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Anyone else *not* think babies/children are expensive??

post #1 of 130
Thread Starter 
So my brother and his wife are expecting their first baby. They are pretty well off as my brother has a well paying job as an attorney. I was on the phone today with my sister-in-law (who I am pretty friendly with) saying that dh and I are thinking of having another baby (we already have 3 children).

Does she respond with:
"Congratulations, that's great" or something to that effect. No! She responds with "Don't you think you should wait till you are in a better financial position?" and I respond with "considering this is not our first child I pretty much know how much money goes into raising children" and she says "well children are expensive"

So we argue our points back and forth for a little bit and I finally say I need to go.

I know everybody says that children are expensive, but I still have yet to see how. Sure, you can make them expensive. Say if you furnish their bedrooms with all Pottery Barn stuff, enroll them in the most expensive schools in town, only buy them Ralph Lauren brand clothing. (all things my brother and sil plan to do) but if you homeschool, buy things from thrift stores and accept handmedowns, as we've done. Really the expense isn't much. And if we were extremely well off financially I probably wouldnt do anything differently. She thinks that I denying my children things that we could afford if we had more money. And that buying their clothes second hand isn't a very nice thing to "do" to them.

What are your thoughts on this?
post #2 of 130
I agree.
Expenses for babies:
Crib - don't have one

Stroller - bought a cheap graco because I sling a lot of the time. Parents bought me a $400 double baby jogger which I'm still using 3 yrs later and will probably be using another 3 years.

Clothes - bought some and the rest came from friends and family and I've passed on many to friends and family

Nursery - don't have one. Baby lives in our room.

Activities - Community centers offer great inexepensive classes like dance and gymnastics and pottery, etc.

School - Public school is free but homeschool isn't that expensive since you only need to buy supplies. Private school isn't so bad if you budget for it.

Carseat - bought the best money can buy

Food - Breastmilk is free

Diapers - I've spent about $500 total on all diaper supplies for 3 children

Anything else? It looks like my kids don't cost much of anything.
post #3 of 130
I find that the older my children get, the more "expensive" it is, and i am not necessarily talking about furniture. My kids certainly dont have Pottery Barn Furniture.

*But*, i have spent close to $600 in the last 4 days between my 7 yr olds birthday party, groceries for 5 ($200), a $200 co-payment at the dentist for my daughter, and her prom dress (nothing super fancy, we got it at Penney's for $79). My son has an infection and his prescription cost me $50 with my insurance.

My son played hockey for a few seasons, and that was expensive for good skates, gear, registration fees, etc.

My insurance for a family costs us plenty, food, clothing gets more expensive as they get older. Winter coats, stuff like that.

I think financial stability is very important. I consider it so important that i probably wont have a 4th, but thats just me.

As long as your comfortable with your current financial situation, i would just let what your sil says go.
post #4 of 130
I honestly don't think babies are expensive at all...now college? Yeah, that is expensive if you are wanting to provide that...but I totally feel that babies/children are only as expensive as you make them...besides of course, medical care if you don't have insurance...but I have a feeling your sister in law was not coming from that angle.

Yeah, breastmilk is free. (as pp mentioned) that knocks out a huge expense right there.

Baby food is free...well I mean, if you don't buy the fancy shmancy tiny jars of crap they can eat part of what you eat...please tell me how expensive it is to mix a bit of mashed cooked organic sweet potato with some filtered water and serve? (you get the drift)

car seat...I agree, buy one that is new, safe, meets standards etc...

clothing, my goodness, between garage sales, nice re-sale shops, gifts from people, hand me downs, freecycle,ebay, and even buying bigger sizes for next season when this season is on clearance...you are kind of a fool (no offense) if you claim that to be a huge expense....

diapers are cheap if you CD...even to be devil's advocate--if you use disposable, it is not a back breaking expense...but CD is better all around...

if you co-sleep, no need for crib or anything, as for the nursery if you are doing crib (blech)...those can always be bought inexpensively, it is way easy to test for safety (coke can test between slats etc)...

Anyway, you get my drift...
I completely agree with the OP, a baby/child is an added expense like anything, but I hate when people make it out to be like they are going to be homeless if they have a baby...there are TONS of ways to save....a lot of which provide me with being able to be a sahm even

ETA: I do agree with the pp that said that the older children get, the more expensive it is, with sports, or special occasions like prom etc...but even then, you can save a lot if you know where to look...like places such as "play it again sports" for sporting equipment, etc...
post #5 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy

ETA: I do agree with the pp that said that the older children get, the more expensive it is, with sports, or special occasions like prom etc...but even then, you can save a lot if you know where to look...like places such as "play it again sports" for sporting equipment, etc...
Love the play it again places....got everything but the skates there
post #6 of 130
I agree with what others have said that kids certainly don't have to be expensive, but my biggest issue is that we have virtually lost one income (I work very parttime). Since we feel that one of us should be mainly home for these baby years, I will continue to work very parttime for a while. Hopefully the day will come (soon) that DH will be making a comfortable living for us and my income will be savings, but for right now, we are stretched as thin as can be. So yes, in that way I say kids can be expensive. And I can see them getting more expensive as they grow, as was also mentioned. At the moment, DD is willing to accept all the hand me downs that we get, but I imagine there will come a time when that is not so cool anymore.
post #7 of 130
I agree with sweetbaby that kids are more expensive as they get older. Mine aren't that old yet but I remember growing up that my parents spent a lot on us- and we wore garage sale clothes and didn't have braces (and we grew much of our own food). There were doctor and dentist visits, hospitalization bills, prescriptions, my sister's school trip, music lessons for some of the kids, musical instrument rental, then they chipped in for some of our college expenses.
post #8 of 130
I agree with that Moonshine, and have always said it too. Babies in and of themselves arent expensive, its the loss of income. To some who make little, it might not make much of a difference, but those of us who command a certain salary, it can be a major impact.
post #9 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonshine
I agree with what others have said that kids certainly don't have to be expensive, but my biggest issue is that we have virtually lost one income (I work very parttime). Since we feel that one of us should be mainly home for these baby years, I will continue to work very parttime for a while. Hopefully the day will come (soon) that DH will be making a comfortable living for us and my income will be savings, but for right now, we are stretched as thin as can be. So yes, in that way I say kids can be expensive. And I can see them getting more expensive as they grow, as was also mentioned. At the moment, DD is willing to accept all the hand me downs that we get, but I imagine there will come a time when that is not so cool anymore.
I think it depends on your attitude as well as the personality of your child. I grew up on hand me downs and never cared and neither did any of my siblings. I shared a king size bed with my 2 sisters and participated in the types of activities that weren't super expensive. They got to be more expensive as I got older, but by then, I was old enough to get a job and help pay if I wanted to do an expensive activity. I babysat, shared a paper route with my stepbrother and little things like that until I was 16 and old enough to get a regular type of job on weekends. I only worked about 6 hours a week. And I was even able to save up $1000 to help pay for my summer exchange trip to germany when I was 15.
post #10 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by kavamamakava
I think it depends on your attitude as well as the personality of your child. I grew up on hand me downs and never cared and neither did any of my siblings.
OOhhhhhhh, my DD1 has been approving her own clothes (as in what she wears for the day) ever since she was 18 months old. She is now 3 and looks through magazines (like the NYTimes Style mag) and tells me what she likes, etc. I suspect the handmedowns we have been getting all her life might not always be her thing, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Not saying that we are going to indulge her by paying lots of $$$. None of the other kids her age are remotely as interested in clothes as she is, so it does make me wonder what the teen years will be like!
post #11 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetbaby3
I find that the older my children get, the more "expensive" it is, and i am not necessarily talking about furniture. My kids certainly dont have Pottery Barn Furniture.

*But*, i have spent close to $600 in the last 4 days between my 7 yr olds birthday party, groceries for 5 ($200), a $200 co-payment at the dentist for my daughter, and her prom dress (nothing super fancy, we got it at Penney's for $79). My son has an infection and his prescription cost me $50 with my insurance.

My son played hockey for a few seasons, and that was expensive for good skates, gear, registration fees, etc.

My insurance for a family costs us plenty, food, clothing gets more expensive as they get older. Winter coats, stuff like that.

I think financial stability is very important. I consider it so important that i probably wont have a 4th, but thats just me.

As long as your comfortable with your current financial situation, i would just let what your sil says go.
That's what I was going to say. Babies are incredibly cheap, at least for us. Sleep in our bed, drink breastmilk, wear clothes from resale shops. The few baby furniture items we have were purchased at Ikea or Target.

Ds1 is 4yo, and things have gotten slightly more expensive. Shoes (only thing I don't buy used), admission to different events, dentist, doctor (most of our medical is out of pocket even though we have insurance), etc. So while some people definitely spend much more than others, kids, not babies, can get expensive.
post #12 of 130
I think kids are expensive. Not in all the little things where you can be frugal but in the big ones: Health Insurance, Loss of mom's income or day care, College Expenses.
post #13 of 130
Dh and I like to say 'Children aren't expensive, lifestyles are'.

I never worked after we married, so loss of income wasn't an issue. And with ds, so far we've *gained* (in tax breaks :LOL ) more than we put out on him.

Ds is only 2 now, so we'll see what happens as he gets older. But, looking at my folks, who at one point had all 4 of us as teens/pre-teens in the house, I think we'll be OK. My parents are well-off, but spent a minimal amount on us even so, compared to my peers families. And 90% of what they spent on us(new clothing, most extracurricular activities, Ivy League college for my brother, private school tuition for my sister, new clothes rather than used, expensive summer vacations, etc), I can see we probably won't, because we have *way* different lifestyle expectations as a family.
post #14 of 130
Older children can become expensive.

Some things that are expensive are Music (Strings in our family), Karate, Things like class trips to New York, Washington, DC, and things like the short term German exchange program for my High School students. Prep classes for the SAT's. (and if you think *that's* expensive try prep classes for the MCAT's)

Things like clothes and shoes are negotiable and things like skiing and snowboarding are negotiable but our family *likes* to ski and snowboard it is one of the few things that a family whose children range in age from 26 to 6 can enjoy together.

Debra Baker
post #15 of 130
Babies aren't expensive. But medical/dental care and insurance is. And each additional person in the family multiplies the cost.

We are ttc #2 right now. Dh is a teacher, but has no family medical ins thru work. So I self pay--with no maternity coverage. A homebirth will cost me about $4000 (all out of pocket). Additional ins for the baby will be about $150/month ($1800/year). Add to that deductibles and coininsurance, as my dd has some medical issues (last year we paid at least $1500 out of pocket on her medical care--and she only has minor issues). That is a lot of money, imo.

Also, while we do buy clothing and furniture and other "stuff" used....we strive to eat the healthiest foods. Organic produce, eggs, and dairy are $$$ around here, and my 4 yo dd eats her fair share. That is a lifestyle choice, but not a negotiable one imo.

So, yeah, ime kids are expensive. Good health ins thru work would make a big difference to us in that conclusion.
post #16 of 130
I don't think one child is expensive. Which is why we have one child. We know we will always have $ to feed him and to clothe him and to provide him with all the things he will want and need growing up. And that we can afford to put him thru college. Babies and toddlers sure are not expensive... but older kids are! If we had 3 or 4 kids we could never afford them the life we would want them to have access too. And it's our responsiblity to be aware of that/
post #17 of 130
They are expensive if you are looking at your lost income if you stay home with them, if you had a large income. If your income is eaten up by daycare if you do work, then they would seem expensive.

But it's all in how you look at it. And the more you have connections with other moms...family or intentional family, crunchy playgroups if you are lucky, friends etc...you can get a lot of stuff cheap or free.

Hand me downs, second hand yard/tag sales...it can be done quite frugally. The younger the baby is the cheaper it is in my opinion....for many years my kids didn't care what they wore or if they were in umpteen expensive activities.

And having a nursing baby who rejects solids for a long time saves money too.
post #18 of 130
Things that can make children expensive:

-Increased life insurance

-Increased medical insurance

-Increased food bill

-Larger housing, if necessary

-Larger car, if necessary

-Increased utility bills

These are things that really have little connection to lifestyle. They are just things that naturally happen as your family size increases, and they can add up to A LOT of money over a lifetime. Add in paying for college, if that's a goal for your family, and more kids can DEFINITELY cost A LOT of money.

My sister, who is the guardian of my children, and I had a large argument late last year about how much life insurance we have. She feels that we don't have enough because, if the kids went to her, there isn't enough for she and her husband (who are both doctors) to raise our kids in their lifestyle. She was unable to understand that raising our kids in their lifetsyle isn't our goal, nor is it financially feasible for us. She said, "Well, what if [daughter] wants to go to Harvard and I had to say to her, "I'm sorry, you can't go because your parents didn't leave enough to pay for it?" I said, "You can tell her what I would tell her if she wanted to go to Harvard and we were still alive: Hope you get a scholarship!"

All this to say, I think it's just a matter of perspective as to whether kids are "expensive" or not, but I also think that saying your baby isn't expensive because you don't buy baby accoutrements doesn't mean much, because your kids will require more as they age.

Namaste!
post #19 of 130
Thread Starter 
Well as far as health insurance goes, we have Medicaid. So it doesnt cost us anything. If anything having an additional child makes us more eligible.
post #20 of 130
I really dont think babies are expensive either. Our insurance went up adding me to the policy, but not that much more adding ds- ours will not increase anymore regardless of # of children- it is a family policy. That has been our biggest expense. We have bought cd's, which were a little chunk of money(although our system is pretty cheap cpf's and covers) however this will last through several children. I can see how children would get expensive as they get older- for one thing food costs will increase- although I eat like a pig nursing!!

I think it depends on your area as well. We live in a rural area with a cheap cost of living. There are many activities directed towards people with lil' money. We won't be paying the full expense of college.

I think when most people speak of the expense of babies it is in regards to formula, sposies and the setting up of the nursery- As most everyone I know does this- even if they cannot afford it. Honestly, dh and I could have done this, but I see no sense in wasting my money. BM is best, I prefer cd and as I always see I have more time than money and he is sleeping with us- I would have long since went mad if we tried to do a crib.

Right now we are working on setting up a play room and nap room (as dh sleeps during the day). So far I have spent $3 on fabric- a local furniture store sells fabric dirt cheap.
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