Can you raise a child for $3,000 a year?

“Having a child is a major commitment, a commitment that requires spending a significant amount of money. When babies are born, they don’t need much more than food and diapers. There’s no denying children cost money, but not everyone agrees parents have to spend a quarter million to raise a baby to adulthood. Be conservative and use a little common sense. Keep in mind that in 20 years, your baby will not remember whether you used name brand or generic diapers or bought his/her clothes at a consignment sale.”

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I must be doing it wrong.

As a well-documented thrifty, nifty, and sometimes creative gal, I’m the first to humbly admit I can’t do it — I can’t raise my kid on a budget of $3,000 a year. That’s $250 a month, people.

A recent report by The Fraser Institute graciously outlines my failings as a so-called fiscally responsible parent, saying it’s never been easier “financially” to raise a kid in Canada, especially if parents only foot the bill for the necessities, such as: food, clothing, personal care, household supplies, recreation, and school supplies.


After reading the 65-page report a third time (mostly in disbelief), I nearly cried (like a baby) when the author Christopher A. Sarlo (an economics professor) said his $3,000 to $4,500 yearly range for raising a healthy child to age 18 could be cut further since he excluded “savings strategies such as home gardens, sewing and knitting clothing, couponing and taking advantage of sales, own repair and maintenance work in the home, etc.” in the total child-rearing tally.

Are you kidding me?

Many child cost studies cite the annual expense per kid in the $10,000 to $15,000 range. The Fraser Institute’s tally is a spectacularly thrifty bargain in comparison. I’m into it.

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