October 15, 2012

How much does a kid cost? (No, I’m not selling)

by Clint Archer

“How much does a kid cost?” This is a common question asked by young couples contemplating the expansion of their tribe.

If your answer is a specific amount in currency, adjusted for inflation, it would be an obstacle so intimidating that anyone who could do math would die out in one generation., since no one who knew how much it will cost would have children.expensivekid

Yes, these little lives have big needs. Though it’s free to make a baby, the expenses quickly begin to mount on it’s birthday, and escalate every birthday after that, which is why we buy them gifts they won’t want a year from now: to remind us that it’s time for the next cost adjustment.

It starts with the hospital fees to safely get the tike into the expensive part of the world, car seat to get the our new cargo home, diapers ever 3 hours or so, periodic shots to prevent polio and other frightening diseases, occasional doctor’s visits (usually therapy for the mom who is going insane from sleep deprivation), and clothing that will be outgrown in 3 weeks, and a cot that will be dispensable in a few months. And that’s all before they utter a word, learn to walk and need to be shod.

Once you factor in the rising costs of education, you effectively need a small fortune handsome and growing investment portfolio before having your first child. The more you calculate the costs, the less you feel you will ever be able to provide for your offspring. And that’s if you only have one.

Good thing mathematics is unbiblical. (A proposition I wish I had in my senior year of high school.)

In the Bible God’s ability to provide for his children repeatedly shatters any algebraic logic. Jesus fed the 5,000 men and their families from a paltry supply of fish and loaves. The most annoyed Jesus ever got with his own disciples was when they worried about where they would get their next meal.babymoney

I have three children (so far) and it’s not only because I’m bad at mathematic calculation. It’s because I have read the Bible. And you don’t need a doctorate to pick up one of the recurring themes is that God is pretty good at providing for the needs of those who pray to him.

Psalm 37:25-26 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. 

Luke 12:29-31 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.  For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 

Ps 127:3-5  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Oh, and here’s an interestng tidbit from Steven Mosher, the head of the Population Research Institute based in Virginia, USA:

If Americans averaged three children, the Social Security Trust Fund would be solvent forever, without recourse to raising taxes, postponing the age at retirement, or reducing benefits. America would possess a more robust economy and our standard of living would be higher.

See CNA Daily News for their report.

Conclusion: How much does it cost to have a kid? The answer is that it really doesn’t matter.

It is never sinful for married Christian couples to have children biologically or adoptive. If you ever find yourself staring at the mom with 8 kids at the mall, repent and offer her some words of encouragement. And I don’t mean “Wow, lady, you’re brave!” That is what she hears all the time. Rather say, “Your life must be full of blessing. Thank you for your example of having biblical priorities.”

So, if you were thinking its time to have (another) baby and you just need to convince your spouse, try reminding them that God’s vote on the matter is “Yes!” (Ps 127:3-5).

Clint Archer

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Clint has been the pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church since 2005. He lives in Durban, South Africa with his wife and four kids.
  • The comedian of Cripplegate has spoken again. This was great. I had a good laugh at “anyone who could do math would die out in one generation” and “occasional doctor’s visits (usually therapy for the mom who is going insane from sleep deprivation)”. lol I have two boys, five and two years old. Occasionally I still tear up from joy when I think about them. That is when I’m at work and no one is looking. God is amazing for giving us such blessings. Thanks for the laugh and encouragement Clint.

    • pastorarcher

      Always a pleasure. Thanks for your faithful reading, Danny, and for checking in.

  • Brent

    One thing I’d like to comment on is your statement “It is never sinful for married Christian couples to have children biologically or adoptive.” What about parents that literally are not able to feed and clothe their children? At what point do children start to suffer because of the number of siblings? I have a hard enough time fulfilling my duties as a father to my five children. It would not be responsible for me to have 15. I guess this goes back to your previous article “Is folly sin?” and the difference between sin and just plain unwise.

    • pastorarcher

      This is an excellent question; one that many people have on their hearts. I wish I had a clear-cut answer for you. I don’t know where the line is between being “responsible” and being “foolish”. What I do know is that there are poor people with 15 kids, and somehow they make it. I guess it boils down to what one’s priorities are and what “enough” looks like for each family. If anyone else has an answer, let me know.

  • I had a similar conversation with a friend years ago, when we had 2 kids — he and his wife were thinking about having a child. This guy was the ultimate financial planner/worrier, always thinking 40 years out and always looking for a way to make more money — Amway, selling knives, etc.

    He had done the research and told me, “A child costs 1.5 million dollars [or whatever he said] over 18 years. That’s a lot of money.”

    My response, “Hey, I’ll tell you what. Don’t have a kid. And find me in 18 years and I want to see the $1.5 million in your bank account. It won’t be there. God always finds a way to provide for our family when we need it, and we always find a way to expand our lifestyle into our income.”

    He now has 3 beautiful kids.

    • pastorarcher

      Awesome! I LOVE that. Thanks for sharing.

  • CR Tolbert


    I definitely needed to read this encouraging post today. I am 33, have four children and twins on the way. My wife home schools so I’m the sole income and I have to admit I find myself worrying about money. But I trust the Bible and it says that children are a blessing from the LORD and the man to whom God give them has found favor. And I figure, if He’s going to bless me with them, He’s going to provide for them as well.

    God bless!

    • pastorarcher

      Praise God for His abundant blessings. Your quiver is robustly capacitated. A generation from now, none of your kids will be thinking, “Boy I wish we had fewer siblings.” May God provide for you as a testimony of His faithfulness.

    • Invest in those children all your blessings. Those blessings will come back to you your old age as you sow, shall you reap.

  • A quote from a reluctant father of eight, “My children are my greatest wealth and blessing. There was a time, though when I didn’t realize it.” This was said at his twin granddaughter’s BD party. Their dad is my husband’s podiatrist and the best man I’ve ever known in my life.

    • pastorarcher

      Great quote, and honest. Thanks.

  • Kirby

    Sweet! Just this morning my wife mentioned the CBS Early show (or something like that) where a couple calculated the cost of a child to be X (a high number), but they were able to get their costs down to X divided by 5. And, of course, they have a book to sell you which will bring their income to X times 5. I thought, “No wonder people are afraid to have children, everything is about future worry brought backwards to today.”

    Your verses are excellent. Add to that: “don’t worry about tomorrow, today has enough troubles of its own” but God also “feeds the sparrows”. We, and our children, are more valuable than sparrows. We are more valuable to God than sparrows.

    • pastorarcher

      Ha! Brilliant. Thanks for adding those verse, they are apropos.

  • Inclement Nimbus

    Good article Clint. You know sometimes I worry about our economy, jobs, etc and it’s a deterrent to me to have children. I think it’s because I want the best for them and I know that would be costly. That and I don’t look forward to losing sleep with colicky babies 😀

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