Are Three Children Really That More Expensive Than Two? New Member - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Ladies,

My name is Nikki and I am a SAHM to a 17-month-old DD and am expecting again in March. Most of my adult life, I pictured myself as having 3-4 children. However, with everything going on with "this economy" (really getting sick of that phrase) - I'm doubting if having more than two is a good idea.

Making this decision is difficult when we hear numbers such as, "It takes $177,000 or more to raise each child - not including college". Does this seem accurate to you veteran mamas? It's hard to buy into when I see so many children with luxuries that they don't need. These are not all rich children either. Families with modest incomes have kids skating around the grocery store in their Wheelie shoes, texting on their own cell with fancy keypads or fiddling with their ipod Touch. Don't get me wrong, I don't plan to be a Scrooge towards my kids. I am simply trying to figure out what type of lifestyle was figured into this number and even more importantly what a realistic figure is.

For those with more than two, what kind of sacrifices has your family had to make to a "larger" family affordable? I'm really interested in the different systems that larger families use such as the obvious favorite hand me down scheme. What other advice do you have in terms of family size and how it affects your marriage, ability to keep house, social life, ect.?

I really appreciate your time and input

****Please see updated post #29. Thanks****

Nikki
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#2 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 06:57 PM
 
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I hate those scary number articles. They are based on the New-More-Better uber-consumptive American lifestyle and forget about the many things that can be re-used with subsequent children (clothes, cloth diapers, toddler beds, highchairs, bibs, etc) My second and third children didn't *need* anything new. They got a few things anyway, and if I found an item at a thrift store that was better quality than what we had, I traded up, but there wasn't a *need* to drop tons of money on them.

Expenses as they get older are lifestyle choices more than anything. They may eat more food as teens and have different clothing styles, but you can still buy food in bulk and be thrifty about clothing purchases, so 3 children vs. 2 children wouldn't be that much more.

There are a few things that we sacrifice as a family, not so much because of size but because of the value we put on our time and on dh's hard earned money. We rarely eat out, and we don't travel much. Because we have a low income, and because both of us grew up with frugal minded families, it is incredibly difficult to lay out $30 for a single meal for all of us at a restaurant. It just does not feel good when we know we could get several days worth of meals by using that money at a grocery store. But it was difficult to pay proportionately the same when we had only one kid.
Traveling is the same story. We don't go tooling around the countryside or on yearly vacations because we're watching the gas meter drain the income that dh worked so hard for mile by mile. It's painful rather than enjoyable. I know plenty of people feel differently about this, and if you do, there are still deals and coupons and price comparisons out there that could make the additional child's cost reasonably affordable.

We did need to accept that our tiny sedan wasn't big enough for three kids in carseats. But dh did his research and got a good deal (3K ) on a 2000 Mazda MPV which is awesome, and will fit two more kids if God so blesses us.

With marriage, family life, social life....no real difference. We do the same stuff we did before ds3 came along. But we lived a very quiet, very simple, very home-based lifestyle before, too, so it wasn't a big change. Our marriage has improved greatly over the years. I think as a couple and as a family we would be seriously lacking without our third son. I watched him melt dh's heart in his first two years. He just had a personality and brought with him a joy that we really, really needed--and it overflowed to benefit us and his siblings. Such a blessing! (and his name means "blessed" )
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#3 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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Don't let the numbers scare you - some of the money they quote is based on assumptions that each child means you'll buy a bigger house, larger car, etc...

I think that a larger family is preferable to more money - family relationships mean so much more than things (obviously I'm not talking about extreme poverty here, but most people in the US who say they 'can't afford another child' aren't making the choice between being able to feed and house themselves and another baby, they're deciding what type of lifestyle they want for themselves).
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#4 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 07:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Natsuki View Post
but most people in the US who say they 'can't afford another child' aren't making the choice between being able to feed and house themselves and another baby, they're deciding what type of lifestyle they want for themselves).
I once said this here on MDC and got flamed to dust. Get your flame proof suit on.

I don't think about my children in terms of expense but I can see that if we had no children, I was working full time and dh was doing what he is doing now then we would have more money than we do now. I'm not sure what we would spend the money on as we aren't big consumers but as things are now, having four children isn't killing us.
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#5 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 07:55 PM
 
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Babies are not expensive, kids can be though. It does depend on what choices you make, obviously, but sometimes as the kids (and your family) grow things will change. I always assumed I would homeschool, but for me, homeschooling was very difficult with four small children and my dh wasn't happy with my relaxed schooling so we made the decision to send my oldest to school. Public school is not an option for us and private school is expensive. I do plan to pull him out in the next year or two and begin homeschooling again once things have settled down around the house, but for now it is a large added expense. There are other things to consider, too, like clothes and shoes. Baby/toddler clothes are cheap but once you get to about age 4 they are more expensive and are worn out so quickly. Of course there are ways to lessen this expense (checking consignment shops/goodwill for good quality clothes etc) but it's still an expense. My three oldest are all boys, and #3 is wearing some of the same clothes that my first two wore, but my 5yo and 6yo wear clothes out before they can be handed down, holes in the knees and elbows after just a season's wear sometimes. Of course kids also eat more as they get older.

Really, though, babies are cheap. Kids are more expensive than babies but a little bit of frugality can really cut down on the expenses, just like anything else.
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#6 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 08:02 PM
 
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Gawd, I hope not.

We *do* like to travel, but dh makes a good wage, and we've actually considering downsizing our house so we can afford more vacations and experiences, instead of more things. More things would mean we'd need more house!

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#7 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 08:02 PM
 
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It really depends on your lifestyle and what "extras" you would like to give to the kids. I have a son who rides horses and competes once a month and a daughter in gymnastics class and does soccer in the spring & Fall. Between the two cost me $150 a month. My youngest is only 2, but once she finds an interest we will also find the funds for her interest. We try to be thrifty-Buy off craigslist, 2nd hand clothes, ect...it still adds up.

We don't have cable TV, fancy cell phones, eat out that often, or a yearly vacation other than the 800 mile trip to see the family (we stay with a family member and eat their food for a week).

Demographics also play a huge role in cost. We pay very little for the extra activities our kids engage in because we live in a fairly rural area. An hour away the cost of those same activities sky rocket! Same with housing. We got a great price on our house and taxes are low. You really need to look at the WHOLE picture.
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#8 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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I second the babies are cheap, kids are expensive thought. All my babies haven't that cheap though, crappy health insurance thanks to living in the US, and some special needs for 2 out of my 3 children have proven to be expensive. It is the little things as they get older that add up. I am not talking about taking every music lesson, horse back riding lesson, etc... but even public school field trips, one little gymnastics class, I feel like I get asked for $10-20 bucks constantly.

I do have 3 and yeah they aren't cheap! Just like this week, the youngest two got ill, and by the time this illness is over, I will be looking at at least 1K in medical bills for one stupid virus.

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#9 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 08:43 PM
 
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We just had baby #4 join us and we are a lower-income family. The added financial cost was something we were aware of in having another baby, but it wasn't part of the decision to have another. We are just budget conscious in our decisions and live within our means... whatever that may be, lol. For us, having four children costs less than my sister to have just one. I don't think that is a good thing or a bad thing, it is just different lifestyles and different spending. For every family, budget and spending choices and decisions are different.

To answer your question, though, I don't think having three cost more than two at all. As a PP said, it can cost more as children rather than as babies. Like if you want to have all your children enrolled in sports leagues for example...basketball fees for three will cost more than one.

For us the only thing was that was a noticeable expense change was transportation. When we had multiple children in car seats, we had a minivan. We then sold the minivan and went car-free using public transportation and walking for about 8 months while living in an area that was condusive to that. When we moved back to our former town, we needed a car again but were able to get a little economy sedan because we had one less child in a car seat. Now we have a new baby and had to go back to a minivan...however we got one for nothing as it just needed some basic repairs!

Any added expense has been well worth it from baby #2, to baby #3, to baby #4.

The macro economy and all involved will vary and change. Having the extra child in your family will not once they are there. So I'd make the choice based more on your family's situation and heart.

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#10 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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We are about to add child number six to our family. IMO it's just "another potato in the pot" so to speak.

We do drive a large vehicle, so that is an added expense.

My oldest is too big for the clothing they sell at children's resale stores, BUT her clothes are lasting longer now because she isn't playing in the dirt in the backyard much anymore......so I think the clothing thing is all relative for the most part.

We don't eat out much, but that's ok. Sometimes dh and I will slip away for dinner out together so that we can talk and enjoy one another.

We never were big vacationers. We LOVE to camp though, and camping is a blast with our big brood.

We are very active in our church, and my children have many many wonderful experiences that cost me little to nothing. My sons are in cub scouts(that the church pays for) My dds are in wonderful activities for young girls. Oldest dd will be getting to go to camp with the older girls this year.

They do cost more when they get older, but at least they won't all be teenagers at the same time!
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#11 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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Babies are cheap. Kids are expensive.

DD2 has cost me nothing, really...breastmilk, a few bananas, a bit of yogurt, a car seat, diapers (we used to cloth diaper, but with dd2, we're using sposies, for reasons that are long, complicated, and kind of odd)...that's about it. (We already had a stroller, and my MIL gave us the Ergo. We don't have a crib.) DS1? We've paid for Scouts, a week at Art Camp, a weeklong field trip at a marine science outpost, Tae Kwon Do (including his gi and protective gear), gymnastics, swimming lessons, choir fees, field trip fees, photos, Christmas and birthday presents (and parties), etc. etc. etc. It adds up. Honestly, though...ds1 is almost 17, and I don't think I've spent any $177,000 on him. I really don't.

However, I've seen that $177,000 before (usually with an added on "and that's in US dollars!!!!" because I'm Canadian). It does include things like a bigger house, bigger car, etc. It also, imo, fails to account for subsequent children in the same family, which affects many things. For instance, we buy a family membership to the local Aquarium. It costs the same whether we have one child or four children. That also applies to the zoo, hands-on science museum, tourist farm, etc. etc. We're lucky in that we get a lot of clothes from my MIL (she loves to buy for the kids, and lives a long way from here), but we also do a ton of hand-me-downs, so clothes for the younger ones don't/haven't cost as much as for the older ones. Even extras, like school pictures, often offer a slight discount for multiple kids from the same family.

There are so many variables in all this kind of stuff that it's impossible to state what kids cost, yk?

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#12 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 09:17 PM
 
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It really depends on what you want.

Saving for college is a huge priority for us. We can do it for two kids - not enough to pay for all four years, but a chunk. But we couldn't for three. Three kids are not afffordable for us.

It's also very important for us to save for retirement so that our kids aren't financially burdened by us when we're old. It would be much harder to do this if we had more than two.

Not everyone feels that way.

We also think it's important to be able to provide our kids with music lessons, a week of summer camp here or there, and then there's shoes, clothes, field trips, etc. that everyone else has mentioned. Those things get more expensive the older kids get.

Again, that's not a priority for everyone.

Really, it depends a lot on what you feel your responsibilities are as parents. We live very simply, do used clothes as much as possible (but again, it gets harder as they get older). Our kids don't have any electronic gizmos or "luxuries." One of us stays home, we cook from scratch and mostly go camping for vacations. And yet, we have what I consider a comfortable lifestyle. We wouldn't if we had more than two.
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#13 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 09:31 PM
 
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Yeah, as they get older, much more $$$. School fees. School supplies. Camps, swimming passes. Even things like going out to eat, hair cuts, and shoes add up, and add up fast. When we decide to go on a vacation (we have 3 kids), cost factors in a great deal. Even just one extra plane ticket is easily $300. Two kids can join two parents in a hotel room with one bed, but with three, one kid gets the floor. Three big kids can't fit comfortably in a car, once they hit teens.

Allowances, driving to activities (even if activities are free or low cost means gas $).

Now I would never trade any of my kids for anything, and if I could have another one, I would in a heart beat. But yeah, going from 2 to 3.... And let me tell you, I had no idea how much a 12 year old boy could eat until I had one.
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#14 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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well, #3 has cost us over $40,000 in her first two years of life in out of pocket medical expenses. So, it's not so much that she is our third child, but who she "is", if that makes sense. Babies/kids can be expensive, but I don't necessarily think that more kids= more expense. Just some kids are more expensive than others.
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#15 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 09:57 PM
 
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We unschool and live out of town, which I think makes life waaaay cheaper. For example, our homeschool group has regular swap meets, where I usually get some clothes, books and games. We grow much of our own food, with plans to eventually grow 75-90% of it. We vacation with my parents at their timeshare or go camping. Also, not being in town very much gives me less chance to go spend money
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#16 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 10:37 PM
 
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And let me tell you, I had no idea how much a 12 year old boy could eat until I had one.
This. DS1 has slowed down a little these days, but I thnk at his peak, he was eating as much as dh and I combined...and we eat too much. It takes a lot to gain 6" in height and 35 pounds in weight, all in 6 months...

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#17 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 10:50 PM
 
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It depends on what you want for your kids, but I think those numbers are actually on the low side.

When kids are babies, they're pretty cheap. That ends.

We want our kids to be able to participate in activities that interest them, so for example, we pay for things like dance lessons, a violin tutor and instrument rental, Tae Kwon Do, etc. It's expensive and it adds up, but is priceless in terms of what those activities have done for my kids.

Our kids have far less in the way of designer clothing and status symbols than the vast majority of their colleagues. We say no a great deal, but every now and again, it's nice to say yes. It's easy to believe that this stuff won't matter at all to your kids--that's what I used to think. I have one in jr. high now, and I see it very differently. It really does suck to be the only one in your peer group who doesn't have Ugg boots, for example, when you are 12 years old. That doesn't mean my kids have them, but it is a reality that my kid is ashamed of the fact she doesn't.

College is hugely expensive. Personally, I absolutely wouldn't have a child if I wasn't going to send her to college without having her be up to her eyeballs in debt, but that's me.

I grew up in a large family, as did dh, and wouldn't want that for my kids.
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#18 of 39 Old 02-12-2010, 11:04 PM
 
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College is hugely expensive. Personally, I absolutely wouldn't have a child if I wasn't going to send her to college without having her be up to her eyeballs in debt, but that's me.
Yes, but the OP said the article specifically excluded college costs.

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#19 of 39 Old 02-13-2010, 12:01 AM
 
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Really, though, babies are cheap. Kids are more expensive.
Yep, a third baby costs very little if you have good health insurance. But a third KID? Tons. Anyone who thinks another child doesn't equal more costs is unrealistic IMO.

And with every baby I had, that is another five years that I wasn't bringing in any money to contribute to the household - given that we made the choice for me to be a SAHM.

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Yeah, as they get older, much more $$$. School fees. School supplies. Camps, swimming passes. Even things like going out to eat, hair cuts, and shoes add up, and add up fast. When we decide to go on a vacation (we have 3 kids), cost factors in a great deal. Even just one extra plane ticket is easily $300. Two kids can join two parents in a hotel room with one bed, but with three, one kid gets the floor. Three big kids can't fit comfortably in a car, once they hit teens.

Allowances, driving to activities (even if activities are free or low cost means gas $).
Exactly. It isn't just about handing down clothes and reusing bikes. SO many things either wear out, don't fit, or plain just are more per person. Food, water and electricity. Preschool/camp/lesson fees. Yearbooks. Photos. Birthday gifts/Easter baskets/Xmas. Travel expenses - even if you don't take extravagant vacations. Just flying to Maine to see the grandparents once a year is more for another airplane ticket or a bigger hotel room.

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It depends on what you want for your kids, but I think those numbers are actually on the low side.

When kids are babies, they're pretty cheap. That ends.

We want our kids to be able to participate in activities that interest them, so for example, we pay for things like dance lessons, a violin tutor and instrument rental, Tae Kwon Do, etc. It's expensive and it adds up, but is priceless in terms of what those activities have done for my kids.

Our kids have far less in the way of designer clothing and status symbols than the vast majority of their colleagues. We say no a great deal, but every now and again, it's nice to say yes. It's easy to believe that this stuff won't matter at all to your kids--that's what I used to think. I have one in jr. high now, and I see it very differently. It really does suck to be the only one in your peer group who doesn't have Ugg boots, for example, when you are 12 years old. That doesn't mean my kids have them, but it is a reality that my kid is ashamed of the fact she doesn't.
Similar here. My almost 14 year old doesn't have Uggs, but 95% of her friends do. She is fine with it, I think - though I know she'd love a pair. She also doesn't have a laptop - something most of her friends have. I've already told her she isn't getting a car for her 16th birthday. It isn't that we can't get these things but that I think it isn't necessary. I don't want a spoiled kid who expects everything handed to her on a silver platter. I think a 16 year old with a BMW and a $200 purse just.... looks bad. Not how I want to parent - whether we can afford it or not. Kids are kids. If she grows up and gets a good job and chooses to buy a $200 purse, more power to her! But I'm not leading her down the path of that being necessary/important.

So yes, you can do a bigger family frugally. You can hand down clothes/sheets/bikes/toys. But there are always consumable costs. Don't kid yourself that another kid won't cost much. It will.
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#20 of 39 Old 02-13-2010, 12:28 AM
 
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Moving to the Frugality and Finances forum.

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#21 of 39 Old 02-13-2010, 07:55 AM
 
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I agree with pp who pointed out that a third child can add an increase in expenses for

- larger car, if you need the space for car seats
- extra-curricular activity fees - basic house league team fees are about $250 to $300 per child, so signing up 3 for soccer or baseball or hockey for a summer is almost $1000, vs. $500 for 2 - it can be a big difference for some families
- "family" admission to museums/art galleries/show etc. is often for 2 adults/2 kids - the third has to pay extra
- school fees - even in public school, there are often extra fees for sport uniforms, field trips, school photos, special pizza lunch days, music instrument loans, lab fees, etc. That 3rd payment can add up through the school year. I know quite a few families who could afford private school tuition for 2, but not for 3, so they don't send any and use the public system instead.
- hotel rooms often can't/won't put 5 in a room - you may have to get 2 hotel rooms when you travel. I know this a huge frustration for friends of ours, who often have trouble booking hotels.

Of course, if you home school, limit activities, don't travel much using hotels etc., many of these expenses can be minimized, as others have suggested.
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#22 of 39 Old 02-13-2010, 10:03 AM
 
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We unschool and live out of town, which I think makes life waaaay cheaper. For example, our homeschool group has regular swap meets, where I usually get some clothes, books and games. We grow much of our own food, with plans to eventually grow 75-90% of it. We vacation with my parents at their timeshare or go camping. Also, not being in town very much gives me less chance to go spend money
This is true for us, too. We live rurally and unschool, grow some of our own food, network with farmers for deals, camp or simply don't vacation. But I do think each additional kid can a) increase costs significantly, and b) limit options for the family. I have four kids.

I'm good at living cheap. I'm frugal with food (buy in bulk, cook from scratch, eat "boring" instead of "fancy'), I network diligently for hand-me-downs and used items so we don't have to buy things, and I have a great system for handing stuff down from sibling to sibling so we hardly ever buy clothes for the kids. Thankfully most of the families we socialize in are in the same boat, but where we lived before, we were the oddballs and it was uncomfortable. I grew up wearing secondhand clothes in a town where that just wasn't done, and I don't care how good it was for my character or my parents' budget, it was really stressful and hard for me.

Having more kids definitely limits your lifestyle options. We have relaxed our standards significantly - our house needs a lot of cosmetic work that we are just ignoring to save the $. Thankfully, where we live, people don't care so much about that kind of thing. But in some areas there are social repercussions for not keeping up with that sort of thing.

I can't afford to have my kids in activities that they would like to do (I have one kid in one class and one kid in paid music lessons, and that is it). Lessons and classes around here start at about $15/week/kid and go up from there. We lived without paid activities for a long time, and I wish I could afford for my kids all to take one or two weekly activities. But that could cost us $300+/month.

Eating out at a nice restaurant with four kids is pretty much unaffordable. Unfortunately, my DH loves to do this. Even if we go to the local pub and get burgers and fries or similar, we end up spending $75+ with tip, and that's for a pretty simple meal. We found one lunch buffet that costs only $40 for the family, so we occasionally soothe DH's "need" for taking the family out by going there, but yikes.

And we never hire a babysitter to go on dates. $10/hour plus the cost of whatever we might be doing out? Dinner? Movie? Nope.

We live in a very arts-rich area, and I would like to be able to take my family to more concerts/shows/events, but it's usually cost-prohibitive. Typical prices are $15-$20/adult and $10-15/kid, so for a family of six, that's $70-100. For one event/one evening. It probably feels affordable to the single person who is buying one ticket, but not to a big family. I took the kids to a puppet show recently, and even with a "group discount" kindly invented by the owner of the troupe as a favor to us, it still cost $30 for just me and the kids, and it was a huge extravagance. A good show, but still.

Generally with three kids you can still fit in a small car (depends on the car, depends on the carseats) but with four kids you need a bigger vehicle, and bigger vehicles generally cost more and use more gas. We need a third-bench SUV here because we need four-wheel-drive. Even minivans only fit 5 kids or 4-5 carseats...without room for extra passengers.

As far as vacations go, if we needed to fly to visit relatives, we couldn't do it. We don't go anywhere fancy for vacations. But that is okay with us.

And food. With fewer kids you have more wiggle room for things like organics and interesting, unusual foods. There is no doubt that every kind of consumable costs more with more people. Toilet paper, art supplies, band-aids...it adds up.

Anyway, I love my family, I love that it is "bigger," I wouldn't trade it. But if I was planning a family now I would probably be choosing fewer kids. The economy is uncertain and although people with more kids maybe have practice already at having less disposable income, they are squeezed, too.

I think the more kids you have, the more flexibility you lose...your "affordable" options decrease, your financial wiggle room shrinks, and you get more proficient at homegrown fun instead of purchased fun.

And the more kids you have, the less 'average' your family will seem socially, at least in some communities, so if you feel uncomfortable sticking out, that could be a consideration.

Also, not just moneywise, but logistically it's more taxing to schlep four kids around than two. I think how easy that feels depends on your personality, but it's good to think about that going into it.

Maybe it's not fair for me to generalize, but this has been my experience with an average to low income and four kids. I'd suggest thinking about what lifestyle stuff is important to you and what you're willing to give up, and consider how flexible you feel about that when thinking about whether or not to have more children.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#23 of 39 Old 02-13-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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When they are babies, no - but once they hit elementary school age, absolutely yes! We've got 4 boys, and the hand-me-down thing doesn't really work when they're rough and tumble playing and you're lucky if clothing lasts through 2 kids (heck, I just had to go and buy jeans for my older two because they shot through the knees, even with patches inside, and so those pants didn't even last one kid one season, LOL!)

We are pretty frugal, but there are experiences that we don't want to forgo just becuase we chose to have 4 kids. So, piano lessons (just 3 taking right now, it'll go up when #4 starts!) run over $300/month. They play one sport per season (well, not in summer) and so that's $200 for all of them to play each sport. While I agree that more kids doesn't always mean needign a bigger house, it definitely means needing a bigger car! We bought a minivan when #3 was born, and we'll have to keep driving a bigger vehicle (hopefully that same minivan, it's a Honda so it should last forever, LOL!) until they are gone from the house. And oh my lord, the FOOD. It's amazing how much they eat, and even being very frugal and choosy in what I buy, we still spend a lot of $ on food each month!
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#24 of 39 Old 02-13-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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I am going to agree with the others on this, that it really depends on what you want and how you live. As some of these women have said, they live out of town and grow their food, etc. But maybe that isn't possible for your situation or something? Ya never know. And yes, babies might not affect the wallet too much, but I think once kids start getting older, you're going to have to start paying for a lot more things too. (Not in every case, but usually). I have two sisters and we of course wouldn't change our family for anything, but it definitely starts costing a lot more once the kids are older. For example, one of my sisters will soon be starting college- so there will be two of us in college; my parents aren't even paying for the tuition and it's still costing money (clothes, food, etc.) But there I think there is definitely a difference once they're not babies anymore!

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#25 of 39 Old 02-13-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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YES. Yes. yes.
Babies do cost as well. Homebirth-$2,500-$4,000.

My dd1 takes piano and 2 hours of ballet a month. $168
My ds will start preschool this fall. $250

Date nights once a week cost at least $100 a pop. But we need to have time alone since my dh works from home and we home school, which means we are together all the time.

Yes with number 3 we had to buy a van. Our paid for camry had to go, but we did pay off our van fast and got a great deal so not too bad.

We like to take vacations and enjoy museums and activities. My dd will do 2 science camps this summer and ballet and my son will start in soccer-maybe.

My kids aren't big eaters so for now that's reasonable, but we planted 8 fruit trees and have a HUGE garden, etc in preparation for the future.

We also bought a bigger house, but it was only 25k more tan the house we sold, we got REALLY BLESSED with finding/buying our current house.

I haven't worked for a substantial salary in 6 years so yes we would have more money.

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#26 of 39 Old 02-13-2010, 03:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jentilla View Post
Date nights once a week cost at least $100 a pop. But we need to have time alone since my dh works from home and we home school, which means we are together all the time.
I have absolutely no doubt that this is necessary in your family and in your marriage. But I wanted to say that DH and I both work from home and we homeschool (4 kids ages 5-11) and we do not have date nights.

Our version of date night is to wait until the kids are all in bed (which is pretty late) and then watch a Netflix movie alone.

DH and I also both get out separately with no kids at least once or twice during the week.

It can be done, and we certainly could not afford to spend what you do on date nights. But I am really happy for you that you have made it a priority and can make it work because it's important to you.

Edited to say that I sincerely do not intend for this to sound snarky! I just want to make sure the OP knows it's not true for everyone where the family works at home and homeschools. I think you spend this on a date night because it's important to you, you've made it a priority, and you can make it work in your budget, and that is a good collection of reasons.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#27 of 39 Old 02-13-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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Just agreeing that the extra expenses come in as they get older. We have four: about to turn 3, 5, 7, and 9 - and while they do have most of what they want, we are comfortable for now, so it's certainly not a huge struggle. I can see how when they are teenagers, it will ge even more costly. We do intend to at the least help the kids pay for college (if that is what they want to do), but besides saving slowly right now (mainly, my parents have college savings accounts for them), *I* will be out of school myself in a few years, and our income will more than double. So, I guess I am just assuming we will have a lot more disposable income at that point - to throw at college for the kids, retirement for ourselves, etc. Just mentioning that in case you are currently a SAHM with plans to go back to work or start a career as your children get older, b/c that really is when they get more expensive. Babies, toddlers, etc., can be cheap IME. It's the activities, private school, cars if you do that, designer clothes - also if you do that ;-), and the biggie - college for more than 2 kids.

Now, I do agree that childcare is more expensive for date nights and whatever. We don't have family to watch them for free anymore, and have plans to go out both tonight and tomorrow night - babysitting alone will cost $150 - but for us, it's not a frequent thing and absolutely worth it.

I don't know, but we are TTC #5, and money honestly is not a big consideration for us, but I know for others adding even just one more is a big deal and something they have to plan for to feel more comfortably from a financial aspect.

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#28 of 39 Old 02-13-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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Those huge numbers for the cost of raising a child come from the USDA, see here. Their estimates are based on what people around the country say they spend, but there are also a lot of assumptions built into their analyses, and they don't figure the costs in anything near the same way you or I would.

In any case, their total reflects what they think people typically spend on a child, and there are many ways that you can spend much less than average without depriving your child at all.
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#29 of 39 Old 02-13-2010, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, original poster here. Thank you to all the mamas that have contributed to this discussion so far. You have given me a lot to consider. I just wanted to give you more about my personal situation so that it will be easier for you guys to give advice. Once again, I'm asking for your opinion and I will be not be upset if it's not all good news

My husband makes just over $30,000 a year a regional truck driver who is on the road m-f, home every weekend. He will be seeking local work after the new baby gets here. Local work is competitive, but overall trucking is a pretty stable industry even in these times. Another upside is that if we all of sudden need more money, he can make it quickly by staying out on the road longer. I get a pension of $12,000 per year from a large communications company. Our only debt currently is our mortgage - $660 a month for a 1600 sq. ft. 4 bed/2 bath house with a big enough lot to add addl. rooms and plant fruit trees and veggie gardens. We live deep into the suburbs of Phoenix.

College wise, we have 529 plans that we and grandparents are paying into as we can. We also live close enough to Arizona State to make living at home an option and have access to many good community colleges and vocational schools.

I should also mention that the baby on the way is a 2nd girl, so there will be immediate sharing of clothes. I breastfeed, we cloth diaper and have good insurance. A used minivan purchase is already required. We have two old cars, fully paid for, but there is simply not enough room for the four us. We are looking to spend about $14,000, any recommendations?

I plan to fully stay home until my youngest is in first grade at the very least. Even then, I'd like to do part-time work that has me home in time for milk and cookies after school and at least one day off during the week so that I can participate at the school. I hated being in daycare till 6 0'clock every night as child. Nothing made me feel more worse. My old company is now hiring people to do technical support from home - so that's a possibility.

Both sets of grandparents plus my sister live in the area and love to babysit. We actually get out the movies quite a bit. For dinners, we have always brought DD along as she has just been an "easy baby". I don't count on getting that lucky twice though. It's only fair to mention that my DH is a "Father of The Year" type. He may only be here on weekends, but he takes every diaper change, most feedings, helps with housework, reads to DD... you get the picture.

So, what's your analysis?
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#30 of 39 Old 02-13-2010, 06:05 PM
 
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i agree with the gist of what most have been saying: it depends on your priorities.

i went from wanting 4 kids to only two after taking a plane trip and realizing how much tickets are and that having more than two would be prohibitive.

for us, travel and our children being bilingual are HUGE priorities.

we homeschool and at the moment are both working to pay down debt. ideally we'd like to have one parent working full time and one home, working from home. but to get there, must pay down student loans (our only debt besides mortgage).

if we both worked full time jobs and sent our children to school, i think we could afford a lot more. but having time with our kiddos is also a HUGE priority.

good luck with your decision!
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