12 August 2010

How on Earth Will We Afford Kids?

The other day I had an epiphany. Well, actually I have had this epiphany before...but for some reason, it really sunk in. I was in one of those grounded, realist modes as opposed to my romanticized fluffy cloud of "Let's have Three Babies" Land. L and I were hashing out our budget. We were having our usual talk about bills and debt. I realized that if money is tight now, that begs the inevitable question...

How the hell are we ever going to be able to afford kids?

I'll be the first to say it: money is a hot topic in our household. We aren't destitute, but it has definitely been an uphill battle for years due to credit cards, student loans, etc.

Oh snap! Did I just say credit cards?

Yes. There was a point in time many years ago (way before we were married) when we went a little loose with our credit cards. We are paying for it big time now.

But credit card rant aside, we have been pinching pennies for awhile. We currently have a semi-comfortable lifestyle. Yet with the thought of how expensive it is just to pop out one kid these days and raise them in a big city like Los Angeles, it makes my head spin.

Where is this extra money going to come from? Either we pick up and move to the middle of nowhere and live off scraps or one of us gets a night job.

Ok, it's settled.

Starting next month, my husband will be moonlighting as an exotic dancer.

Anyone else wonder where the extra fundage for a family is going to come from? Please don't tell me you all have big savings accounts called "Future Kids" lying around. Or maybe we are the only ones without one?!? Hmmm....

20 comments:

  1. Carly! I'm totally there with you on this. I really do want kids, but I often wonder, how are we going to "afford" having them. Ideally we want two, but would be fine with one. I'm also really happy with it just being me, my hubby, and our pup, but I feel, no hear my biological clock ticking so darn loud lately.. ha ha. We are the only couple in our group of friends that don't have kids yet, but we're happy to always be surrounded by them. I guess we're kind of lucky, since we can baby/kid sit and then bring the kids back to their parents. :)

    Well, if you have any tips (other than moonlighting as an exotic dancer, LOL), I'd love to hear them.

    Hope you are well sweetie!

    xx Love & Aloha

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  2. Ha! Since I am old (insert smiley face), I have to think of these things from time to time. My sense is that most people make more sacrifices in certain areas. There's less going out to eat or to movies in part because you've got a child at home (unless ofcourse you have great access to free childcare to do so) and that overall you spend less on yourself and more on your children. Also you don't need to buy Jr. EVERYTHING that the baby industry (which is as my friends and family are slowly having children I'm seeing is just as big as the wedding industrial complex) says that you NEED. I think everything will work itself out.

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  3. I know that people say you find a way, and that you give up things you never knew you didn't need, etc etc etc, but I have no clue how we're going to do it either. My Hubs is finishing up school right now, and it's impossible to even think about kids until he's got a job.... in four years, minimum. I've going to be thirty-two before we can afford for me to be pregnant!

    Lord help us.....

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  4. I think we're about the worst example of this, because we still have debt (including CC) but we still PLANNED to have kids. However, what we've found is that we learn to accomodate. Like when I lost my full-time job, we both went into panic mode and were thinking, "How in the EARTH will we survive on just one income?" but we've managed pretty well....actually better than when I was working! And ever since I got pregnant we've been cutting back a lot too to. And believe me — we didn't live an extravagant lifestyle when we both worked, or before I got pregnant.

    I really do believe in the theory that most people will spend more if they earn more. It may be subconscious, but it seems to be true of the people I know. So don't worry about it too much...I'm not advocating that people who are unemployed or living in mountains of debt trying for kids, but I also believe that most people who have kids are NOT fully ready (emotionally or financially) either. They just make it work.

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  5. You are never ready to have kids. Money wise - i mean. But it all works out in the end. I promise. We got lots of gifts from family and friends and we simply budget 50$ more a week for diapers and other baby stuff.

    We have "alot" credit card debt. And will be paying it off for the next 5 years. But hey, that's what happens when you are a one family income for 3 years. Ideally I would of waited to have kids. But it just happened (and it was unexpected)

    We had just bought a house too. I don't know how much it costs to live in LA but things arent super cheap in Montreal either. (even though i live in the suburbs) we get 13% taxes on everything. Hang in there... there's always a way :)

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  6. Hi Carly. I worry about this too. But I've come to realize that first, poor people have babis all the time and manage to somehow make it. And second, where there's a will, there's a way. At this very second, yeah, I would say that there is no way we can afford to raise a child but I also think that if I were to become pregnant today, the hubs and I would figure it out. Speaking of savings accounts, just last week I opened up a new account and put in $100. I'm going to be doing that every two weeks...It might not be a lot, but it's something...I actually named the account "Future Planning". *shrug* We'll see.

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  7. Yeah, we have the future kid fund. Kick me. :S I'm just too obsessive to go into something like that without being overprepared. Debt or no debt, the savings account always has to get paid. Peggy's got the right idea. Even a little money once in a while (not that $100 every two weeks is a little - that's great!) will help in the future! Getting your debts paid off is important tho too, since any money you pay off is money you've freed up for the future/savings/living day-to-day.

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  8. I feel the same way! I would love to have kids and start a family soon, but financially it's not the best decision right now. We would get by with little problems, but we might not be as comfortable. My boss gave me some pretty awesome advice and said that it will just work out, which made me think. She's right. My parents raised a family immediately after moving to the States with very little money, and somehow they managed perfectly well with 3 girls at the time.

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  9. I completely agree with Geek in Heels and Yin...there is a way to make it work when you are forced to make it work. I agree that if you make more money you spend more money...things like buying lunch and coffee, going out to the movies, going out for a drink, fancy cell phones...it all adds up even if it seems like such a small purchase. Also, I agree that not everyone needs to plan to spend a bunch of money on a baby...you can get hand-me-downs, there is no need for a fancy nursery or designer baby clothes or fancy toys.

    I had to laugh reading koritsimou's comment though b/c I'm 31 and we're not trying for kids until a few monthes before my 32nd birthday. We have a plan and have been living off one income and saving the other so I can stay home for a few years. I know I'm much older than the averag first time mom, but I'm hoping the wait will be a great investment to our family's long term happiness.

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  10. Yeah that's one reason we aren't having kids. Aside from not having that burning desire, kids are expensive and we don't have a huge cushion to work with. But if you do want kids, things have a way of working out. I wouldn't sweat not having a huge Future Kids fund. Plus aren't there tax breaks to help families out?

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  11. Kids aren't expensive. Yup... I said it. :) We have more money now than we did before Baby M came around... and we pay $1200/month for daycare and put $400/month in her college fund.
    The main reason? We live at home instead of "out." We don't take random weekend trips, we don't go to the movies twice a weekend, we don't eat out at fancy restaurants once a week. We live in.
    I know it makes no sense, but it's true. And when those extra deductions come on our taxes at the end of the year, I'm going to be declaring it "financially awesome" to have a kid!

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  12. I think about this from time to time - the Mister wants to live in NYC after we have kids and it's just so friggin' expensive, I don't know how we're going to do it!

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  13. I'm with you too, that's definitely one of the roadblocks standing in our way right now (along with the fact that I'M just not ready yet!)

    But I love reading Kim Michelle's comment above, that's a great way to look at it!

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  14. I was just thinking about this same thing the other day. I wish we did, but there is no future baby stockpile of cash for us. Right now, we're struggling to pay the monthly costs of the tests and infertility treatments my insurance won't cover, so I can't help but think how we'll afford kids if we can't even afford to getting pregnant? But, the reality is that I believe it's something you'd adjust to and it will all work out. Whatever you had to do to make it work, you'd do it, you know? Having children may bring on some financial struggles, but I believe what you get in return is worth every sacrifice.

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  15. We've had this same talk, and combined with trying to save to buy a house in California, it's pretty depressing!

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  16. i've wondered about this, too, and am not quite sure what we could do. better paying jobs could help us, but living in expensive cities does not :(

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  17. Thank you all for your thoughts on this subject. Actually, I am feeling a bit better after reading through your comments. Planning for kids is a daunting task. I guess you never fully understand all the costs and benefits until you are actually in it, but the worrier in me can't help but worry. Hey, it's what I do. But it's good to hear that parents are making it work!

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  18. Totally in the same boat as you - and surprisingly everyone else. I guess we'll just make it work. I am also crossing my fingers for a huge fat raise in the mean time. HA.

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  19. You're preaching to the choir. Right there with you. In fact we aren't even able to pay the credit card debt we built up due to my husband losing his job twice in two years time. (Sucks when your field is so specialized that your usefulness can be "downsized" easily.) I've laid awake at night almost in tears realizing that there is no way I can bring a kid into this world in our financial situation. And yet, I don't want to wait any more. Everyone tells us, "It works out in the end somehow." I now a couple that popped out three kids in three years, were living on his one salary as a mortgage broker in the middle of the house bubble burst (so in other words, he wasn't making ANYTHING) and yet... somehow they'd managed to stay afloat. It works out in the end, I guess. I'm skeptical, but I have to have faith. Sometimes... its all you have.

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  20. It is so appropriate that I stumbled upon this very post on this very blog today. I know exactly what you mean. I have been tempted to look for a new job despite a recent promotion because we are STILL not earning enough to comfortably have a family. Heck, screw "comfortably." I don't know how we will be able to afford to start a family, period. There is little to no money left every month after bills, mortgage payments, student loan payments, etc. Breaks my heart to know I have to hold off on having children because of this dreadful economy. (And I even live in a city with a fairly low cost of living!) May we all hit the lottery soon. (P.S. Hi! Nice to "meet" you!)

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