How Much Did Our Kids Cost Us in Germany?

If you ask a German person how much do they spend on their kids, he’d probably tell you this standard line: “Until they grow up, a child will cost you a nice appartment in a good location”.

According to official statistics (Statistisches Bundesamt) the costs of children broken down by age group looks like this:

  • 0-6 years: 6000€/year
  • 6-12 years: 7000€/year
  • 12-18 years: 8500€/year

In total, the average cost of a child until their 18th birthday in Germany is ~129.000€.

Seems like a lot for some. For others this might sound cheap. For me it sounds like a lot but looking around at other families and seeing all the expensive and mostly overpriced and avoidable shit they buy for them, I understand why the stats are so high.

We have 2 kids (born in 2012 and 2014) and we’re tracking their expenses right from the beginning. Maybe not every cent is properly tracked but we’redoing our best without going unnecessarily crazy about precision.

For me personally it’s quite interesting to know how much we actually spend on Kids. Not because I want to give them a bill on their 18th birthday: “hey kid, we want our money back!” but because I somehow have the feeling that average families spend far too much. I want to see whether my suspicion is true or not. Also, I keep hearing all these complaints about how expensive kids are. I want real numbers, no stories from spendypants!

The expenses

So here are our numbers about how much we spent on our kids between late 2012 (birth of first child) and end of may 2017 (when we left Germany).

Background infos: our doughter was born late 2012. Our boy was born mid 2014.

Expenses without childcare: 6220€

  • 2012: 880€
  • 2013: 350€
  • 2014: 880€
  • 2015: 1418€
  • 2016: 1663€
  • 2017: 1029€ (until may)

Childcare expenses: 14192€

  • 2013: 1126€ (Miss W started childcare mid 2013)
  • 2014: 3214€
  • 2015: 3750€ (Little W started childcare)
  • 2016: 3276€
  • 2017: 2827€ (until may)

TOTAL CHILD EXPENSES: 20.412€

  • 2012: 880€
  • 2013: 1476€
  • 2014: 4094€
  • 2015: 5167€
  • 2016: 4939€
  • 2017: 3856€ (until may)

Is it much? Ist it little? Does it matter?

No. Not yet!

Why? Because we didn’t see the child benefits and calculate the difference! And this is what I really want to know. Bear with me for a moment…

The income side…

With income, I mean the sum off all the one-off payments (like Mutterschaftsgeld) or running payments (like Family Allowance/Kindergeld) from the state during the time period mentioned above.

Miss W:

  • Mutterschaftsgeld: 1651€
  • Elterngeld (Mrs W+Mr W): 13643€
  • Family Allowance: 10280€
  • TOTAL Miss W: 25.574€

Little W:

  • Mutterschaftsgeld: 1390€
  • Elterngeld (Mrs W+Mr W): 16633€
  • Family Allowance: 6600€
  • TOTAL Little W: 24.623€

TOTAL CHILD INCOME: 50.197€

TOTAL CHILD PROFITS:  29.784€

BAAAM!

Yes. We made almost 30K profit during the first 4.5 years of parenthood! Isn’t that unbelievable?

But, I have some mistakes in the numbers. Arghh!

Where are the mistakes?

Well, these are the positions where I know I made mistakes or didn’t factor stuff in properly:

  • didn’t include presents the Kids or we have received from relatives/friends.
  • we didn’t use the Kindergeld (Family Allowance). We used automatically the ~7000€ of tax deductible ammount which means that our “child-related income” is actually higher. It was simply too complicated to figure it out exactly so I’ve just used the smaller number at the income side. All this stuff is a tiny bit complicated but I’ve tried to explain it here…
  • we didn’t account for loss of income of Mrs W since She didn’t work for years. But…actually, we don’t have to count. Let’s just call it: “free time” or.. “life”. Of course other people can have a different opinion about this and that’s OK.
  • Also, I probably didn’t track the flights/travel cost of the kids properly (but I did try most of the time).That would higher the expenses by a few hundred.

All in all, if I would have calculated everything properly, it would probably higher the “profit”.

But how would future child expenses evolve in Germany?

Well. At some point they would go to school. Which means that we wouldn’t have the expensive childcare positions. I think (I might be wrong), during school time the expenses would not be higher than during this time. Especially because we tend to buy second hand (but good quality)  stuff for our kids. On the other hand I know that we would have had to account for some travel expenses for them for all thos school trips. Anyway. We’re away now, so somebody else should do the math for that period… 🙂

How much do you spend on kids?

 

  • Ex-Studentin

    Hey, this remembers me of this Nico’s article: http://finanzglueck.de/was-kostet-ein-baby/

    I have no kids but I guess, that the there are a lot of circumstances that can influence the costs for a kid:
    1. What does the childcare cost? It can be 400 for a kid each or it can get cheaper for a second kid (depends on the town your living in). Or you have great parents..
    2. Do you need a bigger flat? When you already have enough space, you need to heat more but that’s it. But when you live on 40m2, it can get cosy..
    3. Bed, clothes..you can get second hand or maybe from siblings and cousins.
    4. Diapers!

    Elterngeld is a great thing, but you don’t receive it for a lifetime. And with every year a kid gets more expensive. Especially after school.

    • You’re right to point out the fact that you probably need a bigger flat if you have kids. Theoretically that would mean, your costs are higher.
      But, if you don’t have kids, you’d maybe want to have guests more often and you want to have that room anyway.
      In our case, now that we moved to romania, that extra room brings us nice extra income.
      That extra room also appreciated in price together with the rest of the flat: about 60-80% since we’ve bought it.
      The diapers add up to a nice amount of money but luckily the dpn’t need them for ever… 🙂

  • amber tree

    haha… you should stay in Germany and make more kids! A profitable business.

    Like ex-studentin mentions: what is the impact on your housing? We used to life in an apartment and the day we decided to have kids, we moved to a house with a garden. Not a must, I know, It was more a want on our side.

    We have 2 kids and get now a total monthly allowance of 257 for the 2 of them together (The first born gets less, the second born more). That is 3084€. And some tax advantages of roughly 1K (actually a little less I think). So, total yearly income for 2 kids would be 4K, or 2 K per kid.

    So, the one born in 2012 got us 10K + 1K at birth. That is 11K. Way less than the 25K in Germany.

    Costs that I see for both together: (I do not track on a named basis)
    social activities like gym, ballet, swimming etc: roughly 900€.
    child care during the 15 weeks holiday kids have in Belgium: I estimate that at 800€-1000€, with the tax advantage already factored in.
    holiday: ski is also 1K for both of them (we enjoy some kids reductions with the organisation we use) summer holiday this year: 2000€

    These expenses alone are 2,5K per kid per year. I do understand that a lot of these expenses are my life style. And let me be clear: that is the life I want to life.

    And let us add in food, clothes and the house expenses that are higher.

    Nope, Belgium does not make you earn money on kids.

    • Germany is not a bad country from this perspetive (and many others too) but I’m sure Belgium has other things to offer that balance this out…

  • Ines

    I think there are some hidden costs which are not considering, in particular an important one (moving into a bigger apartment). However, in general, I agree it is important to demystify this idea that having kids is very expensive. It can be, but only if you want. In general, and particular in countries like Germany, it is rather cheap to have kids.

    • Good point Ines. The cost of an extra room should be factored in. We bought our home in 2009 and made a pretty good deal (looking back). But that extra room is part of our weatlch and our net worth. So whether you count it as a child expens is debatable. In our case though, now that we moved abroad and are renting our appartment out, that extra room brings extra rental income, which is nice…
      I fully agree with the second part of your comment!

  • you put the medical costs? house, heat, food, cosmetics, water, outside activities, holiday extra costs?
    Indeed, to have a child is as expensive as I want it. I had months when I bought expensive clothes and toys, and years when I picked second hand and sold unused because the children are growing so fast.

    • The kids were insured for free with the family insurance. Of course I didn’t count for extra electricity, water, heating but I think, even if I calculated them, we would still be well on the plus side. I did count the travel expenses and specific children holiday costs.

      • Since the child started the school , the holidays became 3-4 times more expensive…this is the only heavy section.

  • Right, should look at it that way! Way more positive 🙂 We also track the expenses, but should check the costs one of these days to see how we are doing compared to you guys. Be an interesting excersize!

    • looking forward to seeing your numbers!

  • theFIREstarter

    Wow!!!
    This is NUTS! 🙂

    Child benefit in UK is £82 a month at the moment but you do get some free childcare when the children are 2 years of age.

    I think I need to move to Germany haha!

    • well, in the UK you have something like 12K pounds tax free for dividend income, right? The germans have 800€ per year only…So, depending on which stage you are in life, you might be a lot better off in different countries. Tax law in the EU is fascinating 🙂

      • theFIREstarter

        Yea it’s a fair point, there are always going to be benefits to one country or anothers rules, tax breaks and so on. So it seems like have your kids in Germany while you start building your stash, then move to the UK once you are living off the dividends.

        Well that would have worked until BREXIT happened at least… hah! My stupid fellow Brits ruined it for everyone! 🙁

        • Apparently, one of the best combinations is: live in France (lower house prices), Work in Switzerland (you know why) and do your shopping in Germany (probably cheapest in Mi+Western EU).
          Sorry for Brexit…to be fair, Angie might have a hand in that…

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