Select Page

Once you get past the diaper, formula, daycare years, you might think that the cost of parenting goes down. While there is a bit of a reprise in some ways once kids are out of diapers and in school, it isn’t as much as you might think because school costs fill in the gaps and demand freed up funds. Then, when your kids become preteens and teenagers, the costs associated with providing for their needs can become astronomical. Some families find themselves in need of extra income, having to cut out other spending, etc. as a way to make ends meet.

How Much Does it Really Cost to Parent a Teen?

The US Department of Agriculture determined the average cost of raising a child from birth through the age of 18. They determined the cost to be $190,980 to clothe, entertain, feed and house a child until they turn 18 years of age. The research proved that the preteen and teenage years took the heaviest toll. To put this in perspective, this translates to $10,610 a year, but of course, you have to assume the teenage years would average more than this amount. Some studies estimated the cost to be even greater at $233, 610 yearly (not including college) to raise a child. Either way, it’s a great deal of money to be sure.

Why Raising Teenagers Cost So Much

Obviously, teenagers consume a great deal of food and child discounts are no more, so food is a big part of what costs so much to raise a teen. Cell phones, clothing tastes and demands are also a factor. That isn’t the most impactful cost, though. The following are just a few of the reasons raising teens is so extremely expensive:

  • Car Insurance: If your teen becomes a driver at age 16, you can expect a hefty increase in your car insurance premiums, simply for adding them as a driver. This is especially true if your teen happens to be male. According to, on average, adding one teen driver to your policy will increase your premium by a whopping 44%, with an average increase of $2,999 for teens aged 16 through 19. This rate hike is due to the fact that teens are considered the riskiest drivers on the roads, more likely than any other age group to wreck. Therefore, insurance companies increase premiums to make up for the increased risk of accident claims.
  • Car: If you decide to give your child their own car, this is yet another cost that comes into play during the teen years. Not only do you have to come up with the money to purchase a car, but you also have to pay for tires, oil changes and other maintenance required to keep your teen’s car road worthy. You might get lucky and be able to share a car with your teen or have them pitch in for the purchase of their own car, or to take care of it, but many times, teens just aren’t able to financially contribute much.
  • School Expenses: As your kids move closer to graduation, you can expect the school costs to continue to rise. Of course, senior year is where a huge chunk of this spending happens. You can expect to pay for cap and gown, graduation invitations, college application fees, class ring (other jewelry), prom, graduation party, senior photos, yearbooks, senior trips and more. The cost can really add up and that is only one year of high school.

As you can see from the information above, raising teens is a strain not only on the emotions but the wallet as well. It’s the wise parent who plans for these financially stressful years ahead of time if possible. However, if you are in the middle of these years, know it does get easier, this is the peak cost season (hopefully), well after they are out of college anyway. Hang in there!