It’s no secret that having kids costs a lot of money as parents adjust to their new lifestyle. But how much impact do kids make on your bank account? Parents flooded a popular online personal finance forum with their opinion on the financial burden and sacrifices of having kids.
1. Sleep is the Real Sacrifice
The top-rated comment on the forum came from a parent who said, “I miss my sleep more than I miss my money.” Another replied that they need eight or nine hours of sleep every night and have no idea how they would swing that with kids.
2. Expenses Shift As Kids Age
Some mentioned that costs shift as kids get older, and many agreed that the older the kids get, the more expensive they can be. When kids are young, you must pay for the most significant expenses: daycare, diapers, food, and clothes.
But as kids get older, they eat more food, become interested in extracurricular activities, want more lavish gifts, and their clothes become even more expensive.
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3. It Depends on Your Goals
“Having kids can be as expensive or cheap as you want,” one parent said. For example, sending your kids to private school, hiring a tutor, and getting them into the best sports programs costs much more than sending them to public school and signing them up for community sports teams.
4. Make Adjustments to Your Finances First
Some users suggested that new parents begin adjusting their finances as soon as they know they have kids. If you can cut down on buying fancy clothes and getting coffee at Starbucks every day, you’ll have more money left over for your kids, and it won’t be as overwhelming.
5. You Need to Pay For More Space
An expense many parents might not consider is that you need more space with each kid. And that doesn’t just apply to your home. You will also need a bigger car and more plane tickets for every vacation.
“I probably spent over $100,000 just to upgrade house and car with money that would be in my savings if we stayed childless,” one parent confessed.
6. Don’t Forget the Little Things
The little expenses add up over time too. Now instead of buying yourself a quick meal at McDonald’s, your kids need a couple of happy meals. Not to mention “Halloween costumes, cupcakes for the classroom, birthday parties, picture day at school, etc.”
7. Kids Can Inspire You to Save
A mom shared that they could not save money before having kids, but having children inspired them to save. “When I held my firstborn, it’s like I could see in the future for the first time.”
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8. What if Your Kids Need Therapy?
When people have kids, they often don’t think about potential medical and healthcare expenses like therapy, which are rarely covered by insurance and can be costly. One shared, “It costs $150-200 per session in my area.”
9. Being a Parent is Worth the Cost
“I don’t think of my kids as a burden, more of an investment,” admitted one. Many parents on the forum agreed that having kids may require spending a lot of money on things you wouldn’t if you never had kids, but the rewards of having kids are much greater than the costs could ever be.
10. You Can Find A Cheaper Alternative
Finally, some parents argue that having kids doesn’t have to be as expensive as you’d think, especially if you consciously try to save where you can.
This can look like buying used clothes, re-selling items you’re done with, getting library books rather than purchasing brand new ones, and more.
This thread inspired this post.
This article first appeared on The Cents of Money.
With a passion for investing and personal finance, I began The Cents of Money to help and teach others. My experience as an equity analyst, professor, and mom provide me with unique insights about money and wealth creation and a desire to share with you.