Counting the cost - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 48 Old 01-10-2002, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Of raising a child. One of the girls in my youth group is doing a project in health class with the "Baby Think It Over" dool. It is an electronic doll, that is way to sensitive, is programed to cry mostly at night , and makes raisiing a baby seem much more horrible than it reallt is. Even I almost sent the abuse lights flashing when I babysat for 5 minutes and really I know how to hold a newborn. But I digress. Then the teacher told them it costs $455 a month to raise a baby. On what planet I want to know! and why weren't these kids allowed to consider breastfeeding and cloth diapers?

Idecided for Hannahs sake, lest she never want to have children, to map out how much I spend a month on stuff (or at least for a first child). Here is what i came up with.

Birth not covered by insurance was about $1200 but we used our tax return. So we won't count that.
Diapers about $200 total or $20 a month
Clothes $20 a month max. (I am a bargin queen)
food Including solids $3
bottles, pacifired, Breast $10
pump, spoons, bowls etc . . .
daycare $10
equipment (carseat, $12
sling and swing)
Misc. (LLL mem. books etc. . ) $15
Toys $10
Extra food for me while BF $10
Health insurance $50

So this doesn't include, gifts, WIC, medicaid, and hand me downs. So it is kinda on the high side for us. But the grand total is still only $160. For our second our goal was to spend less than $500 in the first year, not including the cost of the birth. We stayed under $300 because she is our second girl so we needed almost no clothes.

How much do you think you spend a month for yur babies first year?

(edited just to make the title more clear for the archives -Sierra)

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#2 of 48 Old 01-10-2002, 06:12 PM
 
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I am so glad you posted this!

I too have a problem with the dolls you posted about, mostly for the reasons you have posted about, but also for contributing to the idea that young mothers or teen moms are a "problem" (we've talked about this elsewhere on the boards). Okay, that's my own issue.

Anyway, I too want to give young people a realistic look at both the joys and the pains of having kids. Research shows us that scare tactics don't work anyway, and even if they could, is this something we really want to be scaring our sons and daughters about?

Okay, I'm starting to repeat you, but I can't wait to read the lists people might contribute to this thread! Woohoo for this post!

Edited to add: But in fairness I should say that the not-too-fancy preschool where my SO teaches costs parents $1200 per month(!!!). Okay, so we are in a big city with a very, very high cost of living. But, you know, no matter where you are, things are obviously a bit more expensive if you need to work or go to school.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#3 of 48 Old 01-10-2002, 06:44 PM
 
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I have 4 children now and the youngest is 2.5, but I'll try to remember what my youngest baby cost me for his first year.

Birth: 1 $10 copay
Pediatrician: about $50 or 5 $10 copays
Breastmilk: free!

Diapers: $125 The diapers from my older children were worn out so I bought $100 worth of dipes from the Natural Baby Co. I use pins and the plastic pants which are pretty cheap.

Clothes: free I used all hand-me-downs and gifts. When I was pregnant with my first, I bought 2 paper grocery bags stuffed with used baby clothes for about $10.

Gear: $80 for a double stroller since I had a 3 y.o. & a newborn. We didn't use a crib for our 3 youngest children and the one we got for my oldest was a free hand-me-down.

Food: Difficult to estimate. When ds was ready for food, I'd just share what was on my plate. I'll guess about $10/month from about the age of six months, so $5/ month for that whole first year.

Shoes: nothing. I think it's ridiculous to put a baby's fat little feet into shoes. We bought ds his first pair when he was 20 months. That's all I can think of which brings the monthly cost of youngest ds to about $25. That seems really low. I wonder if I'm forgetting something. I'll tell you what we didn't do: take him to Disneyland or buy special "brain building" toys, software or videos. We did spend money on him for his first Christmas, but not that much, maybe $75 worth of toys.

edited to add that we did buy him a really nice snowsuit from Land's End. I think it cost about $60. That bumps his monthly cost up to $30 plus $10/month extra food for me b/c breastfeeding and perhaps $2 for extra electricity due to laundry. So the grand monthly total is up to $42 per month.
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#4 of 48 Old 01-10-2002, 07:53 PM
 
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i agree

babies are only as expensive as the parents make the baby.

you can raise a baby on NOTHING and have it turn out fine.

you can also spend Thousands and have it be fine too.

I know because i was "Dirt Poor" with my first baby, and much more wealthy now. I spend a lot this time....little last time, and both boys are fine.

AP is the LEAST expensive route to go.
No formula costs...(maybe a slight increase in momma's grocery bill, but it would be MINIMAL)
No crib/nursery cost.
One time Diaper Cost--(a little money on washing or service)
No stroller costs (most likely a sling is cheaper=at least somewhat)

AP is really affordable.

***Not that I do much AP stuff with baby, but if you do, I don't see it being expensive either.

It does get very expensive when they are teenagers and college students.





***I don't AP-much. Here are our expenses***if you care: )
bedroom for baby...total....$300
formula= $2.50 per day. ===over $900 per year
babyfood= $1 per day now===365+ per year
gear: strollers $70 (for two)
swing $30
car seats ($150 So far)====you have to have car seats-if you use a car
diapers = $10 per.....3 weeks? maybe
clothes.....most from garage sales and second hand stores.
I bet I still spent over $500 so far, but.........I buy LOTS more than i need.
most of my supplies come from garage sales.



OH our birth was 90% paid for
I think it was like $3000 or something.

didn't cost us much
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#5 of 48 Old 01-11-2002, 12:28 AM
 
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Lets see...

Insurance covered birth, so that was $0 for us...

*I was fortunate to have an aunt who handed down to me- 2 car seats, a stroller, a Baby Bjorn, a sling, infant bath, baby blankets, a hook-on the table high chair seat, and a swing (which i never used)- so that was luckily all free/ $0

*My mom gave me a co-sleeper for a gift, and she also made ds a bunch of newborn clothes

*I was fortunate to receive a ton of clothes for the baby at my shower, plus about $150 in gift certificates for baby stores, and a full supply of cloth diapers

*so, since then what we spend:
*I bf, so no $ on formula
*I also make ds's solid foods at home, I buy all organic, and spend about $20 a month on ingrediants for his food- it's becoming a bit more w/ his recent love for soy and rice milk, and 'Oatios'
*I wash and dry diapers at home (in the summer I hang dry outside, but that's not possible in MN in the winter)- so washing/drying probably costs around $15 a month (I'm guessing), plus about $10 a month for detergent
*Every 2 months this big department-style thrift store has a 1/2 off everything sale. I go and buy a bunch of clothes for ds. I buy for the months he still has to grow into. I spend about $25 every 2 months on clothes, or about $12.50 per month...
*I supplement his diet w/ flax oil, acidophilus, and a multi vite- that averages about $10 a month (they all last longer than a month)
*And I use all natural bathing products, essential oils, and homeopathic remedies, I'd say that averages out to about $10 per month.
So if you add it all together it comes out to about $77.50 per month- it sounds high, I think it's probably actually lower- I was guessing and averaging high...
also most of his toys were hand-me-downs or gifts. I think I've bought him about 3 toys, and I bought them second-hand and they equalled all-together about $10.
We will have to buy some new diaper covers soon, he's out growing these ones...
But I think $455 is ridiculously high!!! Even if someone did use disposables and formula.
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#6 of 48 Old 01-11-2002, 12:35 AM
 
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im 100% for showing teenagers the "down sides" of babies.

seems that a LOT of them think about all the cute and fun things and disregard the difficult things.

they are only a "baby" for a year...or two ...depending on your defination. then they are a toddler.....child....pre-teen!!!!

sure babies are fun.
and i don't think they are as hard as some people make out to be.

but, i also think teenagers should be made VERY aware that it isn't all roses. especially when you are young.

i was a teen mom.

it was far from "fun".
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#7 of 48 Old 01-11-2002, 06:57 AM
 
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Sleepies, I think you might have been following the train of thought in my post regarding teaching young people the "down side" of parenthood. I've talked about this a lot on these boards because this is not only an issue that has affected me personally, but almost all of my professional life so far has been devoted to it. Lest I repeat myself, I will keep this as brief as I can possibly manage.

You and I probably agree that teens should have a realistic view of what parenthood will be like for them, should they chose it. However, on what constitutes a realistic view of parenthood and on how that education is achieved, it is likely we'll have to agree to disagree.

It has been my experience that there are people who are 37 and pregnant who are ill-prepared and who have an unrealistic view of what parenthood will be like. There are also some 17 year olds who enter into parenthood, walking into that same reality jolt. I don't consider either experience a failure or a mistake, just a part of those people's journies. Kids learn a lot from our journies.

In my experience, there are also as many lousy 37 year old mothers as there are 17 year old mothers. The biggest difference between the two is that the younger mothers receive little support from the world around them and are told by most of the world that they are "problems" and that they are expected to "fail." I've seen many a good mother fail herself and her child only because she didn't have the support she needed to reach her potential and because she expected little else from herself.

I think that family planning, and I am not talking about birth control, should be a part of a lifelong public health effort. It's presumptive, unnecessary, and unfair to focus family planning education on teens alone. I think that it is helpful to talk to teens about whether they want to create a family, when they would want to do that, how they will make that possible, how they will work out timing and prevent pregnancy when it is unwanted, etc., just as it is helpful to do that with a 22 year old who has just been married, and a 27 year old who starts thinking it is time, and a 35 year old who is ready to take her focus off her career, and a 40 year old who is hearing her biological clock ticking and not quite sure what to do with it.

Family planning education does involve teaching people what parenthood is about, but the problem, IMO, is that our society is very wrong in some ways and very unsure in many ways about the whole subject of what parenthood is about. Is parenthood challenging? Absolutely! Is it painful and also sometimes incredibly joyful? Sure. But an attached parent of any sort, IMHO, has a bit of an easier time. And even if we choose not to practice AP, attachment parents have a lot to teach the world about what parenthood can be like, and what it can mean.

So, I guess I have some mixed feelings about the implications of your post. But, again, I don't want to repeat myself, and this thread was actually about cost...it's been very enlightening, too.

So let's keep counting!

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#8 of 48 Old 01-11-2002, 10:24 AM
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I don't think you can show a teenager the down and upside of mothering a baby.

I *hate* those dolls (and the egg and sack of flour for that matter) because those inanimant objects do not love you back the way a well nurtured baby is going to love his mother back (not that we love to receive love but that's what happens.)

I heard some talk show host say teenagers should watch a birth so they're afraid to become pregnant. Again, is it good for *all* teenagers to have a negative association with birth (assuming these teens would get a taste of an interventionist hospital birth)

My teenaged daughters were present at my last four births and they *know* how wonderful and uplifting a good birth can be....but they also know how much *work* and *commitment* birthing and nurturing a baby will be....something they are looking foward to when they're older and more able to give.

Instead of having cheap electronic babies wouldn't it be far better to have a culture more age integrated so these teenaged girls would be close to moms of babies; able to see for themselves what it takes to mother a baby?

BTW: I've been dirt poor with some of my babies and it takes next to nothing to properly rear a baby AP style. Some clothes from the secondhand shop. an investment in good cloth diapers, A *good* carseat. a good sling. If you're really poor you can get scholarships from the birthing center and free medical care. It's good for moms to learn (hopefully from moms who've been there) how to cook with a lot of veggies, grains, and soy and how to use herbs and natural and homeopathic remedies to keep the family healthy.
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#9 of 48 Old 01-11-2002, 11:36 AM
 
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<<It has been my experience that there are people who are 37 and pregnant who are ill-prepared and who have an unrealistic view of what parenthood will be like. >>

I totally agree.

I'm not sure how much my kids cost when they were babies, but it wasn't much. We received every piece of baby equipment you can imagine as a gift. Our insurance paid for the births. Occassional co-pays for Dr.s visits where $10. DD#1 used disposable diapers, which were about $30 a month, DD#2 used cloth, which costs than $100. Our kids where given tons of clothes and toys by our extended family.

I quit my job, though, so I guess that our kids costs my old salary

My kids are more expensive now (they are 3 and 5) because we buy their clothes, sign them up for little classes, order them their own meals at resturants etc.
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#10 of 48 Old 01-11-2002, 02:59 PM
 
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Here's what I think mine will cost, plus what I've already spent:

Already spent:

$500 on a complete cloth diaper package - $15/month figuring he'd be in diapers until the age of three.

$500 on clothing, maternity/nursing clothing, toys, books, bedding, infant car seat, toddler car seat, portable crib etc - but my kid is "set" until age three (per month cost would average out to be around $15/month). This is a VERY conservative cost per month divided, because I'm SURE I've bought more!!!

Will spend:

$400 Crib & organic mattress (I can't co-sleep due to needing too many pillows to prop me up so I can sleep - bad back). Sleeping in til age 3: $11/month

$100 cloth diapers & 2 additional loads of laundry (at $3/laundrymat x 52 weeks) plus supplies a month: $100 & 160 & 30 = around $300 total = 156/year, $12/month.

One package of disposable Tushies per month: $15?

[I'm not counting an additional $250/month for an apartment with an additional room until after the baby turns three].

Additional health insurance: $150/month.

Formula, bottles: $0

Breastfeeding supplies: $5/month average

Additional doctor visits, say 4 a year (selective vaccination, misc) at $50 each (plus any over the counter medications, homeopathics) = $25/month.

Additional food per week: $25 = $100/month (for me as a breastfeeding mom & then as baby/toddler food, organic from the farmer's market).

Tally so far of what a baby will cost me a month until he/she is three: $333.

This cost does not include day care, which would be an additional $150/week for an infant ($600/month), $125/week for a one year old ($500/month) or $100/week for a two year old ($400/month). Those prices are for full time. Most places around here do not sell part time child care due to loss of income for a full time spot, and staffing requirements.

$333 & $600 = $933/month for an infant (nursing and using cloth diapers - disposables for day care would be an additional $100/month, putting the total to over $1000/month).

I am not planning on using daycare, so my costs (hopefully) will be $333/month.

If you do not count what I've already bought, the cost will be around $300/month. Most of that would be the additional health insurance for the baby ($150/month).

And my hoped for homebirth with a CNM will cost me $1,350 because my PPO will only cover 70%.

I'm hoping to get other things I want (a homeopathic medicine kit, a couple of slings, a wool pad, etc) from my family/friends/baby shower.
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#11 of 48 Old 01-11-2002, 05:10 PM
 
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I haven't seen these dolls, but there is a billboard I pass sometimes that says "A baby costs 785 dollars a month. How much is your allowance?" I have to say, I wondered how on earth they arrived at that number. But, as Linda in Arizona points out, when you quit your job that adds on to the "cost" big time.

A thought on the whole scare-tactic thing--- does it even work? My job before my ds was teaching at a middle school. Most of the girls I taught who expressed the desire to get pregnant/have babies asap had baby siblings, or sisters with babies, or aunts, etc. They'd already seen, pretty close up, a lot of the downs (and obviously ups) of baby-raising.

I did have a number of girls who had sisters (teens) with babies, and quite a few of their mother's were raising their babies. Even with their mother's helping out a lot, many of these girls had to give up a whole lot of their own childhood to raise their child. If they conciously choose to do so, well then great. But if it's a decision made without realizing the trade-offs, that's kind of a shame.

i agree with you sierra that age has little to do with whether or not one is a good parent. Lots of the really young moms of kids I taught were just fabulous, involved, caring--- super-duper parents- as much so as any other aged parent.

One note: We did the egg thing when I was in middle school and it invariably ended in massive egg throwing fights during class changes- and of course, none of us had hard boiled them.
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#12 of 48 Old 01-11-2002, 05:34 PM
 
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Does anyone else think of those Master Card commercials -- you know the ones: Stroller -- $60, crib -- $200, Baby -- Priceless.

It also has not been that expensive for us to raise our children, expecially our second son. His only cost has been <gasp> disposible diapers, about 50 -60 dollars as a newborn and about half that now. My children never ate baby food. We took, and still take, all the hand me downs we can get. They have plenty of toys but they only get new ones for birthdays and Christmas.

I think that the cost they give the teenagers is based on formula feeding and the assumption that teen mothers won't breastfeed, disposable diapers, and day care. In my town if you took all those things into consideration, the cost would be closer to the $700.00+ figure. The daycare alone would cost $500.00.

As far as teen pregnancy goes, I am hoping that the classes are trying to encourage teens to take the risk of pregnancy seriously. Many teenagers have a "it can't happen to me" attitude, but surprize, it can. Agreed that age doesn't make a good parent, but I often think that the girls who WANT to become single mothers as teenagers are simply looking for love in their lives, and are unprepared for the realities of childrearing. In these cases I think that an eye opening class is a good thing. I think that all parents should become parents for the right reasons, not to fill a void in their life. I worry about the children in those situations.
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#13 of 48 Old 01-11-2002, 05:39 PM
 
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If you have access to a copy of the book "tightwad gazette III" check it out.
They compare the governments calcutalted cost of raising a child to the cost of raising a child the tightwad way. Their answer came out to be something like
$25,000 max till age 18 versus $300,000+ according to the gov.
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#14 of 48 Old 01-11-2002, 07:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by zipperum-a-zoomum
A thought on the whole scare-tactic thing--- does it even work?
No it doesn't. Because I'm in the public health field, this is a lot of what we do: figure out what does and doesn't work, and how it works, so programs can be implemented. As it turns out, scare tactics change a person's attitude for a very short amount of time.

People who are big fans of scare tactics will often ask a person, right after they've been subjected to the tactics, how they feel about the topic. At that point in time, the subject will give you an answer that shows the tactic works.

However, interview the same person several months down the line, and you will get an entirely different answer. Also, scare tactics, even when they do change behavior in the short term, are really inadequate because they don't help a person change a behavior or even an attitude, but rather change a feeling. When used in combination with other behavior change methods, scare tactics can be a part of a larger, more effective picture, but with this particular subject, I'm quite sure this is not something we should be scaring all people about. It's not worth it, given the tactics drawbacks.

Quote:
My job before my ds was teaching at a middle school. Most of the girls I taught who expressed the desire to get pregnant/have babies asap had baby siblings, or sisters with babies, or aunts, etc. They'd already seen, pretty close up, a lot of the downs (and obviously ups) of baby-raising.
Yes. This is something we are just now looking at. We've, for years, made an assumption that girls who get pregnant have no idea what they are getting into. But it is true that a statistically significant group of girls who want babies are in very close contact with young children, and sometimes they are even the young child's caretaker. We don't know yet what the implications of this information is, but it shouldn't be ignored.

Quote:
I did have a number of girls who had sisters (teens) with babies, and quite a few of their mother's were raising their babies. Even with their mother's helping out a lot, many of these girls had to give up a whole lot of their own childhood to raise their child. If they conciously choose to do so, well then great. But if it's a decision made without realizing the trade-offs, that's kind of a shame.
Oh, but I've also worked with many adult mothers who couldn't adeqautely care for their children. This is a more hidden problem in our society. We especially feel like we should stay out of someone else's business when she is a 35 year old woman. We feel much more confident about marching into the life of a 16 year old mother, kwim?

Also, as you talk about giving up one's childhood, you remind me that our idea of a "childhood" is an ever changing thing. In my grandmother's (or perhaps great-grandmother's) generation, many girls were married by 16 or 17. Sometimes as young as 15. They were expected to work. Some led revolutions. Most began to have babies soon after marriage. They led productive lives. If you look back into your own family history, you will likely find a line of teenage mothers. Of course, times have changed, but the biological instincts we have as women, even young women, will be slow to follow because evolution is a slow process. I also don't know whether we are changing for the better. Are all people cut out for work outisde the home, or is it better to allow some girls to have babies and stay home with them instead? Okay, I can tell I'm not explaining myself well because I'm trying to keep this short. The point is, the issue is much more complex than we tend to see it. It is also much more individualized.

What I do agree with you on, though, is that the decision to have a child is better made rather than forced into a life. That's why I support lifespan long family planning (again, not just talking about birth control here, but the actual planning process).

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#15 of 48 Old 01-11-2002, 07:35 PM
 
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Just to be CONTRARY, I wonder how much it costs NOT to have a baby...let's see...birth control and/or abortion and/or side effects, plus ongoing psychological trauma...opportunity cost of opting out of job market mid-life instead of up-front, say, before college...or instead of college...costs of hobbies to take the place of children (I know SOOOOO many people who had pets pets pets pets as babies before they allowed themselves to have human babies)...costs of all those nights out - gas, clubbing clothes, on all those child-free nights...well you get the picture.

Children are FREE. Any idiot can raise a child on the child tax credit or less if they put their mind to it. And if you don't have any income to take the child tax credit (or earned income credit) in the first place, then let us know, because you've figured out a way to make adult life free too, and I want to know the secret!

Now, I am deliberately being sarcastic. Those dollies are stupid. If anything, they convince teenagers that there is a finite set of behavior on their part that will stop a real live human being from fussing, and we all know this just ain't so. I believe that most teens who are in situations where they would need to know what life is like with an infant, already have this knowledge. What these teens need is an adult mentor who gives them something to emulate, to spend time with them exploring what their lives can become, not to show them how horrible parenthood could be (oh isn't that great - we are spending tax money teaching teenagers that parenthood is a horrible and awful responsibility) Gimme a break. Let the teenagers be kids, and let the adults in their lives (or the ones that could be in their lives) stop trying to pass the buck with some high-tech substitute.


OK, I'm going to shut up now : )

Sarah
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#16 of 48 Old 01-12-2002, 09:33 AM
 
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Madison's post made me wonder if I should include my loss of income in the cost of having a baby. Other than bits of part time work here and there and a minor foray into WAH, I have earned nothing for nearly 10 years. I don't regret giving up a salary to raise my children, but because I've been out of the workforce for so long, I've forfeited social security benefits. It really, really bugs me that SAHM's get no SS credit. We are doing important work which most certainly contributes to the well-being of our society and yet the gov't categorizes us as "dependents." I mentioned in another thread that I may list my occupation on this year's tax return as "unpaid laborer." (I used to write "mother." I detest the terms housewife and homemaker.)
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#17 of 48 Old 01-12-2002, 12:07 PM
 
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I never had any experience with eggs, flour sacks, dolls, etc. The extent of my formal education on parenting was a 20 minute video of a woman, laying on her back, screaming, giving birth. I'm sure she was doped up, too. When I was in high school I was on the pill and very careful not to get pregnant. I graduated with honors, had been accepted to many top schools, and decided not to go. Why? Not because I have low self esteem or no ambitions in life (as has been suggested or implied). I just didn't want to. I moved across the country to New York, worked for an environmental agency part-time, and worked as an au pair the rest of the time, for two kids, 2.5 and 4.5. I was only 18, but watching these 40 year old parents would make me sick. They cared little for their nutrition, the mother constantly seemed too rushed to enjoy her children (when she was home which was hardly ever), and the father seemed a bit clueless in general. The mother was always putting down the dad in front of the children. The 2.5 year old started calling me mom, and the 4.5 year old constantly asked questions about why her brother called me mom, why her mom or dad wasn't taking care of her instead of me when they were right downstairs, etc. It broke my heart and I had to quit. Now at 20, I have my own daughter, and a wonderful husband, who is 19. We have been together since high school, and love each other very much. He is a fantastic dad, and loves supporting his family. He also has great respect for my job- being a mom. We constantly surprise people when they find out how young we are. Why? Because no one expects two intelligent, self educated people to have made such an awful "mistake" as having a child at 19. Much of my family is this way, and it really makes me angry. Why should it shock someone that we researched everything to do with pregnancy, birth, and childcare? That we love being parents? That we are happier as a family then we ever have been? These stereotypes are wrong, and hurtful to those of us who are good, responsible parents and happen to be young. By the way, our baby hasn't cost us that much, because I stay at home, we cosleep, breastfeed, etc. We do spurge a little on her, and we have the means to do so, without any help from the government (not that it would be horrible if we had help). I think the worst thing that these stereotypes do is to imply that babies are a pain in the a**. Babies are a blessing- every single one, no matter who they are born to.
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#18 of 48 Old 01-12-2002, 12:36 PM
 
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My son "costs" next to nothing and that's the way it has always has been. We do not have to pay for health care in Canada. (Of course we are are taxed to death because of it but I digress...) I do not exaggerate when I say that everything we have has been given to us. I am a bonafide thrift store connoisseur and there is nothing that your baby needs that cannot be purchased for next-to-nothing, second hand. Yes, I have even salvaged things that I have found at the side of the road, waiting for the garbage truck!
It astounds me how much people think it costs to have a baby, aside from the costs incurred by health care. Most of the major expenses are totally voluntary. A baby doesn't NEED a Classic Pooh nursery. We have co-slept ever since he was born. Of course we (still) breastfeed and didn't even start solids until he was 8-9 months, and even then I made my own baby food from the groceries I had. No special purchases there.
I didn't use a stroller until he got too heavy for me to reasonably carry, and then the stroller we aquired was second hand.
The only monthly cost was the cloth diaper service at $50 and Mothering magazine (he he) at $6.95.
Babies don't want you to max out your credit card buying Osh Kosh, playpens, floor "adventure" mats, walkers, crank-up swings (my least favorite baby item), teethers, and "musical" Fisher Price crib attachments that are supposed to put baby to sleep for you, and etc etc etc from the PVC land of hellish baby consumerism. It makes me so sad that new parents are so vulnerable and make their purchases based on all the things they think they need to be respectable parents...
I know I'm freaking out here but it really does anger me the amount of money people throw away on useless stuff when some parents can't even afford things that are already second hand. Yeah, I have issues.
~that electronic doll is ridiculous and sounds like another huge waste of money. My mom had me when she was 17, so teen parenting issues have always hit close to home. Like most things about this society, there are more effective ways to educate people, and doing it in a way that satisfies corporate interests is not the way to go.
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#19 of 48 Old 01-12-2002, 02:46 PM
 
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To play devils advocate...
what about saving for your child's college education? wedding? granted a big wedding means nothing to me, but if it means alot to my daughter i'd rather help than see her go into debt for it. private school if that arises as a need? Unforseen occurrence, i.e..premature birth-extended stay in hospital, disability? wages from staying home or day care. I gave up over 2k a month to stay home. educational activites for kids (museums etc..) Food once your child is weaned, extra insurance and possibly car once they are driving, clothes (we don't get any hand me downs- you can't count on them) larger home, 2bd opposed to 1. At some point you'll need 2.
Granted, babies aren't so expensive-especially AP style... but the figures they get are based on an average of the whole time period... not just the baby age. We spend/spent 500 easy on Malia with all the initial costs and money we are saving for her future.
babies are cheap.... raising a baby from baby to adulthood isn't imo.

Aly
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#20 of 48 Old 01-12-2002, 03:27 PM
 
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To be more specific, here are some expenses we have.
Already spent:
*diapers, wipes and covers 400.00
*Hospital expenses (yes I had to have a hospital birth, midwives wouldn't except me as I was "high risk") 1200.00 out of pocket
*Lactation consultant and electric pump rental (prior breast surgery, no milk) 150.00
*Car seat (travel system, strollers DO come in handy for pushing "things" even if baby never uses it ) 89.00
*Slings (new native and didymos) 160.00
*Crib (co sleeping didn't work, Malia sleeps worlds better with her own crib as a sidecar to our bed) 500.00 though I do realize they don't have to cost that much.
*High Chair (invaluable! while I make dinner she sits and plays with spice jars... and we sing/talk and ahve fun)169.00, though I know one doesn't need a peg perego brand high chair.
*Monitors *gasp* yes, we use monitors... sometimes I enjoy a nice hot bubble bath while she rests and monitors make me feel confident. SO I know knwo when she awakes. 30.00
*New clothes for me, since I could no longer where my old ones. Either to small or not compatible with nursing 500.00
*Maternity clothes: 300.00


OUR Monthly expenses- I do realize many aren't of utmost neccesity:
*books 20.00
*Pictures (photography is my passion, so this is as much for me as it is her) (includes both formal and snap shot photo developing)20.00
*Clothes: 30 (no hand me downs here)
*Health Insurance (our amount increased dramatically after adding her) 100.00
*medicinal incidentals, hylands tabs, essential oils, etc... 5.00
*College Savings: 150.00 (by the time she is 18 this will be 32,000... NOT an over estimate of a college education and living expenses by ANY means. under if you ask me, we plan to increase this amount eventually.
*Incidental savings: 75.00 (this is for large expenses and emergency expenses that may come up. Car, wedding, graduation, private education if her needs exceed what I can provide in home education, large educational trips and such revolving around home schooling, some type of emergency accident/surgery/illness)
*Increase in the quality of food I eat b/c of breastfeeding: 30.00
*Scrapbooking supplies 10.00 (all generic versions)

Expenses to come:
*classes to suit her interest, dance, horse back, Karate etc...
*MOnthly schooling expenses since we will learn at home.
*Possible waldorf tuition
*healthy organic food once she is weaned, the amount will grow as she gets older and eats more.
*increase in the cost of clothes
*yearly health insurance premium increase
parties, events and such important to her

That is what comes to mind so off the top of my head. Our current monthly budget is 440.00 NOT including the sunk cost of things already paid for. We have 450 budgetted and normally spend it all...
Adding up the first time expenses (excluding the things one doesn't actually "need") is roughly 2500.00

Perhaps we spend more than we need to, but we try hard to plan for the future and things that she will eventually need. Our parents saw us as being "raised" and now student loans are a horrible burden. I don't want my kids to have that burden, so we are planning now to provide then. Raising kids means much beyond their first few years.
So, any way I can totally see where the estimates come from.

Aly
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#21 of 48 Old 01-12-2002, 03:41 PM
 
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On another note... Baby think it over is a joke. We had them in school and it is nothing like a real baby. There is no smile, special moments or return of love. Of all the girls I know who ahve used one all think it's a joke and nothing like motherhood
Perhaps a good idea would be to say a baby costs from 200-700 a month depending on your lifestyle and living standards?? Cause tey certainly CAN cost 500 a month as I just showed But they certainly don't HAVE to.

Aly
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#22 of 48 Old 01-12-2002, 04:59 PM
 
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i agree with aly.

i also forgot to put our book expense

we pay about the same...$20 a month on books for baby

but we COULD borrow them for free from the library.

i think those dolls would be a lot easier than a baby.

i think they should have teenagers babysit for Two and Three year olds. THAT would the the real thing. Babies aren't that bad. My babies were asleep over 20 hrs per day until 2 months...even then they are easy.
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#23 of 48 Old 01-12-2002, 05:13 PM
 
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Katrina, I totally agree with what you said about young parents. DH & I were 23 when we had our first child. I'm 33 now, and some people still find it hard to believe that I, a well educated woman would choose to have a baby so young. People have said the most incredibly insensitive things to me. Once, when I was having my hair cut, the hairdresser asked me, "Now, are you sure you know where babies come from?" He said it in a joking voice, but it was still a stupid thing to say.

I would love to have a career someday. I don't see why a woman can't have her babies young, stay home with them, and start a career when the babies are older. That's what my mom did.
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#24 of 48 Old 01-12-2002, 11:23 PM
 
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Okay, everyone else already said whatever I would have, and I definitely don't have the energy right now to calculate how much it cost to have my dd, but what does fromula really cost, just out of curiosity? I've seen those bottles of the ready to feed stuff in the store for about four dollars a bottle, it looks like a baby would go through one of those a day, maybe even more? Those bottles look to be about a quart, and don't babies have about four or more eight-ounce bottles a day? So we're talking about $150 a month for formula??? $1,800 a year??? Is my math wrong, am I just really tired? That is soooo insane, I'm sorry, but when I think about how it cost me NOTHING to feed dd, unless I figure in some nursing bras and pads, that just makes me crazy, thinking about all these moms who are poor blowing that much dough on something like formula. I have a friend right now who is pregnant with ds #2 and can't even afford to go out to dinner with me more than once every few months and she is choosing not to breastfeed because she doesn't think she can be "attached to the baby all the time." Just think what she could do with that money. Of course, she smokes too (let's not even GO there, because I'll rant for pages about her), and that costs as much as formula, so she's spending $300 a month on cigs and formula, not to mention all those extra dr. visits for the soon to be two children - her son is always sick, wonder why? :
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#25 of 48 Old 01-13-2002, 01:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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O.K. as for the dolls, maybe they should have have five-year-old-think-it over. Heck baby was nothing compared to this

Aly - Just a reilistic range. That is all I am really asking for. I could easily spend a lot more on my baby. I could spend a lot less. That is not the issue. I just hate it when people lie to scare kids. Besides, most of those lies are so outrageous the kids dismiss anything that may be true. And I just really hate the way some people assume a teenager couldn't be frugal or think beyond what society offers (BF, CD). I work with teenagers who quite often babysit for me. The ones who have sucessfully changed cloth diapers announce it with pride. the one who got soaked with puke last night said in front of all her friend "It is just breastmilk, it will wash out " Kids aren't as stupid as people make them out to be.

As for what it cost to give up my salarey. No matter how poor we were we tried to live off DH salarey because it was never a question as to wheter or not I would be able to stay home. I just was. The most I ever made was $1500 a month. But if I spent:
$4/hour for daycare @50 a week for 4.5 weeks/ month that would be $900/ month
A second car (we get by with one now but if I had to be dressed neatly, get to work and daycare on time and run for food we would need a second) at least $150 for payments and insurance then another $45 for gas
plus more taxes because we would be in a higher tax bracket
Pplus more convience foods $100
Plus Dr. bills because kids in Dycare get lots of colds $50 (we don't have insurance)
Family couseling because we all be misreable $250
See, we break even.

Oh, another point about those dolls, If anybody knows an unfortunate girl who has to play this game, you can cut down the crying at night by shining a flashlight up thier nose. There is a light sensor inside. When they sense darkness they are programmed to cry more. just a tip.


teenagers here get just about everything they need for free. There are no income guidelines for teens to be on WIC or participate in the Teddybear din (free carseats, gyboree and gap clothes as well as a bunch of second hand stuff, diapers, bottles, formula, swings you name it. you get points for attending wic apointment, dr appointments, signing up for medicaid etc. 50-1000 points per visit. Carseats cost 400 points. If you need something you can get it. if you run out of points and need soomething there are always the classes they offer for more points) If you aren't covered on your parents insurance you automatically qualify for babycare which covers your pregnacy and children's health care. It is awsome coverage. Full dental eye, chiro. medical, perscription. We had it, loved it lost it. And if you qualify for all that you can have most (90%) of your rent paid too. Most houses in town accept the vouchers. So really if your 18 or under money really isn't a factor *here*. The high school has a free daycare too. So for here money isn't an issue. Any girl with a friend who has a baby won't be scared by fake high prices of raising a baby.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#26 of 48 Old 01-13-2002, 02:54 AM
 
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I was a teenager when my youngest brother was born. I learned what a real baby was like.
Now when my brother was a teenager all the students had to carry a flour sack around for two weeks in order to graduate 8th grade. My brother who is care free, irresponsible, lazy etc. was the only boy to turn in his sack w/o tape on it. (He wore it in a sling all the time.)
I think all teenagers should have exposure to babies/children. Our town has those electronic babies. Our taxes pay for the stupid things.
I'll try to remember what my baby cost.
Health Insurance went up only when we married

Prenatal $5 per visit (how many?)
Birth 100% covered
carseat $30
nursing bras $30 ($5 ea Motherwear outlet)
Lansinoh $10
breastmilk FREE
Never had an illness first year
All baby equipment and clothes were gifts or hand me downs (1st grandchild both sides)
Cloth diapers and wraps $20

I can't think of anything else

Baby #2 was more expensive $1200 king size bed

I always get a good laugh at the "How much a baby cost" articles.
If you don't get hand me downs you need more friends!
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#27 of 48 Old 01-13-2002, 07:25 PM
 
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Another note about $ for maternity clothes:
I spent very little on "maternity clothes". I went to thrift stores and bought stylish pants, w/ elastic wastes, a couple sizes bigger than normal- I bought beautiful baggy but stylish velvet pants, silk pants w/ oriental prints, rayon pants... plus pretty long skirts... I also used sundresses and other cute dresses as shirts and layered w/ a button up sweater left open or pretty shirts left open... I got to dress sexy and stylish, and spend very little $$. I was constantly getting compliments and pregnant moms would ask what maternity store I found these great "maternity" clothes at.
After ds was born, still not able to fit into my old clothes, I went back to the thrift stores and bought clothes that fit me then and were both comfortable and stylish- I knew they were temporary, so I didn't want to go buy a whole bunch of stuff and spend a bunch of money for clothes that soon wouldn't be worn.
As for nursing bras- I bought one (spent $35) and wore it like 3 times. I personally think they are a waste of $. I find it much easier to wear a good, comfortable, supportive bra and just lift my shirt and bra to nurse.
All the "frills" are so unnecessarry. They are only there to make the companies producing these products rich.
As for scaring teenagers- well, I don't think scaring them is the best way. Somehow we need to teach them there's no rush, and demonstrate that parenting takes a lot of responsibility, time, and maturity- through friendly communication. I believe we should be supportive and friendly to any young girl who gets pregnant and decides to have her baby, but i also don't support encouraging teens to get pregnant.
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#28 of 48 Old 01-13-2002, 08:11 PM
 
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Peacemama

you asked how much formula costs.

for ready to feed cans.

32 ounces is $3 (a little less actually)

my 6 month old drinks one can per day.

so we spend around $1,000 per year. Closer to 900$ really because formula is like $2.55 to be exact.

That is for ready to feed. Powder is cheaper, but it is CRAP in my opinion.

The little tiny 8oz cans/bottles are very very expensive, but I don't think anyone uses those very often. They are more for travel.
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#29 of 48 Old 01-13-2002, 08:41 PM
 
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In my area formula is $4.29 for a ready to feed, and you would use at least on of these per day.:
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#30 of 48 Old 01-14-2002, 10:00 AM
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About the issue of older children being more expensive. I agree to a point.

I want to share a couple of thoughts, however.

One, my older children actually *benefitted* from us being a bit on the poor side because they learned at a young age that if they wanted something they would need to work hard to earn the money to buy it themselves. They thought through the more philosophical "Is this *thing* worth the *time* it takes to earn to actually acquire it?" This has made them much less materialistic than most of their peers.

It has also given them a good work ethic.

It has also taught them to appreciate the simple pleasures in life and to be nicely thrifty.

My older children are only allowed to participate in one activity at a time (with understanding when things briefly overlap) This is a combination of budget and time constraints.

Also, my oldest daughter is engaged and didn't expect us to help her financially with her wedding. We have saved up a bit of money and just yesterday we met with her and her fiance to discuss budgeting. When we told her we could help and how much we could contribute she actually cried. If she had been reared in a spoiled, privledged, materialistic environment she would likely have had the mentality that we were *obligated* to pony up the money for the wedding and anything short of her dream (read expensive) ideas of her wedding day would have resulted in a poutey spoiled adult child.

So things *do* turn out well in the end even when tons of money wasn't always a factor in the equation.

DB
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