What Does A Child Cost? – How To Master The Financial Challenges

Until the age of 18, children cost a small fortune. It is not unusual for it to take until they are 25 before they are financially independent of their parents. At the same time, demands grow as children get older, at least until their teens are over. This presents parents with enormous financial challenges. We tell you what costs you can expect for your child and what subsidies and measures you can take to master the burdens.

What Parents Spend Up To The Age Of 25

Parents spend an average of around 148,000 euros per child on their offspring – and that alone until the age of 18. It can take a few years before the children are financially independent. What’s more, this figure only refers to the family’s the family’s private consumer spending on the children i.e., all costs above and beyond this are not included.

The 148,000 euros are divided into three phases:

  • Baby And Toddler: In this phase, parents pay an average of 42,270 euros. That’s about 587 euros a month.
  • School Child: In the second phase, total costs rise to around 49,390 euros – monthly consumer spending is now around 686 euros.
  • Adolescent: In the third phase, costs are even higher, totaling 56,450 euros. Accordingly, the monthly costs rise to around 784 euros.

But what exactly do the expenses in the individual phases composed of? Among the items are:

  • Food: Around 26,200 euros.
  • Clothing And Shoes: Around 10,950 euros.
  • Health: Around 5,300 euros.
  • Housing: Around 30,000 euros.
  • Toys And Hobbies: Around 4,750 euros.
  • Childcare: Around 3,670 euros.

From Birth To Kindergarten

When a child enters your life, it completely turns your everyday life upside down. But also in terms of your expenses, it is now first in the foreground. These purchases are incurred from birth to kindergarten.

The Initial Equipment

Bed, changing unit, stroller, car seat, clothes, care products – the list, of what is included in the initial equipment for babies is long. Even if you get one or the other as a gift or are allowed to borrow it, there are still many cost items left. On average, about 3,000 euros are due for the first equipment.

Kinderwagen, Wickelkommode und Babykleidung: Die ersten Kosten werden für die Erstausstattung deines Kinds fällig
Strollers, changing tables and baby clothes: The first costs come due for your child’s initial equipment.


For each child, 1,000 euros are spent on diapers alone. Per month, it’s about 60 euros for diapers, cream and powder.

A Bigger Car

In most cases, parents-to-be acquire a new, larger car, the classic “family car”, as soon as offspring are announced. Not only does the new car come with the initial cost, but it may also come with more expensive insurance.

Stuff For Kindergarten

The first years fly by and sooner than you would like, the first day at kindergarten is just around the corner. In addition to a kindergarten bag, lunch box and water bottle, your child will now need mud pants, rubber boots, sports clothes and slippers that can stay at kindergarten.

The Elementary School Years

Once your child starts school, he or she will bring home new financial challenges. We tell you what to expect during the primary school years.

Stifte, Mäppchen und Hefte braucht dein Kind für die Grundschule.
Pencils, pencil cases and notebooks your child will need for elementary school.


For the first day of school, parents have a long list of things that need to be purchased. On it are among other things:

  • School bag
  • Pencil case
  • Purse
  • Gym bag
  • Schoolbooks
  • Notebooks
  • Pens
  • Painting and handicraft stuff
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Some of the materials have to be bought anew every year. Such a school enrollment is an expensive affair, especially since for the big day the school bag is filled and a small celebration is organized.

First Hobbies

Most children begin to take an interest in a hobby they would like to pursue in their free time no later than elementary school age. In principle, hobbies are a good thing, because they give children something to do in their free time and encourage them in certain areas. In terms of price, there is just as wide a range as there is in what is on offer. Depending on which hobby your child chooses, it can be expensive.

Vacation With The Whole Family

At the latest when the children are a bit older, the topic of family vacations becomes interesting. It is important that there are enough offers for children on site. The hotel should also be child-friendly. The climate should be mild so that you can do a lot together on vacation. All these points influence the choice of the vacation country and the location in which you stay – this may be reflected in the price.

The Desire For A Pet

Many children sooner or later wish for a cat, a dog or another pet. This brings joy to the whole family, but it also brings additional work and expenses. In addition to the purchase of the animal and necessary accessories, there are costs for veterinary treatment and food. In the case of dogs, there is a dog tax on top of that.

Birthday Celebrations Of The Children

Birthdays are very special for children. The best way for them to celebrate their big day is with their friends. Starting with the invitation cards to the gift to the supply and the employment program of the small party round, some costs come together for a child birthday. After all, there should be no boredom.

Pocket Money

Children as young as elementary school often receive regular pocket money from which they can buy things. Even if this is only one or two euros at the beginning, it is not an insignificant cost – especially since the pocket money increases over the years.

These cost items are compounded by higher demands for toys, media and consumer electronics. Factors such as food consumption also have a greater impact as children get older.

The Teen Age

Im Teenie-Alter bekommen viele junge Erwachsene ihr erstes Smartphone.
In their teens, many young adults get their first smartphone.

During puberty, a lot changes in the way parents and children live together. Especially because teenagers increasingly have a mind of their own and like to assert it in financial matters as well. A key point here is the teenagers’ demands. Especially with regard to their appearance, monthly pocket money, room furnishings and leisure activities.

Fashion-Conscious Teenagers

Teenagers place a particularly high value on their appearance. Especially when it comes to clothing, they always want to be up to date with the latest fashions. It can happen that the school backpack is suddenly declared an absolute no-go and a new one is needed. A real challenge for the parental wallet!

Fulfilling Big Wishes

By the time you’re a teenager , you’ll want a cell phone – preferably a new model, of course. These are notoriously expensive and by no means the only wish for which parents have to dig deeper into their pockets. Game consoles, computers and the like are now also on the list. Some young people want to get their moped license at 16, but at the latest when it comes to getting their car license, their parents are asked for an injection of cash.

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New Room Furnishings

Get rid of the kids’ stuff! Teenagers also want to furnish their rooms at home according to their age and adapt them to their new needs – of course not without the financial support of their parents. A new coat of paint, new furniture, maybe even a new ceiling light and new curtains: that quickly adds up to a few hundred euros.

Education And Studies

Even after graduating from school, children are still financially dependent on their parents because they do not yet earn enough money. Even with a part-time job, they need your help to cover the costs of their studies. Even trainees are usually not able to support themselves completely on their small salaries. Many trainees and students still live at home until their first permanent position and enjoy “Hotel Mama” including room and board.

Im Studium oder während der Ausbildung sind viele Kinder noch finanziell abhängig von ihren Eltern.
During their studies or training, many children are still financially dependent on their parents.

Financial Support For Parents

Fortunately, parents do not have to face the financial challenges of having a child alone. There are several government funds you can apply for to help your child.

Grants With Baby

By law, pregnant women are not allowed to work six weeks before and eight weeks after giving birth. Therefore, mothers are entitled to maternity benefits during this time . To receive the money, you must apply to your health insurance company or to the Federal Insurance Office in Bonn if you have private insurance or are only marginally employed.

Parents who stay at home during the first twelve months after the baby is born receive parental allowance. The amount is 65 percent of the net income, but at least 300 euros. Remember to submit your application to the relevant parental allowance office in good time . Retroactive amounts can be paid for a maximum of three months.

Subsidies For Larger Children

All children are entitled to child benefits, which you can apply for at the family benefits office of the employment agency. Civil servants and employees at state institutions receive the child benefit directly from the employer together with their salary.

  • In principle, child benefit is paid until the child reaches the age of 18.
  • Under certain circumstances, the entitlement is extended until the child reaches the age of 25.

There is also financial support for families in terms of old-age provision: the riester pension, with an annual child allowance of 185 euros per child, is a particularly attractive form of investment.

Children also bring advantages in terms of taxes: The tax office checks whether the child allowance is sufficient for you as a taxpayer or whether a child allow anceis granted. This is a tax saving that is granted when you file your income tax return.

If you are insured through the statutory health insurance, your children are automatically covered. This saves you a lot of costs compared to private health insurance, where each family member has to be insured individually.

Subsidies For Low Income

One of the subsidies that parents with low incomes can fall back on is the so-called housewife loan. Generally, this form of credit is aimedat groups of people with no or only marginal income. This includes housewives and househusbands, but also job seekers, young professionals , single parents and self-employed people with an uncertain income. To get the loan, you must have a good credit rating – as with other loans. However, the loan amounts are a few hundred or thousand euros. If you offer the bank additional security in the form of a guarantor, you can increase the amount up to 50,000 euros.

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Many working parents need financial support in addition to their income, because otherwise there is not enough money to provide for their children. This is guaranteed by the so-called child supplement.

  • Parents are entitled to this if they have a minimum income of 900 euros (single parents 600 euros) per month, receive child benefit and, together with the supplement, do not exceed the fixed maximum limit.
  • The child supplement is paid for each unmarried child up to the age of 25, with the benefit amounting to a maximum of 170 euros per month.
Eltern haben Anspruch auf den Kinderzuschlag.
Parents are entitled to the child supplement.

For parents with a low income, it is a great financial challenge every year to equip the child with all the necessary books and work materials for school. But there is also support for this case, namely the school supplies package. This is a payment of 100 euros that can be spent on school books, exercise books and other school supplies.

You can claim up to two-thirds, but no more than 400 euros a year, of the amounts you pay as childcare costs for a day nursery or daycare center against tax . If both parents work, the rule applies until the child turns 14. Otherwise, it is only possible to declare these costs as special expenses on your tax return between the ages of three and six.

Support For Single Parents

In addition, there are special support funds for single parents, because they often have to raise their children under difficult conditions. In the event that the children live with one parent and receive no or no regular maintenance from the other parent, the state provides an advance on maintenance payments.

  • Children receive this support until they reach the age of 12.
  • Provided they do not receive benefits under Book II of the Social Code (SGB II) or the single parent in receipt of SGB II benefits earns at least 600 euros gross, children also receive the advance on maintenance payments until they reach the age of 18.

If you are raising your child without a partner (whether ex or new partner), you are entitled to a special tax allowance. This so-called relief contribution for single parents reduces your tax burden.

  • For the first child, the amount is 1,908 euros.
  • For each additional child, the amount increases by 240 euros.

Subsidies And Financial Injections For The Children

Not only the parents are entitled to state support – the offspring can also improve their finances through subsidies and thus afford more without being on the parents’ pocket.

Auch Kinder können einen Antrag auf staatliche Förderung stellen.
Children can also apply for state support.


The Federal Training Assistance Act, or BAföG for short, is typically a financial support for students in order to be able to meet the costs incurred for studying and living. However, students who want to obtain a vocational qualification or a secondary school diploma can also receive BAföG.

The money is intended to create a good basis for professional success. The amount of BAföG depends on the total income of the parents and whether the applicant still lives at home or not. The maximum rate is currently 735 euros per month.

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Another way your child can easily get more money is a scholarship. These grants for education are awarded not only to students, but also to pupils. Good grades are not always a prerequisite to qualify for the financial injection.

There are many different areas for which scholarships are awarded, such as political or social commitment. Pupils and students can apply for a wide range of scholarships every year from the organizations and foundations that support the gifted.

Housing Subsidy

From the age of 16, young people can apply for a housing subsidy and have the credit paid out after seven years without having to purchase property for it. The only requirement is that the contract must have been taken out before the age of 25.

Children Should Earn Money Themselves

In addition to all these options for financial support for parents and children, offspring of a certain age can and should supplement their account balance themselves.

Part-Time Jobs For Young People

Children are allowed to work from the age of 13. Up to the age of 15, however, the permission of the parents is required. In addition, children of this age are allowed to work a maximum of two hours a day to supplement their pocket money, and not before school or after 6 pm. These regulations of the Youth Employment Protection Act (JArbSchG) also apply during vacations.

Zeitung austragen, Nachhilfe geben, Babys sitten: Durch kleine Jobs bessern sich viele Jugendliche ihr Taschengeld auf.
Delivering newspapers, tutoring, babysitting: Many young people supplement their pocket money with small jobs.

Suitable part-time jobs for young people of this age are:

  • Delivering newspapers
  • Walking dogs
  • Babysitting
  • Tutoring

Young people are not allowed to take on a regular vacation job until they are 16 years old and work four weeks a year. At that age, jobs in the food service industry are also allowed. Young people between the ages of 15 and 18 who are no longer in school are allowed to work eight hours a day, but no more than 40 hours a week.

Part-Time Jobs For Students

At the latest after graduation or during their studies, your child should be able to support themselves financially, at least to a certain extent. The higher the demands on the lifestyle, the more money your offspring will have to earn with side jobs. There are a number of ways to do this.

Während des Studiums arbeiten viele junge Erwachsene als Lieferant.
During their studies, many young adults work as suppliers.

Typical part-time jobs for students that pay well include:

  • Waiter
  • Bartender
  • Babysitter
  • Tutor
  • Promoter
  • Courier driver
  • Inventory helper
  • Pet sitter
  • Call center agent

Temporary jobs in retail are also popular with students. In addition, the universities themselves regularly advertise jobs for student assistants in the individual departments.

If your child decides on a part-time job in the industry in which he or she would like to work later on, he or she can already gain some practical experience. This, in turn, always looks good on a resume for future job applications.


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