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To think children aren't actually that expensive?

(120 Posts)
NorthernAnnie Mon 25-Mar-13 15:05:54

We have 3 DC, 2 share a room and the other has his own room. We get a lot of clothes & toys from charity shops, or H&M and sell them on ebay when finished with them. They have swimming lessons and do clubs at school. We don't eat out often or buy expensive gadgets/designer clothes, our main spend is food but we still manage to do this relatively cheaply.
I'm a SAHM so this saves on childcare which would be incredibly expensive otherwise, but childcare excluded, AIBU to think DC aren't actually that expensive?

Corygal Mon 25-Mar-13 21:23:30

Yessss... but SAHM who are losing salaries to look after their DCs should bear in mind that if they were doing paid work, they'd probably be at least supporting themselves. So take off the cost of one-bedroom flat, all the bills, food, etc etc off that and suddenly every DC doesn't look so expensive.

Comparing SAHM cash with DINKY cash is a bit unrealistic. Only a few people stay childless, and being single is way more expensive than paying for a child.

Mandy21 Mon 25-Mar-13 21:27:04

We have 3DC. I agree children aren't THAT expensive in themselves (they don't have lots of gadgets, toys etc), but its the loss of income & childcare that are expensive. I've lost 2 days income (as I work 3 days) and pay nursery / after school for those days - just on that, I'm £1100 net out of pocket income wise and we pay £1k out in childcare, so we're at least £2.1k per month before you factor in the clubs / swimming lessons / school trips etc for 3, plus 3 mouths to feed. And the extension we need for an extra bedroom!

I also completely disagree that boys are cheaper - just been out to get 4th pair of school shoes for DS (age 7) since Sept (scuffed to death from football in playground), he goes through football boots / studs / trainers within months, loses an item of school uniform most weeks, breaks his glasses every other week. He is a walking disaster - bloody good job I love him wink.

MajaBiene Mon 25-Mar-13 21:33:23

Are you conflating being childfree with being single corygal?

Babyroobs Mon 25-Mar-13 21:35:04

I'm assuming your kids are still young ? Wait til they get older from say 10 onwards. This year we have paid out over £300 on school trips/ cubs / Brownies trips, last week alone £70 on school day trips, £20 per week on subs & swimming lessons, £100 a season on football subs etc , the list goes on. We do have 4 dc's and no childcare costs but they get more and more expensive as they get older. We are dreading the Uni years , I think I will be working full time just to help them through Uni.

superstarheartbreaker Mon 25-Mar-13 22:06:26

YABU and I guess this is a stealth boast about how much your dh earns?

superstarheartbreaker Mon 25-Mar-13 22:09:00

My dd is only 4 I'm right in thinking this gets MORE expensive?! Faints.
I have just had a letter from dds ballet school...They want £36 for one exam and then they want her to have 4 practice lessons at a price of £4 each which means the whole lot will come to £52 for one poxy exam (which I feel that she has to do because all the other girls are doing it and I do't want her to feel left out.)

Disappearing Mon 25-Mar-13 23:08:10

For me, the downgrading of my career, and childcare costs are the main expenses, closely followed by buying a bigger house in a better area. The actual cash costs on things like clothes, food etc. are almost vanishingly small when compared to that.

So for me it has cost me - 8 years and counting of earning less than half of what I used to, plus £1200 per month on child care, plus an extra £260k on a house, etc. etc.

OttilieKnackered Tue 26-Mar-13 00:26:11

So much of this stuff is optional, though. Teens 'refusing' to wear cheap clothes? In my house it was 'tough shit, when you get a job you can choose how much to spend.' Ditto gadgets and hundreds of activities.

And university is designed for students to be able to support themselves (through loans primarily, plus part time work if wanted/necessary).

Of course these are nice-to-haves, and there's nothing wrong in having them, but they're not a necessary cost of having children, they're an optional one.

Bogeyface Tue 26-Mar-13 01:38:15

Speaking as a mother of 6 from the ages of 22 years to 21 months YANBU

Children, like everything, are as expensive as you choose to make them. Just as your own life is as expensive as you choose to make it. We dont spend a weeks shopping budget on extra activities, we dont put great store in gadgets or designer labels and we dont live in a big house. I dont have a huge shoe collection or get my hair done regularly either (that is, more than once every 5 years!) because I cant afford it.

We live to our means and we appreciate what we have. The most excited faces I see are not on birthdays or Xmas, but on the day that one of my children returns from a school residential trip and the others meet that child at the door! They love and miss each other so much, money cant buy that.

cantspel Tue 26-Mar-13 02:18:09

All depends what you term a gadget. Is a computer a gadget for fun or a tool for learning bearing in mind a most secondary schools do the majority of their homework on line.
You dont need to be buying big brand names for clothes to be expensive, school uniform, shoes and winter coats dont come cheap for teens.
Shiney excited faces of little ones playing with an old box maybe be cheap and cute but hardly going to something a teen wants to do in the 6 week summer holidays. Nor is playing down the park an option for a 15 year old.
Teens eat like every meal is their last and decent food is expensive.
Haircuts, spot cream and deodarant add up and is more than i need to pay for my own grooming.
Then they go to college and bus fare needs paying. Plus stationary, food each day and if they are doing work placements something suitable to wear and yet more bus fares to get them there.

You can just say they should get a job or a paper round and earn their own spends as there just isn't the jobs out there for 15/16 year olds. Even paper rounds are hard to come by as people just dont have their papers delivered anymore.

Having children is expensive.

Mutley77 Tue 26-Mar-13 02:20:01

Yes kids don't actually cost that much. However I am quite keen to provide my children with a lot of different experiences - some of which do cost money, including nice holidays, a variety of extra-curriculur activities, days and meals out. I also like to give them nice birthday/Christmas presents and a good party. Therefore my kids do seem to cost me a lot but I really appreciate and enjoy what they get out of me spending the money!

I am also very keen to ensure we are in a stable financial position so that I can pay a good proportion of their university costs shoudl they wish to go in future. And I know that all the activities etc get more expensive, there are more things for them to do and they will cost more as they get older.

The argument about childcare is slightly flawed as if you were paying childcare you would also presumably be earning an income- therefore chances are you would be equally as well off if not better off.

Alligatorpie Tue 26-Mar-13 05:48:46

Mutley when i worked and paid for childcare i could pay rent and chilcare. If i wasn't working, i would not have been able to pay rent. I guess that means i was better off working.

In my experience, young children arent expensive, the baby costs almost nothing right now. but I already see my 7 yo wanting an ipad, her last school trip was almost £300 and flights really add up ( we live overseas so travel a lot) yes, these are luxuries, and I still spend almost nothing on food for her as she doesnt eat much.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Tue 26-Mar-13 06:27:00

Did the OP ever come back or is she researching how to sell a kidney on the black market? wink

higgle Tue 26-Mar-13 08:00:19

A bigger house in a better area is an investment - you will get that money back in the future if you downsize again, so can't really go on teh same list as teh other expenses like childcare which for which you never see the cash again.

As I don't have daughters I can't add much to what I said about boys being cheaper but the younger was always pleased to have his brother's hand me downs, my mother used to buy loads of striped T shirts and jeans from Woolworths ( have Ladybird disapeared too?) and apart from the school shoes and the second hand uniform that was about it. Football club was, I expect, a miniscule expense compared with ballet.

higgle Tue 26-Mar-13 08:03:49

... And another think... of course it all changes once they reach mid teens, if you have two it is like living with another couple, and keeping them. You stop thinking of a drink in a cafe as being £2.50 and start thinking of it being £10.
This september we will be empty nesters! At least the cost of uni is quantifiable, and not the never ending drip drip drip of money for this, that and the other week in week out.

MrsKeithRichards Tue 26-Mar-13 08:09:20

How much do you think I could recoup selling the little darlings on eBay?

webwiz Tue 26-Mar-13 08:30:31

Ottlieknackered university is designed for students to support themselves "if" you have a low family income if you don't parents are expected to make up the shortfall.

I have two DD's at university - DD1 has worked in the holidays and DD2 has a part time job in term times neither earn enough to cover living expenses. The amount of student loan they are allowed to borrow doesn't even cover their rent so I would actually like them to be able to eat and pay their heating bills so we help out. DD1 graduates this summer thank goodness so we don't have to double up anymore.

MajaBiene Tue 26-Mar-13 08:38:08

Mutley - the argument about childcare is it is expensive? If I worked and didn't pay childcare I would be £10k a year better off.

A bigger house is only an investment if you are buying it unfortunately!

Binkybix Tue 26-Mar-13 10:37:41

But I've saved loads so far not drinking whilst pregnant. Surely that will balance it all out? wink

Mutley77 Tue 26-Mar-13 12:41:46

Alligatorpie - sorry I haven't explained myself well!! I mean the costs of childcare are high , however the OP saying that children are cheap because she doesn't pay childcare doesn't make sense to me. If she were earning an income, and therefore needing childcare, she is likely to be better off overall. So what I should have probably said is that her point that children aren't expensive is incorrect if she is working on the basis that she loses a salary - on the UK average wage (not sure if I am out of date) her children are costing her £21,000 per year or similar before any other costs!

MajaBiene - I agree childcare is expensive but if you didn't pay any childcare at all and didn't have a salary you would be worse off, so therefore having children would be more expensive than if you paid for the childcare (esp in the longer term as childcare costs decrease). I am meaning the cost of caring for children is high whether or not you count it as childcare or losing a salary.

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