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The Money Pit

August 18, 2015 - Stacey Sacco
People say babies are expensive. They do cost more than not having kids, but the real expense is when they get older.

There are entire stores devoted to baby products, most of which parents don’t need, or even want. Most objects are bigger than baby and completely unnecessary. Breast milk is free. Cloth diapers are a great investment. It’s perfectly acceptable to buy second-hand clothes since they outgrow them in about three seconds. A crib, a car seat, and other than that, the equipment is mostly optional.

Maybe the cost of baby items is intended to prepare parents for the enormous cost of children as they grow. Don’t worry about shelling out $200 for a stroller. Just wait until there is a monthly bill for music lessons and dance classes.

It seems babies are the least expensive. Once they become preschool age, we can pay for, well, preschool. By age four, they can play soccer, t-ball, basketball, or hockey. They constantly rip the knees and seats out of their jeans and drag their shoes across the floor until they are filled with holes. All before they outgrow these clothes. Then they need money for school lunch or book fairs. Private school for nine months of the year or fun day camps during the three summer months.

Older kids also learn to WANT things. They see toys on TV, in magazines, at friend’s houses and during Target runs that they want and ask for. Even for Christmas and birthdays, older kid’s presents are more expensive.

With four kids, we are basically a sieve for money. However, it’s the older kids that suck us dry. A bathing suit is the grand total of what my 15 month old needed for summer. The others need shoes and clothes and sandals as well as day camp and piano lessons and soccer teams (don’t forget the shin guards and shoes for sports as well) and gas to get to friend’s houses.

And don’t forget the food. How much can a five year old eat? A lot. Way more than some adults. My monthly food bill is higher than our mortgage.

Yes, kids are expensive, but not babies. The occasional monetary needs of a baby are easy compared to the barrage of costly activities of an older kid. I can’t image what it will be like when they are all teenagers!


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