Are Children Really That Expensive?

Virtually every financial article regarding children makes you think that you will go broke if you have children. Between childcare, housing, food, diapers, vacations, clothing, activities, and especially college, they make it seem that you can’t afford to even think about children. The truth is that raising children is as expensive as you make it. Let me dispel some myths . . .

Housing: If you have a three bedroom house and have three children then one of them will have to share a bedroom. The good news is that the two that share a bedroom will not be scarred for life, but they may actually enjoy the company of each other and learn to work together.

College: I am a very, very strong believer in education, especially higher education. However, as I have written before, college is only one route to [financial] success and is not for everyone. There are alternatives, such as attending a trade school, jobs that don’t require college, entrepreneurship, or you may actually want to be a stay at home parent. Just look around you and see for yourself that some of your friends, colleagues and family members have taken a different route and are doing well for themselves.

Vacations: Vacations don’t have to be expensive and Disney is not the only option. Strangely, if you have ever travelled by car for vacation and stopped at a hotel on the way it seems as though the children enjoy the hotel visit more then the vacation! A more expensive vacation does not equal more fun and relaxation.

Food: I’ve written how to reduce your food costs before so I won’t elaborate here. Food can be as expensive as you want it to be.

Everything Else: Expensive private schools or preschools, an abundance of activities, and unnecessary purchases will make raising children very expensive. Also, when both spouses work while the children are very young it usually skyrockets your expenses (see my November 2015 blog article titled, “Should Both Parents Work?”).

Don’t misunderstand me – it is good to have nice things, but not when the “need” for those nice things steers you in the wrong direction. Children are a blessing. All seven of mine.