Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mo' Money, Mo' Money, Mo' Money

Okay, where's that from?


I just logged on to write a post about how expensive it is to raise kids, and right there on the front page of MSN is this article: Will Kids Drag You to The Poorhouse? The timing is downright uncanny.

It's lately becoming more and more of a reality in our house, just how much kids cost. When most couples are planning a family - at least in our case (and I have to think that we are not so unusual) - they don't think far beyond the squishy baby phase, the adorable toddler phase, or maybe the precocious preschool age. It's just really difficult to fathom your little ones (especially the ones you haven't even had yet but are just dreaming about) becoming big kids with big, expensive needs and wants.

Here's what I've figured out: babies are cheap, but kids are expensive.

I've prided myself on the thousands of dollars I've saved our family by using cloth diapers on my babies and nixing formula in favor of breastfeeding for, like, forever. The biggest expenses for any of our babies, I would say, have been the two home births which our insurance did not cover and which we paid for out-of-pocket. However, under our insurance plan, hospital births come with a hefty deductible, then there are all the office co-pays, plus gas and parking for all those doctor appointments . . . so really, the difference was negligible. But I digress.

Anyway, so the babes have been fairly inexpensive. But as they get older, there are orthodontics and music lessons and sports and dance and . . . the list goes on. It runs into a lot of moolah. Last night there was an informational meeting at Kevin's school regarding the long-awaited Eighth Grade Washington DC Trip. Kevin will be an eighth grader this next school year, so the time has come. I really had nothing on which to base my ideas of what it would cost except a shot in the dark, and as it turns out, it's going to cost us roughly twice as much as I had unrealistically anticipated. No wonder they had the meeting now - they're giving us nearly a year to pay towards the trip (oh, and he'll be all the way across the country, 3,000 miles away from his parents and family, for eight days. Do you think I'm freaking out a little?)

Don't get me wrong. I'm really glad we're able to provide all these things for our kids - much of it stuff that my parents couldn't afford for me, so it makes it all that much more significant to me.

I just wonder, if people really understood the price tag their kids were going to come with, how it would impact their family planning. It must impact people - I'm sure it's a big reason why some couples decide to have only one child. I wonder if we would have had six if we had really had a grasp on financial reality with regard to raising kids.

Don't even get me started on college and weddings. I'll just say that I see nothing wrong with my kids working their way through college, and taking on some student loans. Scholarships would be nice, too. And weddings? I will be strongly encouraging my kids to elope. I'm not kidding.


Crittle said...

In Living Color! :-)

I can't believe they get to go to DC. 8 days?! I mean, I used to see groups of kids around the city all the time, but I guess that I assumed that they all were within driving distance.

In the 8th grade, we went to Ocean City, MD, for a weekend. Yay?

Lisa said...

You know who has mo money than they know what to do wit? The GUB. MENT.

Absolutely nothing wrong with a city hall ceremony!

Stephanie said...

Yeah I only had/have a very hazy idea at how much it costs to raise a child. Having a larg(ish) family was important to us, and we proceed with the idea that we'll get by somehow. My kids are going to be raised with the idea that they'll be working through college the same way I did. If they want a car in high school they'll help out with the cost for that etc. One reason why I'm going back to school is to increase my income significantly so that in a few years I'll be able to afford things like trips to DC etc. As it stands now, there's no way we could afford something like that.

ashamom said...

Yeah.... My oldest is going to a tech-y high school next year and they STRONGLY encouraged the parents to get them laptops... I had no idea that my son would be getting a laptop before me!
Oh! He is going to an amusement park ( 2hrs away) tomorrow as his 8th grade trip. Cost us less then a $100.
It does get more expensive as they age...