Parents know that raising a child can be expensive. However, they may underestimate just how expensive it is to usher a child through his or her teenage years. This is a time when your son or daughter will eat and consume resources like an adult while still relying on you to support them.

Teens Are Growing into Their Bodies

The reason that teenagers eat so much is that they are going through major growth spurts. They may also be more active in sports and other activities that burn calories. Therefore, it is likely that your grocery bill could go up substantially until they are out of the house. You may also have to account for the fact that your child may bring friends over who will also want something to eat or drink. Teenagers eat like adults, if anything they may be growing and have a bigger appetite than adults. This is normal, but the change from child sized meals to a growing teen body will reflect in your grocery bill.

Paying for College

Parents generally do a good job of preparing for a child’s college education. However, there are a lot of fees that you may not consider during the application process. For instance, you may need to pay an application fee, a deposit for a dorm room and buy textbooks. You may also need to pay for parking passes or other items that your teen will need to get through his or her college years. As a teenager they will enroll in SAT or ACT prep courses, extra curricular activities and sports for leisure and college admissions. These require fees for uniforms, equipment, and it can add up very quickly.

Paying for Extracurricular Activities

If your teen is good at sports, he or she may enroll in a travel team or otherwise travel for major tournaments. This could also be true if your child excels at math, music or any other endeavor in which your teen competes against others. You should be ready to pay for hotels, gas and equipment along with any fees necessary for the child to compete in the league itself.

Medical Expenses

It usually isn’t difficult to get health insurance for a child, and you may be ready to pay for a visit to a dental clinic, doctor visits, or other basic care. Many teenagers will also go through a wisdom tooth removal or orthodontics. This will also be an expense that is well worth it for a lifetime of health.  However, there is a chance that your child could get hurt doing something illogical or downright stupid. There is also the chance that your teen could get sick or otherwise experience a health issue through no fault of his or her own.

Raising a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a person’s life. It can also be one that will wreak havoc on your finances for years to come. While you don’t need to be rich to be a good parent, it is important that you understand the true cost of being one.