I’ve written about this subject before but feel it’s worth revisiting… so here goes. Normally I am fairly discerning with the level of information I’d share publicly on such a forum but regarding this point I think it’s important to be real.
My husband and I often joke it would probably be cheaper to move out to the middle of nowhere as opposed to raising our children in a large metro area where the cost of living is likely much higher than what we perceive it would be elsewhere. With our recent news of a new baby on the way, finances has been on the top, middle and bottom of my mind for several weeks now. The daunting estimate of $250k to raise one child looming over my head (doubled with two) I’ve been doing a lot of research on preparing for a second child and am surprised at how little information that is useful is actually out there on the web to new parents or even those expanding their family.
For the last year or so I’ve felt that we are just making it month to month, trying to save for retirement and college, balance our debts and monthly bills with our income. I’ve always been one to budget but to be honest we’ve been just been getting by for the last year or so with no money in savings (aside from retirement and college plans) and about anywhere from $100-180 a week to pay for our incidentals like food and gas. Most extra money we manage to get our hands on outside of these remainder funds has been financing travel to visit family and pay our medical bills. Irresponsible? Maybe.
Fortunately, my husbands work isn’t far from our house and thankfully he doesn’t go through much gas. In any case, as you can imagine aside from a few times we’ve had windfall of a couple thousand for various reasons over this last year or so (which basically just gives us the ability to pay our portion of our medical bills and see family) I’ve been couponing my ass off and looking for creative ways to not spend money. My most recent idea – reusing my plant containers for trash cans around the house!
In doing research about the cost of raising a family today I was surprised, shocked and I guess you could say comforted to realize that even though I feel like we’ve been barely making it we aren’t really in different shoes then the rest of the country with 2 adults and 2 children. In one recent article I found on the Wall Street Journal – the average cost of childcare in my state is actually 120% of what it costs for instate college tuition! Can you believe that??!!
Backtracking to my original thought that it might be cheaper to raise a family elsewhere (which is actually one of the recommendations I found on a parenting website) another article, again from the Wall Street Journal, says that even in the cheapest place to raise a family in this country (Morristown, Tennessee) meeting basic needs will run you $49,114! Now, I’ve always been one skeptical of statistics, but based on my experience I find myself nodding my head to this information in agreement.
At the end of the day, I have decided that being frustrated and despairing about my current financial situation… even having thoughts about greener pastures… just isn’t realistic. Sure there are things we could do differently with our finances to be in a better position and more prepared for disaster, however, based on my research I’m finding that getting caught up in this idea (even if we had less debt) isn’t logical. It’s just expensive to raise a family period. Debt or no debt, even millionaires suffer the same “meeting the needs” costs as the rest of us.
The best we can do is to come to the realization that even with more resources these basic expenses are inevitable and be sympathetic to other young family’s struggles as a society. After all, according to other data I’ve seen the first 4 years of a child’s life are nearly the most expensive – with the only exception being years 18-21. From ages 5-17 the cost is nearly half or less than the other years, a comforting thought shedding a little light on the situation that is my current struggle and hopefully someone else’s too! What do you think? Is having a baby The Ultimate Money Pit? Hah. Ha…
Wow! This post is really late – but hey, there are couple days left to take advantage of these sales so here’s your reminder of:
What’s on sale in July…
National Ice Cream Month
Ice Cream Sandwiches, Frozen Novelties, Ice Cream, Ice Cream Makers and Rock Salt, Ice Cream Cones
Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Figs, Grapes, Honeydew Melon, Nectarines, Peaches, Plums, Raspberries, Watermelon, Bell Peppers Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplants, Garlic, Green Beans, Potatoes, Red Onions, Summer Squash, Tomatoes
4th of July Items
Grilling Meats, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Baked Beans, BBQ Sauce, Ketchup & Condiments, Salad Dressing, Potato Chips, Dips, Flags, Fans, Fireworks, Charcoal, Paper Goods
Razors, Cartridges, Shaving Creams, Lotions and Gels, Aftershave
Tents, Dutch Ovens, Sleeping Bags, Lanterns, Hiking Boots, Coolers, Air Mattresses, Fishing Gear, Headlamps, Portable Cooking Stoves, First Aid Kits, Water Bottles & Water Filtration Systems, Insect Repellent, Sunscreen
Crayons, Pencils, Folders, Binders, Notebooks, Pens, Markers
What’s on sale in June…
National Dairy Month
Milk (be on the look out for free milk Catalinas when you buy cereal promos), Ice Cream, Cheese, Butter, Eggs, Yogurt
Apricots, Strawberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Raspberries, Grapes, Honeydew, Watermelon, Nectarines, Peaches, Cherries, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Red & Sweet Onions, Summer Squash
Fourth of July Sales
Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Buns, BBQ Sauce, Ketchup, Charcoal, Salad dressing, Potato Chips, Dips, Mustard & Mayo, Relish, Popsicles, Frozen Treats, Soda Pop
Allergy & Sinus Medication, Sunscreen, Insect repellant, Swim wear, Shorts, Sun Hats, Dandals, Beach/Pool Toys, Bird Feeders, Outdoor furniture, Coolers, Barbecues and Grilling Utensils, Charcoal, Paper Products, Kid Pools, Sandboxes
Plants, Flowers, Seeds, Watering Cans, Plant Food, Compost Buckets, Water Hoses, Soil, Weed Killers, Mulch, Lawn Mowers
Umbrellas, Jackets, Sweaters, Rain Gear & Boots, Floral Wreaths from Memorial Day
I recently went to a couponing class and got a schedule of what’s on sale by month so I thought I’d post the listing here in case anyone is interested in saving money. Because – let’s face it; when you have kids it’s always better to buy things BEFORE you need them and who doesn’t like saving money?
Cinco De Mayo Items
Salsa, Shredded Cheese, Tortillas, Tortilla Chips, Canned & Refried Beans, Shredded Lettuce, Pinatas & Fillers, Frozen Mexican Entrees & Snacks (Taquitos, Mini Tacos, Chimichangas)
Mother’s Day Items
Bouquets, Gift Sets, Perfume, Chocolate, Photo Frames & Crafts, Jewelry, Candles
Memorial Day Items
BBQ Sauce, Ketchup, Condiments, Charcoal, Salad Dressing, Potato Chips, Dips, Paper Plates, Plastic Utensils, Sandwich Fixings
Insect Repellant, Sunscreen, Outdoor Furniture, Shorts, Sun Hates, Beach Toys, Bird Feeders, Lawn Mowers, BBQ Grills & Grilling Utensils
Plants, Flowers, Seeds, Watering Cans, Plant Food, Soil, Weed Killers, Mulch, Compost Buckets, Water Hoses
Artichokes, Asparagus, Avocado, Beets, Blackberries, Carrots, Corn, Green Beans, Onions, Peas in the Pod, Potatoes, Raspberries, Strawberries