Being a parent is the most important job I'll ever have. Giving those three smiling faces in the above picture what they need is my number one goal. Is it easy? Heck no! But it's the most rewarding thing that I'll accomplish in my life. It will also be the most expensive. In case you're an expecting parent and wonder how much it costs to raise one, or two, or in my case, three, sit down now.

First of all, nearly every couple who has kids understands that it's going to cost money. Diapers, daycare, clothes, and toys. But that is just the beginning! The website ValuePenguin took a look at child-related spending from families across the country, and here are some of the staggering statistics.

Adjusted for inflation, the average two-child family had annual costs of around $14,000 per child. Over the course of 18 years, the average cost in a two-child home would break down to $252,072 PER CHILD. Each additional child increased total household spending but cut the cost per child. So what are we spending all that money on? Here is the breakdown.

  • Housing - $3,971 per child. This is the cost of utilities, mortgage or rent for the extra bedroom.
  • Food - $2,482 per child. Cost of meals based on average consumption and household use.
  • Childcare and Education - $2.280 per child. Cost of childcare, babysitting, and education. Private tuitions not included.
  • Transportation - $2.127 per child. Cost of transportation to family activities.
  • Health Care - $1.302 per child. Out of pocket health care expenses like premiums and deductibles.
  • Miscellaneous - 1,047 per child. Personal care like hair cuts, and entertainment costs.
  • Clothing - $795 per child.
  • TOTAL COST PER CHILD - $14,004 per year.

Those figures sure add up quickly, don't they? But the crazy thing is they aren't even consistent. Food costs will go up the more teens you have in your home. Transportation costs go up when you have drivers that need to be insured. The survey actually did find the cheapest age to raise your kids. Between the ages of 6 and 8 look to be the most affordable for parents. After that? All bets are off!

I looked at the numbers for a three-child household like ours and crunched the numbers. To raise our three kids from birth to age 18, it will cost us $574,560. Over half a million dollars. You're welcome kiddos!