Having children is expensive, or so says our culture. And that mindset is affecting the number of children people are choosing to have. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that the average cost of raising a child is $245,340. So, it’s no surprise that 65 percent of couples cite the cost of raising a child as the reason why they are not having more children.

But, it’s also true that many American families are choosing to make raising a child more expensive than it needs to be.

Anna, the author of This House is Our Home blog, writes that greed is the real source of spending in childrearing:

“Kids aren’t expensive. Greed is.

Kids don’t ‘need’ designer clothes, Etsy outfits, brand new everything, more shoes than they can wear before they grow out of them, and 8 thousand of whatever the latest toy craze is… Kids don’t need a play room full of more toys than they know what to do with. (I’ll go one step further with this one. They don’t even want it. It’s stressful and overwhelming for them. But anyways.) Kids don’t ‘need’ to be signed up for a different so-called enrichment class every night of the week. They need sunshine, fresh air, freedom to move, and space to create.”

Greedy as it may be, providing children with an excess of material goods and constant “enrichment” seems to be the way of the future.

In a recent article for The Atlantic, “HIP” marriages are said to be the future of marriage in this country. HIP stands for high-intensity parenting. The partners in HIP marriages are highly successful and prepared to spend big bucks on their kids:

“Married, well-educated parents are pouring time, money and energy into raising their children. This is a group for whom parenting has become virtually a profession.”

In fact, the article reports that these types of parents are waiting longer to have children in order to have plenty of money to spend on their children. In these families the parenting style is “heavy investment, homework, classes and engagement” and the parents are likely to spend their Saturday coffee cup in hand on the way to “soccer/dance/piano/baseball”.

All of the activities and requisite equipment, coupled with childcare costs when both parents must work to provide the lifestyle, does indeed make raising a child expensive.

But does raising a child have to be so costly? While there’s no getting around basic expenses (although those can be reduced greatly as well), do we really need to provide our children with so much of everything?

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