Friday, December 30, 2011

Are children expensive?

You know when ever we visit our family we hear a lot of "2 is all we could afford" which got me to thinking. If more than 2 children are to much of a financial burden for many why is it that we don't find them to be all that expensive?

Lets see how it breaks down...

Food: Well yes the more children you have the more they eat. But since I cover that in several posts on here we won't go thought all the details, but it IS possible to feed a large family economically if you are willing to give it the extra effort.

Clothing: You know just because I have 5 children doesn't mean I have to buy 5 sets of clothing all the time. Actually I only have to buy clothes for 2 of my children, my oldest daughter and my oldest son. The rest of the kiddlets wear hand me downs.

Shelter: Yes many people think they need to have a huge house when they have many children but we are not in that camp. We have a modest 4 bedroom house and we are doing just fine. Bunk beds are a mama's best friend!

Toys and Entertainment: You know this is where I think the majority of people get into trouble. If I constantly bought toys and other random junk for my children we would go broke quickly! My children only get gifts on their birthday's and Christmas. I don't think they are neglected in the least, actually I think it teachs some pretty valuable lessons about what is and what is not a necessity. We also treat our children to cheap/free extracirricular activities as well which I think makes them more appreciated. We feel that children who are in several activities at once (football, dance, etc.) are over extended and fail to see the joy in the activity anymore.

I am sitting here trying to think of what else about having children causes a financial burden on a family and honestly I can't think of any more! I do however see how people can find children to be a HUGE responsiblity and how that responsiblity can be very overwhelming for many. Raising a larger than average family isn't for everyone but it is a HUGE blessing and I would't give back any of my little kiddlets :D

4 comments on "Are children expensive?"

kate in seattle said...

they do get more expensive in the teen-age years. they are often not as satisfied with hand-me-downs. my eldest dd was great at thrift store shopping - always finding nearly new name brand items. ds didn't want to put in the effort. their activities also become more expensive. (though we still did limit what they could do) and as they get older they are more aware of what others might be getting. one rule - which we set firmly in place - if you want to drive, get a job, buy a car and pay for your own insurance. all of our kids knew that they would not be 'getting' a car when they were 16. So, with teens, it is a bit harder, but not impossible, to be frugal.
but I agree, under the age of 14, they are not really very expensive!

Sweet Tater on January 12, 2012 at 5:26 PM said...

I agree with you, but I also have to agree with kate, to a point, too. Once they are old enough to know they are always getting hand-me-downs, it could (but not necessarily) become a minor issue. Not a reason to not have kids, certainly! But we try (TRY) to be as fair as possible. I buy used clothes for all of them, sometimes, and I'm a super shopper on kids' clothes outlet sales! :) We can't really do hand-me-downs much, as the boys are the same age, and they only have an older sister, so that makes it harder.

The one thing I think that concerns me most about the money is when they go to college. Yeah, I don't really expect to be able to pay for the whole thing, but I certainly hope to be in a position to help all my children as much as I can. When we got married, we had all my husband's student loans to pay off, and that was horrible to have that debt hanging over your head when you first start off. Yeah, sometimes it's unavoidable. But I hope to offset the cost as much as possible.

And then weddings. You have a lot of girls. LOL :) But an expensive wedding is hardly a need. Ours was very beautiful but small by most people's standards, and I liked it that way.

That said, I do agree with you. Most people just dont want to do without the here and now the nice new car, the brand name clothes, the expensive vacations, going out to eat all the time... when they say they can't afford more. Most people are all about what they want, and honestly, they want stuff more than they want more kids. But, if they feel that way, they certainly SHOULDN'T have more kids. Sad, but true.

~Ashley~ on January 27, 2012 at 11:44 AM said...

Okay, I know this is an old post, but I feel like being a bit ornery today. *grin*

kate in seattle said - "my eldest dd was great at thrift store shopping - always finding nearly new name brand items. ds didn't want to put in the effort."

I hope that means ds didn't end up with nice clothes. Seriously, if he did you rewarded his lack of effort, unless you compensated your dd's effort.
Sweet Tater ... in my experience, it's a poor investment, college. Now, my dh has a BS in engineering. He got it living at home, working part time, and graduated with zero debt in 4.5yrs. That is the kind of help we'll give.

Seriously, it baffles me how long parents are supposed to pay for college. A BS degree? A Masters? A PHd? LOL How much should a parent contribute? Enough to keep a child out of debt? That can vary widely given the child. The less responsible the child is, the harder on the parent, and the more it takes from the responsible children. (I've rather lived this scenario.)

Personally, if a person marries with debt, be it car, college or some other investment, it means they have debt. Not that their parents should have prevented it. At least that is my take on it. With the approach of adulthood comes responsibility, a severance of the financial responsibility of the parents.

I think it is a very poor idea to instill the idea that the parents will take care of everything until college is over, which could be 22yrs or even older. Parents are seen as a "bank" and I personally think it does not encourage independence, creativity, or learning to be frugal. Which is why the first couple married years can be so hard, as both are thrust quickly and suddenly into adulthood and responsibility.

Just my two cents.


Sweet Tater on January 29, 2012 at 6:59 PM said...

For the record, and just to clarify...
I NEVER said I would pay for everything. I also never discussed the criteria for what I would and would not pay for. First off, once a kid is married, they are on their own financially, done with college or not. And if the child is at college and not putting forth their whole 100%, then the money stops, no questions asked. I would never pay to let a kid "party." I also expect the kids to help as much as possible. That said, there's no way of knowing how much we would even be able to contribute or what each child will seek as their future...job, college, community college, etc.

My parents would have paid every dime of my college, could they have afforded it...which they couldn't. I got a scholarship to cover mine. My parents did buy my books for me, and my mother let me raid her coin jar for the vending machine for lunch on busy school days when I didn't have time to stop for lunch. :)

I also kept a job throughout college, while going to school, taking a full 21 hours, while also working in the drama dept. at college. I was tired a lot, but I was certainly not a lazy bum mooching off my parents. I graduated in 3 years, and one summer course. I was there to get my degree and get out.

I was also expected to pay my own gas, my own car insurance, etc. (I saved to buy my first car, but drove my older brother's until I could...we split the cost of insurance and tires.)

When I did move out into a dorm with a friend of mine, I paid my own food, my own rent, everything else.

Was I spoiled? Yes, but not financially. I knew I had my parents to depend on if I needed them, but they expected a lot out of me, and I think I became a responsible teen/student/adult because of this.

I expect no less from my own children, though, yes, if I had that kind of money (which I don't), I would gladly save them from the debt my husband was forced into, even with him working through school as well. Would I give them a free ride? Of course not. They would, as I said, be expected to give their whole effort and make use of what is given them. There's nothing wrong with giving your child something within your means if you have already raised them to be respectful, responsible, to work hard, and not to take things for granted. That's in the raising...not in the paying for college (If you wait until college to teach this, you've waited too late anyway.) If my mother suddenly decided to write me a check for a few thousand dollars, it wouldn't change ME in any way except my bank account would be a bit larger. LOL

Oh, and off the subject, but related, nontheless...regardless of how much money I have, I will not go out and buy my kid a car. While I will ensure they have a way to work/school/etc if they need it, they will have to work for that one, and therefore, appreciate it and take care of it a lot better.

No, I'm not offended by what you said. I rather think you don't know me and totally misunderstood what I said and my beliefs on the subject.

Oh, and just as a side note, no there's nothing wrong with having your kids have to have loans if they need to. If I hadn't got a scholarship, that's what I would have had to do. That, or go to school VERY slowly as I could pay for it. Do I think having a loan and being forced to pay for it yourself builds character or whatever? No. As I said before, that kind of thing has to be taught WELL before they reach that age.


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