Real parents reveal 16 kid expenses that are worth the money Raising kids gets expensive, and quickly. The average American family pays over $11,000 just in the first year of a child's life, and nearly $250,000 by the time they're 18 . And while most of the incurred expenses prove worthwhile, not every toy, class, or experience warrants its price tag. So how can you decipher when it's worth it to splurge? Business Insider asked parents with children of all age..