December 7, 2010

BlogVice: Best Way to Break Your Bank

Best way to kill your budget? Have kids.

Kids are so expensive. Understatement of the century.  When people start thinking about having babies, they grossly (and I mean, grossly) underestimate the costs of kid.  And even more so, the costs of kids.

Just the baby gear alone is a small home equity line of credit.  But before the baby gear comes the whole new wardrobe of stretchy pants, odd shaped underpants, weird bras, wider shoes that you've gotta get.  Cost: $300 (if you don't work and can fly by on sweatpants); $500 if you go all in with Target; $1200 if you go Pea in the Pod; $1500+ if you need working wardrobe like suits and shoes.

Now, comes the gear. Crib, bedding, stroller, carseat(s), highchair, humidifiers, swing, bouncy, Boppy, tubby, breastpump (!), formula (another kudos for breastfeeding - at least you'd save money here), diapers (!), nursing bras, the teeny tiny collegiate onesies, Elmo products, DVDs (oh, the car DVD player if you're not already sporting the Escalade), stickers, crayons, paper, hats, plastic forks, trays, sippy cups, diaper bag, bottles, changing table, rocker, burp pads, rug, nursery decor, and most likely a large humiliating new vehicle, etc. etc.

Costs:  Crib: $150 if you don't worry about your child losing a finger or two; $350 if you are frugal; $1200 if your baby is a princess (and so are you). Bedding: same theory applies: $80-1200+. 
Carseat: $75 if you are okay with the baby suffering a mild concussion in a fender-bender; $300 if you are mid-range; $500 if you are a paranoid freak.
Breastpump: $350+. Enough said. There is only one of these worth getting close to the Girls.

And on it goes... to the tune of about $5,000 more. $5,000 is really an estimate for the lucky and frugal. 

Most likely, if you and your partner have been a fabulous single couple - meaning you have a nice car, a snazzy apartment in the city, and other finer things  - say hello to a new house, big ole car and storage for all your bear skin rugs and Italian leather stuff that would fall prey to baby stickies.

Speaking of sticky.  Kids are stickyCost: dry cleaning, sticker purchases, carpet cleaning and de-stickifying is $100 a month.

Then, if you go back to work, do not forget the cost of childcare.  I work close to five months a year to pay for a nanny and all the extras that go along with the luxury of having childcare in-home.

Just wait until the kids are preschool age.  Another $200-600 a month, per child to go to "school" where they fingerpaint and pick noses. Plus the ridiculous projects the school assigns: Bring in $5 for pizza day!  Bring in $25 gift card for your teacher! Bring in an "appetizer" to share! The appetizer being my favorite - the word appetizer for a two year old's Christmas party.

And doctor's visits, medicine, clothing, shoes, college (!), school dances, cars, toys, holidays, birthday parties (and all 50 of their little friends have birthday parties too!).... and so on...

Last but not least, do not forget the price of your slow-dying ego.  Gone may be your bikini days - unless you are the evil Gisele, or otherwise blessed beyond all realms of stretchmarks and time.  Welcome to the world where there is no time to read Harper's Bazaar, and as such, you fall gravely behind the fashion times. Don't forget your husband may start wearing gas station glasses and pleated dockers and (gasp) driving the minivan to take the kids for a splishy splashy.

Well. Are babies in your budget? The answer is probably no.  But neither is that new purse or flatscreen television and those things probably make you happy. 

So....go on, get that new purse and the baby.  You'll be glad you did.  (Maybe you ought to wait on the television, until the peanut butter fingers are a little older....)

Caveat: This may sound like a negative post.  Not meant to be. Afterall, our babies are the best $150,000 (and counting) we've ever spent.  And yes, at that price, they are much nicer than our previous two houses - thanks for asking!


Atlanta's Frugal Mom said...

I couldn't agree more, Meredith! The high cost of having children is continuously climbing. Let's not even discuss the price your mind (Mommy Brain = senility) and body pays in the process. All in all, however, I wouldn't trade my Tot in for all the -um- money in the world.

P.S. You know frugal (translation: cheap@$$) me MUST disagree with your price tags. ;o) -- Garage sales, my dear; garage sales!

Mere said...

Yes, but every baby book in the touts the rule of "if you really love your children you would NEVER buy anything USED." :) This post was for first time parents. Most likely, they'll read the books; frugality stands no chance.

I was going to give you a shout out, as the frugal. But you are beyond frugal. They need a new word for you. Like Brugal. A combo of Barb & Frugal.

AND you bought a minivan. So, even you came in over the $5,000 starting estimate! :)