The Real Cost of Raising a Child (and How to Spend Less)

Image: Mother and child
Beth Rankin under Creative Commons


That’s how much, on average, it costs to raise a child from infancy to adulthood, according to a recent report on Daily Finance. That estimate has gone up 1.8% since the previous year’s calculation — and it’s only likely to increase over the next several years.

So what’s a totally freaked-out parent-to-be to do?

Take a few deep breaths, enjoy a good night’s sleep while you still can, and take a look at these ways you can earn and save some extra money while raising your little one:

Go Diaper Free

Keeping a kid in diapers can easily cost you $1,500 a year (or more), but you can drastically reduce that figure by practicing elimination communication. Also known as the “diaper-free” method, it involves teaching your child to go to the bathroom from birth, using diapers only when necessary (when you’re going out, at bedtime, etc.)

Many children around the world are raised using this method, even though it may sound odd to us Americans. Curious? Here’s more information on the diaper-free strategy.

Become a Toy Tester

Get paid to have your child do what they’re already doing anyway — playing with toys! Companies want to know how their products will go over with their target audience, so they recruit toy testers to try items out and provide feedback.

You may be asked to answer a survey, write about the toy on your blog or pin about it on Pinterest. In some cases, you get to keep the toy you’ve tested; in others, you get cash compensation. Either way, your kids gets to play with some neat new toys, free of charge. Learn more about toy testing in our recent post.

Sell Your Breast Milk

We’ll give you a second to get over the weirdness of that statement.

Good? Okay, then here are the facts: Some moms produce more breast milk than their baby needs. Other moms can’t produce enough for their child. Some grown adults are even interested in it, as it’s believed to increase athletes’ energy and boost immunity.

If you’re in good health and producing more milk than your baby consumes, you could make up to $20,000 a year selling breast milk online. Doesn’t sound so weird now, does it? (Like this idea? Click to tweet!)

Work From Home

The Internet offers a wealth of earning potential for parents who prefer to stay at home with their tykes. What kind of earning potential? Try up to $150 an hour!

Whether you’re getting paid to watch TV, sell your crafts or give video game lessons, chances are there’s a money-making activity out there for you. All it takes is a little creativity and you can start a booming side business (or even full-time business) from the comfort of your own home, on your own hours (or, more likely, in whatever hours your baby decides to go to sleep).

Your Turn: Do you have an interesting way of making, or saving, money while raising a child? Share your tips in the comments!

Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor who runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.