I often hear the phrase said, “Babies are so expensive” and I have to wonder… are they? Well, yes and no. This post is going to explore 3 reasons kids are expensive and 3 reasons they aren’t.
A black cotton dress, tights, and black sequined flats.
That’s what I was wearing the day I had the thought…”Am I pregnant?”
Previously, you see, it hadn’t occurred to us we could get pregnant without actually “trying.” We’d only been married 9 months and were planning on moving continents.
We had no money.
No paying jobs (we were volunteers).
And no clue how to raise a baby.
So, naturally, we were pregnant. We cried for 3 straight days. We wondered how we’d afford to live in Australia if my husband was in school and I was pregnant, then with a baby.
I was going to work full time!
We had a plan!
Well… that plan got on a ship that sailed then sunk. And so we just got on with it. I had my daughter in a delivery room in Northern Scotland with a big rainbow outside. Then, the minute I held her, I knew being a mother would be my favorite role in life.
After now having had 5 kids in the last 5 and a half years, I have figured out a thing or two about birthing babies. And about how the best laid plans don’t always pan out.
But the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that while you can’t control every single factor about life, you can learn and grow in knowledge and understanding and that, my fellow mamas, is what keeps you prepared.
“But babies are so expensive…”
This is what I was told time and time again. The truth is, babies can be very inexpensive. Teenagers? We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, but babies? Yeah… they don’t need much.
3 Reasons Kids Aren’t Expensive
We all come from different situations with different knowledge and habits about money, but I think there are some elements we can all agree on.
They Do (And Like) Free Things
You buy a baby an expensive toy and they want to play with the box. You fill a room with child friendly items and they want to chew on your keys. You kit out the backyard with a swing set you had to finance and they’d rather eat dirt.
It’s not that you’ve done anything wrong, but that kids like free things. They don’t understand the value of money and, often times, they are content with the most “boring” items. At least according to adults.
On top of that, until the age of 3 they fly free, eat free, and get into most events free. This is literally the cheapest it’ll ever be.
They Don’t Care About Clothes
Well, you may be thinking, mine do! And yes, my daughter likes pretty shiny things as well. She does not, however, understand about brands or which clothes are expensive or which are from the thrift store.
They don’t care about hand me downs and they can’t tell if their white shirt has been washed one too many times with darks. They can’t read so they don’t care what the shirt says and, ultimately, they’ll run around naked if you let them.
Whereas adults may spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on their children’s clothes, it isn’t because they have to. It’s because they want to.
You Can Be Frugal Without Kids Without Sacrificing Quality of Life
When your children are little, it’s so easy to have a great time with them. They truly don’t need expensive things, pricey lessons, or pro gear. How do I know:
Because I have 5 kids and these are a few of their favorite things:
- the water hose
- .99 toy cars
- dancing together
Sure they get older and you may want to sign them up for more pricey activities, but for a good long while, they don’t require much of anything.
3 Reasons Kids Are Expensive
All that said, there are some things that add to the budget when we have kids. Even if we are frugal, knowledgeable, and money savvy. They are little people, after all. They don’t work, but they still eat.
You’ve Got To Be Prepared
As soon as we had kids I realized we needed a will. So we needed a lawyer. That, of course, meant we needed life insurance to provide for our kids in the event something went wrong.
Of course we care about their health as well so we also need health insurance now. We need an emergency fund
in case for when emergencies happen. We need to dot all our i’s and cross all our t’s because now we are responsible for others.
Depending your family’s situation, assets, and health needs, this can really add up quickly.
You’ve Got To Be a Grown Up
When I was young I traveled Europe, lived in a closet (more or less) in Rome, and did what I want. I spent my money on fun things and did not have to think of anyone but myself.
Then, when I became a mother, that all changed. I could no longer flit off on a weekend trip with no second thought. I also couldn’t live in a dive or a closet.
As parents our priorities change and this directly crosses over into our budget. We need a safe home, a dependable car, good insurance, and we actually need to provide better food than junk. In short, we’ve gotta grow up.
For some of us, this is the hardest part about motherhood!
You Want More Out of Life Because Of Them
When I became a mother it was clear to me… I wanted SO MUCH for my kids. I wanted them to have a hygge home, to get to travel, to have opportunities we all want for our kids.
We realize we want them in good schools, to have a chance at a better education, and we want them to make use of their talents and gifts. It looks different for every family, but these things aren’t always free.
And that’s okay. The goal isn’t to spend no money on our kids, the goal is to choose well what we spend our money on.
Do You Want to Be More Financially Confident?
Today I was at the dentist for a cleaning and realized I needed to spend quite a bit more money than I’d planned. Instead of declining the procedure or freaking out about how I’d pay for it, I was able to be calm.
I’m confident about our situation now because I know what I need to do and know what I don’t.
With that has come a new confidence in our choices, our situation, and our future. Instead of worrying about what the future holds, we know we’re making good choices now to reap the benefits later.
It hasn’t always been this way. But it is now.
As it’s Financial Literacy month in April, SunTrust Bank has launched a movement called onUp with the aim of helping Americans take a step toward financial confidence.
It can seem daunting to get your finances in order, but it doesn’t have to be. And – because you know I love all things personality – onUp has a money personality quiz as well!
Money has a way of taking over our thoughts, whether because of lack or because of greed, so the key to having financial confidence is understanding how money works for you and actually learning more about what you need to do to provide for your family.
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.
The onUp Movement is 1 million strong…and growing. onUp is about having the confidence to move forward one smart step at a time.
Join now and start building your financial confidence today.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.
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