Having and raising kids has never been cheap, and like everything else, it’s only getting more expensive.
But a new LendingTree study found that the average essential cost to raise a small child – and we’re talking the bare essentials like food, clothes, transportation and child care—rose nearly 20% between 2016 and 2021.
According to the study, it can cost about $200,390 to raise a kid over 18 years in Florida.
The average family in the Sunshine State makes about $102,300 a year and LendingTree estimates that 18.5% of that goes into raising a single child.
And the more kids you have, the higher that percentage jumps.
And if these figures didn’t seem grim enough, none of these numbers take into account private school, summer camps or any other activities or hobbies your child takes part in.
Compared to the rest of the country though, Florida lands right in the middle.
Families raising a child in Hawaii spend about $314,529 and families in South Carolina spend about $169,327.
Parenting is hard enough, so what can you do to not feel the financial strains?
Experts suggest these four tips:
Save ahead of time
Obviously this is easier said than done, but if you can put some money away and build up some savings while your child is a baby or a toddler, it can help you significantly as your kids grow.
Get creative with childcare
Instead of paying for a sitter, experts say consider trading babysitting services with another family or family members.
Take advantage of programs designed to help
The saying “it takes a village” is not famous for no reason.
There are several programs run by federal, state and local government agencies, as well as those by other organizations, businesses, religious groups and other entities that may be able to help you, depending on your circumstances.
For a full list of resources, click here, or search “family assistance programs near me.”
Don’t forget about your own future
With so many exciting milestones ahead for your little one — and so much of your disposable income being funneled toward kid-related expenses — it can be easy to forget your financial goals and requirements.