost of raising kids was significant, much of the increased costs were “discretionary”, with the big driver of the latest spending increase due to education choices.

While low income families only spend $11,000 per child on education after government assistance, a high-income family will lavish almost ten times that on their kids – $95,000 per child.

“I didn’t do private schooling and I don’t think it’s necessary – I want to have a good and full education, but there are so many ways you can find a vocation,” Ms Fox said.

But Chiana does attend child-care three days a week now that Ms Fox is slowly returning to full-time work. She also enjoys dance classes and swimming lessons.

“I wouldn’t want her to miss those opportunities – I want to give her as full an experience of life as I can,” Ms Fox said.

For recreational privileges, the family can expect to fork out at least $26,000 while their child is at home, while middle-income earners with two kids spend $100,000.


There’s no silver bullet and no secrets – gradual saving is mundane but it works.
The golden rule is try to save 15% of your income
Need to put aside funds as early as possible by cutting “lazy spending” and non-essentials
Have a goal but don’t give up if you miss it: We often overestimate what we can do in the short-term and underestimate what we can do in the long-term.
Op-shops, garage sales, menu planning, car sharing are all things that can help save valuable cash.

* Courtesy of Rich Rutten from RetireInvest