Most parents I know have at least two struggles when it comes to their kids (and Life really): not enough time and not enough money. Time, well, there isn't too much we can do about that. I've tried petitioning to get an extra hour in the day, but it seems to have gotten lost in the mail. The more money? Yeah, well, that too is a tough one.
Kids cost money. They do. Just basic needs like food, diapers when they are young, shoes when they are older, school supplies, all of it costs money. And adding in some "extras" - a teddy bear here and there, Rainbow looms or a bike...yeah, kids cost money.
And the thing is, we want to spend money on our kids. We don't want them to worry that you as a family don't have enough money, and we don't want them to ever feel like they are deprived. But there is a fine between not feeling deprived and spending money on things that, well, basically, they don't really need and you can't afford.
So, what can you do so you don't go broke raising kids? Start early with good spending habits. From the very beginning, figure a toy/stuff budget and a clothing budget. Re-evaluate it every six months or a year. When kids are really little, they don't need $45 onesies. They don't need a gazillion different toys. It's hard not to get everything in those baby and toddler aisles, especially as a new parent, but truly, pick a few basic ones and keep your eye on the prize, that shiny trophy that is no debt.
As they get older, they are (ahem) more vocal about their wants (like Andrew mentioned, the designer clothes). Just naturally you are outlaying more moolah (have you calculated how much gas do you spend driving to piano lessons, soccer games and ballet class?). So, it's going to be the little things that help to keep your budget in check. Make it a habit to go to the library to stock up on new books. Talk with moms of other boys who may have moved beyond soccer and offer to take that used backyard practice goal off of their hands. Thinking outside the box and keeping tabs on little things will ease that money stress (at least a little bit).
How do you deal with money issues and raising kids? What is the biggest child-related expense for you?