How Much Does It Cost To Raise A 2-Year-Old?

Raising kids is expensive, but it is hard to find out how much it costs to raise a child at different ages. Obviously, this varies from family to family, but real-world information can be helpful to those considering having kids and trying to plan for future expenses.

I previously shared how much it costs to raise a 1-year-old. Now that my son is older, I can share how our expenses changed when he was 2. For context, this was in 2021.

To calculate this, I compared my family’s expenditures before and after we had a baby and at each successive year, as you can see in the table below.

Average Changes in Expenditures per Month for a 2-Year-Old

Average Monthly Change from Pre-Baby to Age 2Average Monthly Change from Age 1 to Age 2
Auto & Renter’s Insurance+$3.39+$27.52
Health Insurance+$61.19-$3.85
Vehicle Costs/Gas+$64.68+$54.90

Housing and Utilities

We moved from a 1-bedroom apartment to a 3-bedroom townhouse after having our baby, but since it was farther away from the college town, the rent was cheaper. However, the rent was increased after we renewed our lease, so the average expense increased from the previous year. While the rent was cheaper in the townhouse, fewer utilities were included in the rent, so we had to pay more. However, we paid less in 2021 than in 2020.


With another mouth to feed, it’s not surprising that our grocery bills went up. However, we spent less at restaurants, partly because it’s more difficult to go out to eat with a toddler and partly because we lived farther away from restaurants. We did spend more at restaurants than the previous year, as Covid-19 was less of a concern and our child was older.


There was little change in our auto and renter’s insurance costs, though the auto insurance cost went up from the previous year as the reduction due to Covid-19 ended. Our health insurance cost went up from adding our son to our plan, but the price actually decreased by 2% in 2021.


Since we lived farther away, we had to spend more on transportation. This expense also increased from the previous year as we spent less time at home and I worked more on campus.

Household and Childcare

Interestingly, after having a child, our household expenses decreased, although they did increase slightly in 2021. Some of these expenses may have transitioned to the childcare category, since we end up buying more things for our kid than for ourselves. There was a big increase in childcare expenses in 2021 since we started sending our son to daycare 3 days a week, which cost $738/month. However, we started this towards the end of the year, so the average change per month is not as large.


As mentioned for the household category, after having the kid, we ended up spending more on him than on ourselves. This also held true for the clothing/beauty category. However, expenses did increase significantly from the previous year. This is likely because we were leaving the house more since Covid-19 fears had died down, so we needed better clothes and could go out for haircuts again.


We did not have much of a change in medical expenses from before having the baby or from the prior year. We were lucky to remain relatively healthy during this time, so most doctor visits were covered preventative visits.

Entertainment and Travel

A big change after having our son was a reduction in entertainment and travel spending. It can be hard to take a young child traveling, and we did not want to deal with the stress. We also mostly took our son to free activities, like library story times and community events, so there were not much in the way of entertainment expenses.

So Overall, How Much Did We Spend on our 2-Year-Old?

Overall, we spent about $27 more per month with our 2-year-old than before we had kids. That’s only about $320 for the whole year. Considering the child tax credit for 2021 was $3,600, we actually saved quite a bit of money since we were not traveling or spending as much money on ourselves. That said, our expenses did increase by about $415 per month ($4,980 for the year) from 2020 as the country was no longer shut down from Covid-19. It is likely that our expenses will only continue to increase as our child grows older.


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