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The Money and Children Equation

Posted by on Sep. 19, 2013 at 12:00 AM
  • 51 Replies

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?  


by on Sep. 19, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Gold Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 9:10 AM
Food is our biggest kid expense!!! I cook 95% of all of our meals and buy mostly organic meats and produce. I noticed a big jump when DS (20 mo) started eating solids. Education is the next biggest expense in terms of kids. I rarely buy clithing or toys as Gma usually splurges on those.
by Platinum Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 9:11 AM

our biggest child-related expense BY FAR was definitely their hospital/dr bills to be born. we dont have good insurance, so just getting them here costs us thousands of dollars. once they are here, they aren't too expensive at all. at least not yet.

by Deanna on Sep. 19, 2013 at 9:26 AM
Food is a big expense for us. I make almost all meals and with my dd's allergies it's more than we expected. Next biggest expense is education.
by on Sep. 19, 2013 at 9:35 AM

We only have one child so we have some wiggle room when it comes to costs, but Im thrifty and like saving money. I guess her after school art classes are the biggest expense right now ($60).

Shes never been in daycare because I work part time and shes either at school or home with me/dh. Her wardrobe is full of name brands, but I pick them up here and there at 2nd hand  stores or on clearance so I never spend a lot. We live in a good public school district so costs for school are very low. I cant even say food because she picks like a little bird! lol

Im sure Ill be in for it when shes a teen, but right now we have it pretty easy.

by Platinum Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 9:42 AM

We don't really have a budget for them. But I buy a lot of their clothes and stuff second hand or on clearance to stretch our budget. Same with toys usually, which we don't buy often.  They don't have all the fancy electronics and everything either. We teach them how to save money and to manage money too

by on Sep. 19, 2013 at 11:01 AM

for DD right now it's soccer. She plays club and travel so it gets pricey

by on Sep. 19, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Food, clothing, activities.

by Gold Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Ours is food and clothing!! But those aren't the things my son wants to spend money on. I try to not bring up money all the time, just because I don't want it to be a constant worry for him. But at the same time, I want him to learn to plan and to value what he has... So it's a balance for us.

by on Sep. 19, 2013 at 1:21 PM
Well, I guess it's food for us. We don't really have anything left after bills and food so we don't buy too many extras. We make all our food and very rarely eat out. Fortunately we have a plan so this will get better soon but rift now our kids don't ask for much. We cloth diaper, so no monthly diaper purchases, we Breastfeeding so no food in the first year to buy. We have lately had summer babies so they don't need a lot of clothes. Lots of naked time. My mom buys tons of clothes for the older kids so they are usually well dressed. We like second hand and used. It works.
by Bronze Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Our biggest expense is school. She's in private school and will remain in one until she graduates from HS. Coming in a close second is after school activities/sports.

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