When children grow up – costs in the last phase of children

Children cost money. Up to the age of 18 of their offspring, German parents spent around 130,000 euros on them, according to the Federal Statistical Office. The costs for the offspring increase particularly strongly in the teenage phase and in the early adulthood. This article explains how the expenses are made up and what parents have to consider.

Table of Contents

Which areas of life play an important role for young adults?

While according to statistics, preschool children need around 6,200 euros a year for consumer spending, this amount increases to 8,400 euros per year for teenagers up to the age of 18. No wonder, because expectations of one’s own standard of living usually rise in sync with the advancing years of life:

pocket money

With increasing age, it is all the more important for young people to be able to keep up with their peers. This also applies to the budget that is freely available to you each month. While youth welfare offices consider pocket money of up to 45 euros a month for 16-year-olds, they already estimate up to 60 euros for 17-year-olds and 75 euros per month for 18-year-olds. One advantage of growing up: teenagers can easily be motivated to top up their pocket money with a small part-time job. From the age of 13, this is with the consent of the parents possible; from 15 even without this.


This cost factor does not only affect girls – boys also value clothing and footwear that are trendy in the peer group. The “inherited” items of clothing from older siblings or second-hand goods are quickly rejected. However, parents do not have to tacitly shell out 200 euros for the branded jeans, but should negotiate with the offspring that they use their saved pocket money for extravagant purchases.


The smartphone is not a cost factor that only becomes acute shortly before growing up – after all, according to statistics, 97% of 13-19 year olds already have this in 2016. However, young people in school are more subject to comparison with their classmates and thus to the current technology trend. Young adults are obliged to own the latest models of smartphones, tablets and laptops.


Whether riding, playing music or sport – who is older teenager sticking to a hobby that usually has big ambitions. But the snowboard, the violin or private lessons sometimes tear big holes in the parental household budget. At this point it is advisable to collect among relatives at Christmas or on birthdays in order to advance the artistic or sporting streak of the offspring.

What special expenses are to be planned?

In addition to the growing demands in everyday life, there are often several major investments at the time of graduation:


In line with the American model, many school graduates in this country would like to have a great appearance at the prom. Parents should calculate between € 100 and € 200 for the daughter’s evening dress. Of course, this does not include shoes, bags, jewelry, hair styling and manicures that complete the unique outfit.

year abroad

Many high school students dream of spending a school year abroad. If exchange students visit a state school in the USA, Canada or New Zealand, the cost is around 10,000 euros. This includes school fees, the flat rate for the exchange organization, board and lodging in the host family as well as visa and insurance. When you attend a private school, the amount even doubles. Scholarships or the Auslands-BAföG can help to raise the considerable amount.

Discover the world

There are usually several weeks to months between the Abitur and the start of training or studies. It may even be necessary to have a waiting semester to be able to take up the dream place. Graduates like to use this period for a trip abroad or even a trip around the world. A so-called Round-The-World-Ticket, in which many flight routes of the same company can be used within one year at a flat rate, is available from 1,500 euros. World travelers have to reckon with around 1,000 euros per month for accommodation, food, mobility and activities. For a cheap trip to Europe, e.g. to Barcelona, ​​backpackers, on the other hand, only have to invest from 39 euros for the flight and from 20 euros for the night in the dormitory of the youth hostel.

driver’s license

Being mobile yourself is the first major investment in early adulthood. But before you can think about your first own car, you have to finance your driver’s license first. The price depends heavily on driving hours, but can be roughly estimated at 1,300 – 1,500 euros.

With the large expenses at the end of school, parents and almost grown children should communicate diplomatically. Nobody can ask for several thousand euros to finance the dream project – but parents can help motivate them by contributing a considerable amount to the savings of the offspring that have been gained through employment.

How does it look during your studies or training?

Parents are obliged to provide their children with vocational training. In doing so, they must not dictate a path to the offspring, but must tacitly accept their own choice. Depending on the educational path chosen, this may mean that school years may be followed by 7 years or more, during which the parents must finance the child’s livelihood:


The tuition fees have now been abolished at all German universities – what remains is a tuition fee of 120 to 320 euros per semester. However, the lion’s share of the cost of studying is undoubtedly the rent and living costs of the young students studying abroad. Depending on the income of the parents, the child is entitled to support of up to 730 euros per month. In return, parents can request that their child study in a targeted and rapid manner and regularly inform them of their progress. Children of low-income parents are entitled to BAföG up to a maximum of 735 euros per month and can also earn up to 450 euros per month without the entitlement expiring.


If the child completes an apprenticeship, it receives a monthly allowance to support itself. Depending on the apprenticeship, however, this can be very low, e.g. 310 euros in the first year as a butcher. In this case, the legislator places the parents under an obligation to contribute the money they need to live. However, these can also pay for their maintenance in kind, such as accommodation and food. Vocational training allowance (BAB) is also entitled to apprentices whose training location is more than two hours away from their parents’ home. You can count on a grant of up to EUR 348 for the basic monthly requirement and a lump sum for rent of up to EUR 149.

What if the child drops out of school??

If the child changes the course of study, this does not automatically mean that the parents can stop their support. According to current case law, an orientation phase of 2 to 3 semesters is considered normal in the university career. Abandoning a course of study for health reasons is also a valid reason – the parents must also pay for the subsequent course of study.

Parents have to finance several training courses?

According to law need parents only financially support their children’s first vocational training. However, there are numerous special cases regarding this regulation. If a child continues his or her completed training in a commercial profession by studying business administration, parents must also pay for it. The situation is different when a trained butcher suddenly wants to study psychology. Bachelor’s and master’s degree programs are consistently regarded by the state as a uniform study program and must be fully supported by the parents. Even a doctorate for young people can fall back financially on the parents if the career chances compared to competitors would otherwise be slim.


If you calculate the costs in advance, you almost want to decide against having children. But especially in late teens, parents are usually inspired to give their offspring the best start in their own lives on a practical and professional level. This altruism can finally pay off in old age if the parents may need financial or energetic help from their children. In addition, parents always want the best for their children.


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Christina Cherry
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