Author Topic: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?  (Read 2566 times)

onemorebike

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Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« on: January 25, 2017, 03:21:08 PM »
I have two girls (7 and 4), my wife and I got on the mustachian train a few years back and really locked our spending down but our income wasn't great.  As we've advanced in our careers, had kids and made more money, our spending has gone up too.

A couple of years ago we moved across the country to be closer to my family in a much colder climate and I let go of some of our mustachian ideals to ensure that my family adapted well to the new environment. When I look at our spending we seem to splurge on restaurants, alcohol and kid related events and experiences (everything from annual ice skates, to heavy duty winter gear, and other things designed to make winter fun and not a pain).  I suspect this is our response to trying to "make it" through the stress of the early years of parenting and a cross country move.

Does anyone else find that they have lifestyle creep they would attribute to having kids? I've heard folks talk about how life was cheaper with kids, because they didn't go out as much, but we aren't experiencing that.

Curious if there are remedies to what ail me? Facepunching anyone?

jooniperberries

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2017, 03:27:28 PM »
For me, I think it does the opposite...    I am so gung ho re: my kid's future options that I put a lot there. Before him, I wasn't motivated to save, be able to own land, etc. Having him is what shifted my focus to personal savings (vs giving everything away as I did until then), and caused me to open investment accounts.

With kids, we're considering present day needs and future needs, and giving each a certain weight. I feel like for me/us, the right balance is: enough for today, enough for the rest of his life. So, once I hit "enough" for any given today (and in my view that's quite little and is things like nutrition, private medical care, etc) I'm good, not tempted to spend willynilly on extras.

Christof

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2017, 03:49:20 PM »
After our son was born we decreased our spending significantly and increased our saving rate even more. I don't think that kids per se are more expensive.

However, I can see how having to do something unpleasant increases spending due to compensation attempts. If we had to move to a different country with one of us giving up their job, because it make economically sense, I could see how we would try to compensate.

jooniperberries

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2017, 04:04:05 PM »
I can see how having to do something unpleasant increases spending due to compensation attempts.

+1.

Sounds more like your (OP's) creep is due to other challenges. And, of course, if you feel compelled to compensate children, too, for a move to a colder place, etc, it will cost more, just as a "per person" thing rather than a "have kids" thing. My kid has a lot of..."life shortages." I feel we have to accept them, and learn to live well despite them, but not compensate for them.

I wonder if it would help your spending to question whether your kids feel a need for compensation over this move in the same way you feel that need? They might be perfectly happy being on the receiving end of snow, for example :)

I do think a lot of times, a parent's spending "on kids" is due to our own emotional/psychological stuff vs the kids' needs. That's certainly been true for me!

onemorebike

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2017, 04:09:40 PM »
I should clarify that spending on our kids is a smaller part of this budget. :) But when we do spend, it tends to be on things to get them active and outside or learning during the cold weather months. This doesn't take the form of tons of toys, but adequate clothing, or equipment to make the best of winter. 

Our other spending (the majority), is definitely compensation for us - cold and dark weather can take its toll (Minnesotans pretty regularly plan at least one warm weather get away a winter), restaurants, or just a little whisky to keep you warm.

As it warms up, we spend the majority of our time at parks, riding bikes, playing in the lakes, picnicking and camping - very low cost and fun activities.

sjc0816

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2017, 05:09:04 PM »
Yes and no. We put much more emphasis on simplicity and savings since having kids. BUT, I have two growing athletic boys and we spend a LOT of money on groceries. Along with that, we spend a good chunk of change on their sports and music. So, we stopped spending on ourselves and shifted it to our kids. Wouldn't change a thing.

SeattleCPA

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2017, 05:23:07 PM »
I can't remember with any precision whether my daughters pushed up our spending. I think they did. But who knows. It was two decades ago.

I can share something that my fifty-something friends remark on... once kids really truly leave the nest, you can see your spending really dial down.

Neustache

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2017, 05:31:55 PM »
We have been super lucky to get a bunch of hand me downs, but don't forget Ebay - most of what you need for winter can be bought used.  I find thrift stores hit and miss, but Ebay is almost always a good spot to check.

So...yes, we've increased our spending on clothes (winter is so much nicer with the right gear) but we don't spend extra on activities.  Who wants to bundle their kids up in all that gear when you could just stay home and be cozy? 

But we are also hermits.

Acorns

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2017, 05:46:58 PM »
So, we stopped spending on ourselves and shifted it to our kids. Wouldn't change a thing.

This. There has been no lifestyle creep for ME (I no doubt spent way more on myself before I had kids!), but kids have to eat, and I want my kids to be able to pursue their passions with in reason (ie one sport per kid), so we are definitely spending more now than before we had kids. This is why I am so so glad we focused on saving when we were in our twenties and didn't p!$$ away our money on alcohol and new cars every other year like some of our friends.

Plugging Along

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2017, 09:16:25 PM »
It's all relative.   Before kids, we were not mustachian at all.   We saved a little, had no debt, but spent ALOT.   Then we had our first child, and shifted our spending on her.   I would say much better use of funds than previous, but not mustachian.   Then we had our second, and my spouse was laid off while I was on mat leave.   THEN we became mustachian.    We cut back EVERYTHING while not working, and then paid off the mortgage once we returned to normal incomes. 

I learned at that point what was really important to us.  We went too mustachian and missed out opportunities that I should have just paid for.   We also, learned what things we really didn't need.   

Kids do costs money.   I don't think it's lifestyle creep, but rather you have different priorities.   I think it's inreasoanle to pay nothing for them, but it doesn't have to be expensive.   

frugalfinancehippy

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2017, 09:23:21 PM »
It sounds like there's a bit of guilt of some sort about the move that you're trying to make up for with purchases. I don't know if that's true. Maybe do some reading on minimalism to help you reign it in to what really matters?

I've definitely been guilty of eating out and thinking the kid needs new things. It just takes a shift in how you think- like remove the option of eating out except for more special occcasions.

I totally get spending money on gear for kids though. Everyone is happier when they're warm and dry. Perhaps next year it will still fit or you can resell this years gear to help fund next years.

Are you happy with the move or still struggling to settle in?


jooniperberries

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2017, 09:30:41 PM »
Everyone is happier when they're warm and dry.

+1 :)

Upon moving back to snow a few years ago, I've bought my kid skates each year (thrift shop, $10-$30), replacement snow pants as needed (thrift, $4), gloves each year (because: lost), and phenomenal boots (brand new, lifetime guarantee, good to minus 45, wet proof, etc, $140). Skates he grows out of every year, boots and snowpants I buy as "too big" as he can easily manage them, so they last several winters. He doesn't wear jackets, and has had the same hats for several years.

This year was my first ever owning fancy thermal underwear. AWESOME.

So, buying what we need for baseline health and happiness in the weather we have, but not ski passes, etc, so it feels balanced to me.

ltt

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2017, 09:32:17 PM »
I, most definitely, think it does.  Ours was because we thought we had to put our kids in extracurricular activities that everyone else was doing.  I look back now and think that most of it is just a complete waste of time and money.  Much better to have well-adjusted kids than to put them in all of that stuff. 

Poundwise

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2017, 08:23:06 AM »
Definitely. Of course it goes without saying that 3+ people will cost more than 2 people even at the same lifestyle level. But we probably wouldn't have moved out to a house in the burbs,  and there are a lot of daily lifestyle changes that we've made in the effort to give the kids a happy childhood. For instance, husband and I have no problem with eating leftovers or spaghetti day after day, but I feel that it's tough on kids.  Also, we would be okay with doing the same cheap activity (used to be biking) almost every weekend, but we end up changing things around a lot to amuse the kids and introduce them to the world, and often it costs money.

Also there are camps, sports, and music lessons.  In our pre-kid days, we occasionally enjoyed taking classes for fun, but nowadays extracurriculars are a constant line item on our budget.

jooniperberries

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2017, 09:18:47 AM »
Really enjoying this conversation...

I'm certain I didn't cost my family more when I hit teens. I worked a few hours per week from age 9, then babysat a lot from age 12, more jobs starting age 14, and it was up to me to buy any extras (anything that wasn't shelter or food) from those points onward. I received Christmas and birthday gifts that were not extravagant, but nice. I enjoyed redecorating my room, and did that with found stuff (thrift, nature, stuff swapped with siblings, etc).

For reasons unrelated to the above, I wouldn't replicate my developmental years, and planned my own parenting accordingly, i.e., limiting my number of kids to how many I was sufficiently resourced for.

People keep telling me my kid will cost more in food as he grows, but he's eaten insane amounts from the time he was born (some funny stories there), is shooting up through puberty now, and is eating no more or less than ever. He was interested in electric guitar, but after I priced out the lessons (he is not motivated to learn without a human in the room), he agreed to switch to guitar-uke, which he can learn from live humans for $1.50/hr. He moves his body hours every day for free (playing pick up sports with neighbour kids, swimming via my pass, etc). His medical/disability costs are high, but that's specific to being "human with disability" not "kid", and they've been largely constant his whole life.

I'll do a blog post about his costs...

GuitarStv

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2017, 09:24:29 AM »
The biggest cost from having our son was the effect of the loss of time.

Previously, I always had time to do stuff . . . sewing clothes back together, cooking/baking at home, yard work, shoveling the driveway, running errands on my bike.  I can still do many of these things, but they're harder to schedule and often I find that I've got to pick one thing and take the easier (more costly) way out for some of the others.

Jen

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2017, 09:58:45 AM »
Having kids has definitely contributed to lifestyle creep for us.  In our situation, I think there are several reasons.  First, we were good savers before kids, so we aren't trying to make up for old consumer debt or lack of retirement savings in our 20s, etc.  Second, we both continued working after the kids were born (instead of one of us staying home) for both financial and non-financial reasons, so our income continues to be quite high; however, two working parents and two kids means that time is a precious resource these days.  So we are willing to spend money to outsource household jobs.  Third, and probably the biggest reason, is that we are TIRED (two kids under the age of 3), which makes us not have the energy to devote to money saving strategies.  And I don't stress about it as our savings rate is still very high. 


little_brown_dog

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2017, 10:22:40 AM »
Baby is only a toddler but I can weigh in based on my limited experience so far...

Does it contribute to lifestyle creep - yes and no. In some areas we are far more economical/mustachian/simplified after having baby. I am a stay at home parent - no more commuting and all its associated wasted time/resources, far more homemade meals using unprocessed foods, etc. But we have experienced increased costs in other areas - namely toys/books for baby, and of course the must haves like diapers etc.

I think the biggest lifestyle creep that most parents engage in due to their children is trying to buy into a good school district. Child free people can live wherever they want without worrying about school systems, but parents have to live near a place that can provide a good education for their kiddos. Often times that means spending more to get into a more well off area where the schools are better resourced.

cats

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2017, 11:11:34 AM »
The biggest cost from having our son was the effect of the loss of time.

Previously, I always had time to do stuff . . . sewing clothes back together, cooking/baking at home, yard work, shoveling the driveway, running errands on my bike.  I can still do many of these things, but they're harder to schedule and often I find that I've got to pick one thing and take the easier (more costly) way out for some of the others.

We find ourselves valuing convenience/time much more than we used to as well.  We pay for a more expensive daycare in part because it is at my office and the time savings in not having to go to an extra location is so nice.  We recently also started using disposable diapers at daycare rather than cloth because the 15-20 minutes required each evening to rinse off poop, get fresh diapers prepped for the next day, etc. was a strain on our evenings (and I was tired of carting a sack of wet diapers home on public transit each day).  I will say that so far we have not started using the car for routine errands that we can do by bike or on foot, which is something I was concerned might happen.  We also have not really added much to our diet in the way of expensive convenience foods/meal delivery, which a lot of my friends have mentioned as something that changed a lot when they had kids.  And we have not hired a cleaner, another thing that seems to happen often.

That sort of stuff (the spending on convenience/outsourcing) rather than DIY, is what I would consider "lifestyle creep", in that it won't automatically go away once kiddo leaves home (e.g., if I get into the habit of driving to the grocery store now or ordering pizza every Friday, I'm going to have to make a conscious effort to stop at some point in the future, regardless of whether or not there is a kid around).  Some of the other stuff mentioned (lessons/activities/clothes) I would more consider the cost of having kids as they probably will disappear on their own once the kids leave home, though certainly their are more and less frugal ways of providing those things. 

With regards to weekend activities mentioned by the OP, we discovered our local library system offers free or discounted passes to a lot of local museums and other kid-friendly places.  They usually limit the number of passes you can get annually to any specific location, but it's still a pretty sweet program. Museum admissions around here can be kind of insane so the library program is a great way to do some different weekend activities for free/cheaply.

gipsygrrl

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2017, 04:14:44 PM »
The biggest cost from having our son was the effect of the loss of time.

I would agree with this - and expound to add that the time I've lost USED to be time that went into being more frugal. Like raising and preserving my own veggies, cooking everything from scratch, thrift shopping, selling on eBay etc. That all used to save us a lot of money and these days I barely have time to grow some container tomatoes! I think (hope) that changes a little bit as the kiddo gets older and needs less 1-on-1 care. But I do find that the lack of time has forced us into some costlier lifestyle choices as well.

onemorebike

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2017, 06:42:46 PM »
This is such an interesting thread!

I think guilt is the wrong word. The move has been amazing - truly life changing. We moved closer to family, to a smaller home (read: more affordable), in an amazing walkable/bikeable neighborhood full of great people with similar interests. Truly, it is hard to imagine doing much better. The girls have adjusted well; my wife, normally the introvert, has made a lot of great friends in the neighborhood and we both have landed in great jobs. Part of how we made that happen was getting out more, hosting more get togethers than we normally would, involving the kids in more activities, etc. I imagine this year we can dial it back some now that we feel established in our professional and personal lives here but I think the higher spending was helpful in a lot of ways.

It sounds like there's a bit of guilt of some sort about the move that you're trying to make up for with purchases. I don't know if that's true. Maybe do some reading on minimalism to help you reign it in to what really matters?

I've definitely been guilty of eating out and thinking the kid needs new things. It just takes a shift in how you think- like remove the option of eating out except for more special occcasions.

I totally get spending money on gear for kids though. Everyone is happier when they're warm and dry. Perhaps next year it will still fit or you can resell this years gear to help fund next years.

Are you happy with the move or still struggling to settle in?

onemorebike

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2017, 06:47:30 PM »
You've got an oil rig in your pants, right? :)

Agreed on the warm clothes. We love to be outside (our small home is wonderful, but it necessitates spending time in nature and where it doesn't echo as much) and the subzero temps need to be reckoned with! I have a daughter with sensory issues so unfortunately we need to be able to try on 1,000 pairs of whatever we are looking for (boots, pants, whatevers) so we can find something that narrowly fits her clothing criteria. As a result of this spending, we spend tons of time outside

Everyone is happier when they're warm and dry.

+1 :)

Upon moving back to snow a few years ago, I've bought my kid skates each year (thrift shop, $10-$30), replacement snow pants as needed (thrift, $4), gloves each year (because: lost), and phenomenal boots (brand new, lifetime guarantee, good to minus 45, wet proof, etc, $140). Skates he grows out of every year, boots and snowpants I buy as "too big" as he can easily manage them, so they last several winters. He doesn't wear jackets, and has had the same hats for several years.

This year was my first ever owning fancy thermal underwear. AWESOME.

So, buying what we need for baseline health and happiness in the weather we have, but not ski passes, etc, so it feels balanced to me.

onemorebike

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2017, 06:51:38 PM »
This! So tired, so not in debt (other than mortgage) and two working parents with a lot less time. We've managed to avoid outsourcing a lot of work but for some reason the allure of restaurants and bars for social hours has us spending more than we'd like.

Having kids has definitely contributed to lifestyle creep for us.  In our situation, I think there are several reasons.  First, we were good savers before kids, so we aren't trying to make up for old consumer debt or lack of retirement savings in our 20s, etc.  Second, we both continued working after the kids were born (instead of one of us staying home) for both financial and non-financial reasons, so our income continues to be quite high; however, two working parents and two kids means that time is a precious resource these days.  So we are willing to spend money to outsource household jobs.  Third, and probably the biggest reason, is that we are TIRED (two kids under the age of 3), which makes us not have the energy to devote to money saving strategies.  And I don't stress about it as our savings rate is still very high.

jooniperberries

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2017, 06:57:55 PM »
onemorebike, your move and new life sound AWESOME! Congrats!!

Definitely transitions can cost some money. I made a big move a couple of years ago, and we spent on various things to make that work. Not lots, but any major change can easily bring extra costs, until we know what's cheap or free in the area, have established easy friendships that can happen at one's home over a cup of tea, have resourced ourselves for a different climate, etc.

I think you're right on to acknowledge that those helped, and that now you're settled in enough to dial it back. Perfect.

hunniebun

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2017, 09:41:35 AM »
I have always lived in a cold climate, but can totally attest that living where it is frozen 5 months of the year definitely results in a higher cost of living than other more moderate temps, especially with kids.  This can be seen in everything from kids activities (hockey, skiing/snowboarding equipment/lift tickets etc) to having to pay for indoor play spaces museums etc. to keep them active during -40 temperatures.   We need super cold weather gear, rain gear, summer gear for the kids so that we can enjoy the outdoors during the various seasons. Which needs to be replaced every year because they are always growing!  And I can tell you that the temptation to order food or eat out is strong when the roads are bad or it is really cold and you the prospect of going to the grocery store and hauling your bags of beans and rice is just too much to face.  Add to that a little warm weather vacation and your savings for a stache look more like one whisker! LOL!  Not to mention the incredible cost of heating, poor fuel economy in your cars and it is wonder I save anything at all! :)   People who have never endured a true northern winter (We think even your Minnesotans are pretty soft!) who say 'just put on a sweater' have never got for a whole month with a wind chill advisory that says skin will freeze in less than 60 seconds.  It just costs more.  Honestly, after typing this, not sure why I live here!!!

jooniperberries

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2017, 09:53:20 AM »
I have always lived in a cold climate, but can totally attest that living where it is frozen 5 months of the year definitely results in a higher cost of living than other more moderate temps, especially with kids.  This can be seen in everything from kids activities (hockey, skiing/snowboarding equipment/lift tickets etc) to having to pay for indoor play spaces museums etc. to keep them active during -40 temperatures.   We need super cold weather gear, rain gear, summer gear for the kids so that we can enjoy the outdoors during the various seasons. Which needs to be replaced every year because they are always growing!  And I can tell you that the temptation to order food or eat out is strong when the roads are bad or it is really cold and you the prospect of going to the grocery store and hauling your bags of beans and rice is just too much to face.  Add to that a little warm weather vacation and your savings for a stache look more like one whisker! LOL!  Not to mention the incredible cost of heating, poor fuel economy in your cars and it is wonder I save anything at all! :)   People who have never endured a true northern winter (We think even your Minnesotans are pretty soft!) who say 'just put on a sweater' have never got for a whole month with a wind chill advisory that says skin will freeze in less than 60 seconds.  It just costs more.  Honestly, after typing this, not sure why I live here!!!

Here's what my kid costs for those:
Hockey $0
Skiing/snowboarding equipment/lift tickets etc $0
Indoor play spaces $0
Museums $0
Eating out in those "emergency" feeling moments: $3 chili at Wendy's or $4 sub at Subway
Boots $70/yr
Jacket $2/yr
Snowpants $2/yr
Skates $10-$30/yr
Gloves $10/yr (I pay for the first set each year, when kid loses them he pays for subsequent pairs)
Hats $0 (has been wearing same ones for several years)
Indoor heat $0
Warm weather vacation $0

My car fuel costs do go up to from about $45/mo to $70/mo.

Living in a big house, owning a heating contract, downhill skiing, etc, can cost. But, that's not because: kids.

hunniebun

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2017, 12:30:33 PM »
I have always lived in a cold climate, but can totally attest that living where it is frozen 5 months of the year definitely results in a higher cost of living than other more moderate temps, especially with kids.  This can be seen in everything from kids activities (hockey, skiing/snowboarding equipment/lift tickets etc) to having to pay for indoor play spaces museums etc. to keep them active during -40 temperatures.   We need super cold weather gear, rain gear, summer gear for the kids so that we can enjoy the outdoors during the various seasons. Which needs to be replaced every year because they are always growing!  And I can tell you that the temptation to order food or eat out is strong when the roads are bad or it is really cold and you the prospect of going to the grocery store and hauling your bags of beans and rice is just too much to face.  Add to that a little warm weather vacation and your savings for a stache look more like one whisker! LOL!  Not to mention the incredible cost of heating, poor fuel economy in your cars and it is wonder I save anything at all! :)   People who have never endured a true northern winter (We think even your Minnesotans are pretty soft!) who say 'just put on a sweater' have never got for a whole month with a wind chill advisory that says skin will freeze in less than 60 seconds.  It just costs more.  Honestly, after typing this, not sure why I live here!!!

Here's what my kid costs for those:
Hockey $0
Skiing/snowboarding equipment/lift tickets etc $0
Indoor play spaces $0
Museums $0
Eating out in those "emergency" feeling moments: $3 chili at Wendy's or $4 sub at Subway
Boots $70/yr
Jacket $2/yr
Snowpants $2/yr
Skates $10-$30/yr
Gloves $10/yr (I pay for the first set each year, when kid loses them he pays for subsequent pairs)
Hats $0 (has been wearing same ones for several years)
Indoor heat $0
Warm weather vacation $0

My car fuel costs do go up to from about $45/mo to $70/mo.

Living in a big house, owning a heating contract, downhill skiing, etc, can cost. But, that's not because: kids.

Joon  - I would love to hear more about your ideas and thoughts on keeping kids active in the winter (and maybe OP would too).   I am relatively new to the journey and often fall into the mind set that things are 'needs' for my family when really they are wants (so you're right it really isn't the kids, much of it is me).  What do you do keep your kids active in the winter?  Is hockey $0 because they don't play? or have you found a no cost alternative?  I'd love to remove this from my budget, but my son LIVES for hockey.  Where in the world do you buy snow pants and jackets for 2$?!?  Second hand snowsuits here start at 30$ (supply and demand I guess?)  How do you pay 0$ for heating your home?  Do you have a wood burning stove?  My house is less than 1200 sq feet and our gas bill is 290-400$ per month Nov to April (and sometimes may depending) and we never move the thermostat beyond 19 C. We also have a wood burning fireplace that we use to off take the chill out on really cold days.   Anyhow, I am not being sarcastic, I genuinely like to hear the details of how people optimize in extreme climates to maximize life enjoyment while keeping costs down!   

Mostly I was sympathizing with OP that it can be hard and temptations are everywhere...especially in the dead of winter!

jooniperberries

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2017, 06:32:42 PM »
What do you do keep your kids active in the winter?  Is hockey $0 because they don't play? or have you found a no cost alternative?  I'd love to remove this from my budget, but my son LIVES for hockey.  Where in the world do you buy snow pants and jackets for 2$?!?  Second hand snowsuits here start at 30$ (supply and demand I guess?)  How do you pay 0$ for heating your home?

If my kid lived for hockey, I would fund it :)    Actually, at my son's age (12) I would fund the second half of it, leaving him to come up with the first. But, if I were funding all or part of such an expensive hobby, that would be the limit of his paid rec.

We skate outdoors, so that's free. We go ice fishing (free, everything supplied by fishing agency). We walk in the snow. He has snowball fights with neighbour kids. They build snowmen, walls, etc. Via an occasional community event, we can ski/snowboard/etc for $10-$25, but I haven't bothered this year (long, early drive, parking costs, etc).

We use the library a lot, museum a tiny bit (small, free), swim indoors, and access our community center's free space. We bring board games to public places and invite people to play with us :)

Snowpants and jackets I've gotten for $4-$8 (thrifts). I buy them big so he can wear them for a few years, which reduces the annual average. (Funnily, he wears neither. His excellent boots, wool socks, and fleece outers do the trick. But, I still feel compelled to have them on hand for school ski events, etc.) The skates I haven't been able to buy big, so those I replace (used) every year, $10-$30 (thrift to consignment). Bogs is replacing his boots free, so we might be good for another year.

Second hand prices in my area really range. Craigslist and consignment tend to be very high. Salvation Army thrift the cheapest. Value Village in between those. So, my second-hand prices usually refer to SA or VV prices, in that order of shopping.

Heat is included in my rental (450 sq feet, baseboard, cozy). Did you see the video clip of the woman in Ontario (?) calling Trudeau on her home-heating bill? Her presentation was excellent. I watched it, cried for her, and said to my kid, "That's why I won't buy a house in Canada again." (Really, I might one day, but the costs can get so crazy, so I'd be extremely careful.)

I think anything can leave us susceptible to lifestyle creep: working full-time hours away from home; a long commute; kids; loneliness; a new relationship; becoming a caregiver; etc. If we run with the idea that x = $, we'll probably spend more than necessary. If we say, "Anything can lead to creep. My current x factor is triggering a desire to spend," then we can find new ways to approach the matter.

hunniebun

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2017, 07:04:32 PM »
What do you do keep your kids active in the winter?  Is hockey $0 because they don't play? or have you found a no cost alternative?  I'd love to remove this from my budget, but my son LIVES for hockey.  Where in the world do you buy snow pants and jackets for 2$?!?  Second hand snowsuits here start at 30$ (supply and demand I guess?)  How do you pay 0$ for heating your home?

If my kid lived for hockey, I would fund it :)    Actually, at my son's age (12) I would fund the second half of it, leaving him to come up with the first. But, if I were funding all or part of such an expensive hobby, that would be the limit of his paid rec.

We skate outdoors, so that's free. We go ice fishing (free, everything supplied by fishing agency). We walk in the snow. He has snowball fights with neighbour kids. They build snowmen, walls, etc. Via an occasional community event, we can ski/snowboard/etc for $10-$25, but I haven't bothered this year (long, early drive, parking costs, etc).

We use the library a lot, museum a tiny bit (small, free), swim indoors, and access our community center's free space. We bring board games to public places and invite people to play with us :)

Snowpants and jackets I've gotten for $4-$8 (thrifts). I buy them big so he can wear them for a few years, which reduces the annual average. (Funnily, he wears neither. His excellent boots, wool socks, and fleece outers do the trick. But, I still feel compelled to have them on hand for school ski events, etc.) The skates I haven't been able to buy big, so those I replace (used) every year, $10-$30 (thrift to consignment). Bogs is replacing his boots free, so we might be good for another year.

Second hand prices in my area really range. Craigslist and consignment tend to be very high. Salvation Army thrift the cheapest. Value Village in between those. So, my second-hand prices usually refer to SA or VV prices, in that order of shopping.

Heat is included in my rental (450 sq feet, baseboard, cozy). Did you see the video clip of the woman in Ontario (?) calling Trudeau on her home-heating bill? Her presentation was excellent. I watched it, cried for her, and said to my kid, "That's why I won't buy a house in Canada again." (Really, I might one day, but the costs can get so crazy, so I'd be extremely careful.)

I think anything can leave us susceptible to lifestyle creep: working full-time hours away from home; a long commute; kids; loneliness; a new relationship; becoming a caregiver; etc. If we run with the idea that x = $, we'll probably spend more than necessary. If we say, "Anything can lead to creep. My current x factor is triggering a desire to spend," then we can find new ways to approach the matter.

Thanks for sharing!  I am going to find that youtube video and have a watch...because I agree.  Prices are a little out of hand and it is not really optional.  I agree with your assessment that home ownership in canada is pricey when you start adding it up, especially the hydro and property taxes.  100% there is lifestyle creep everywhere and it takes commitment to swim against it, but it can be done! I just fine it is just harder to find the resolve in the dead of winter.   

E_Monkey

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2017, 08:01:21 PM »
We have memberships to a few local zoos, museums, etc., which we began using frequently starting when DS1 was about 6 months old and especially during the winter.

There is a thing called an "experience gap." http://www.liveitlearnit.org/mr-wheelock-its-henri-matisse-as-run-in-valerie-strauss-washington-post-education-blog-1028/

Basically, poor children get out less than middle-and upper-class children and this leads to an educational achievement gap.

Yes, these memberships DO cost some money. But DS1 LOVES science and is WAY ahead of some of his classmates because he's done so many hands-on experiments at the local science museum.

We have some friends who are also frugal who refuse to spend money on even the local museums. Go try out a lovely small museum complex with lots of room for the kids to run and enticing exhibits? Nope. $25 (admission and tolls for the roads) is too much for a one-day visit for a family of 4.

Well, yeah. That's why we spend $90 for the year. But YOU WILL NEVER KNOW IF IT'S WORTH IT UNLESS YOU VISIT, PEOPLE!!!! And most museums will take the price of your admission off a same-day membership. Sigh. I don't think these kids even visit the local library.

SwordGuy

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2017, 08:03:49 PM »
It's been my experience that a lot of people lose common sense or any reasonable perspective once children are added to the mix.

I don't know why.


jooniperberries

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2017, 08:42:13 PM »
It's been my experience that a lot of people lose common sense or any reasonable perspective once children are added to the mix.

I don't know why.

They get soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired.

ToTheMoon

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2017, 09:11:48 PM »
I have always lived in a cold climate, but can totally attest that living where it is frozen 5 months of the year definitely results in a higher cost of living than other more moderate temps, especially with kids.  This can be seen in everything from kids activities (hockey, skiing/snowboarding equipment/lift tickets etc) to having to pay for indoor play spaces museums etc. to keep them active during -40 temperatures.   We need super cold weather gear, rain gear, summer gear for the kids so that we can enjoy the outdoors during the various seasons. Which needs to be replaced every year because they are always growing!  And I can tell you that the temptation to order food or eat out is strong when the roads are bad or it is really cold and you the prospect of going to the grocery store and hauling your bags of beans and rice is just too much to face.  Add to that a little warm weather vacation and your savings for a stache look more like one whisker! LOL!  Not to mention the incredible cost of heating, poor fuel economy in your cars and it is wonder I save anything at all! :)   People who have never endured a true northern winter (We think even your Minnesotans are pretty soft!) who say 'just put on a sweater' have never got for a whole month with a wind chill advisory that says skin will freeze in less than 60 seconds.  It just costs more.  Honestly, after typing this, not sure why I live here!!!

Oh my goodness - this!  I figure that our summer activities are relatively-inexpensive, and that helps to offset our winter-time fun.  No holidays to warm climates, but next year we are looking down the barrel of a family ski pass (kids have always been free up until now), and yet another set of ski gear for the kids!  Between school and home our kids spend hours a day outside playing in the wintertime - good gear is essential to this.  I would rather spend it on good gloves and boots than video games! (Nothing against gamers ;)

   

Meggslynn

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2017, 10:46:55 AM »
It has for us. I don't think by anything significant or anything I am ashamed or regret however.

We often do takeout on Friday nights as we are both tired from the work week and our son has Karate that night.
Then the cost of the extra curricular activities. Which right now are $100 for 8 classes of Karate and $50 for 8 classes of swimming.
 
Then of course the cost of clothing, etc. We don't have anyone to give us hand me downs but I like to think that I do a fairly good job of finding sales and that sort of thing.

We also used to have a house cleaner so we could spend our weekends do fun family stuff instead of cleaning but we have discontinued that service as my salary took a huge hit with the recession my province is currently in.
 

MayDay

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2017, 10:53:21 AM »
It's been my experience that a lot of people lose common sense or any reasonable perspective once children are added to the mix.

I don't know why.

They get soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired.

I laughed out loud.

Main reason why I didn't have a third kid.

Journal:  http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/mayday's-journal/350/  featuring children, chickens (new!) and other ch words.

BeanCounter

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #35 on: February 07, 2017, 11:19:38 AM »
We have 8 and 4 year old boys. When they were babies it they really didn't cost much. With the exception of day care of course. We didn't go out much. They didn't have any activities. Used clothing was in abundance. But every year that they get older it seems that things get more expensive. It's harder to find used clothing as boys wear them out before they outgrow them. They go through shoes in two months- I mean just flat out wear holes in them. Their activities are expensive, and we do limit them, but I'm not going to say no to participating in all sports or playing an instrument. School ALWAYS wants money for something- PTO, field trips, book money. Summer camp/care is expensive. Which I guess is a cost of working, but I find people often think that when the kids get in school care will be cheaper. HA! I'm paying $500 a week for a summer care. Plus everything you might want to do as a couple/family- eat out, vacation, etc., you have to pay for the kids too which would double your entertainment budget. I don't know about you, but I don't want to spend the next 18 years not going out and do anything. So now I have to pay more for it.
I don't think we are over indulging them as we are naturally pretty frugal people and tend to analyze every expense, it just costs more. I cringe at the thought of having teenagers.
I wouldn't change it for the world though. Those hugs make every hour of work worth it.

tonysemail

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #36 on: February 09, 2017, 05:37:03 PM »
I think this is one of those personal finance things that changes all the time.
It's very personal.  It's affected by my family's mood and net worth.
From 2010-2012, we steadily cut our spending in spite of having two little ones.
But it turns out that we didn't want to sustain spending at that level.
So as they got older and our net worth grew, we splurge on more experiences.
In this way, having kids did lead to lifestyle creep, but it's the sort that is sustainable and worth spending on for our values.

KBecks

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #37 on: February 13, 2017, 05:05:48 PM »
There is/was a very good personal finance writer, Humberto Cruz, who wrote an essay many years ago that said to save money -- have children.  This may or may not apply a decade plus later, but the theory is that seeing the future of your kids makes you live more carefully, and spend your time, energy and money more wisely.

His columns were very good, I'd recommend them to anyone interested.

http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/humbertocruz
« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 05:07:55 PM by KBecks »

JustTrying

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2017, 08:49:45 PM »
For me the kid (just one, an infant) IS the lifestyle creep. It's pretty easy for hubs and myself to not buy junk for ourselves, but I have to buy stuff (often equipment) for my baby. For example: This month, my goal was to spend a maximum of $50 on my baby (other than food). But her regular diapers started leaking at night so I had to upgrade to nighttime diapers (cloth). Then she started crawling so I had to buy an extra-wide (hard to find used) baby-gate to put across the stairs. So, I'm now over budget. But I'm pleased to have a child who has not fallen down the stairs onto her head, so I suppose the gate was worth it. I suppose that I could have woken her and myself to change her diaper at night, rather than buying ones that don't leak. How very unmustachian of me! :)

Hargrove

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #39 on: February 17, 2017, 09:33:14 PM »
(Almost) any time you think "I'll use Moneybucks to wipe away this problem," it's lifestyle creep. Doing it for your kids is not different from doing it for yourself, except that you are more likely to fiercely defend spending on your kids, with handy arguments like "but they're my kids!"

I know a woman at 26 without a full-time job who wants her future children to all go to private schools. There's a fundamental disconnect there.

It's not such a big deal with snow gear in Minnesota, but yes, it's probably lifestyle creep. So is buying a Prius if you don't need one. What are you comfortable with? Jooniper had some great suggestions for reasonable-cost snow upgrades. If you're going to use money to solve the problem, doing it at 25% the "common" cost is the way to go without worrying about it too much. Once you start questioning that (don't my kids deserve more money thrown at these problems to fix them?), that's when you may need to worry about lifestyle creep, but adequate snow gear is pretty reasonable.

deborah

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #40 on: February 17, 2017, 11:20:08 PM »
No kids.

I see people, even on this forum, buy a bigger house than they need because they are going to have kids someday. Buying a bigger car as soon as they are pregnant because the kids (you haven't even got a first) will need more room.

And I remember a workmate saying one day that his mother had always wanted to swim when she was little, but as a Jew in Nazi Germany, she couldn't, so he was taught to swim, and his parents had a swimming pool. His father had not been allowed to have a bicycle for the same reason, so HE had a bicycle. It really didn't matter whether or not he (as a child) wanted to swim or cycle. His parents wanted it for him.

I see this as the reason for most lifestyle creep "because Kids".

When your parents or grandparents were little in a cold climate, I bet their parents spent very little extra on them because of the climate. Ask what they did as kids - you'll soon have some excellent cheep things to do with your kids - even in the cold.

mxt0133

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #41 on: February 18, 2017, 11:54:19 PM »
Yes.  When my kids were younger we enjoyed doing free things or very inexpensive things.  However as they grow older they are exposed to many different things and it's hard to say no whey are genuinely excited about something that just happens to cost money.

I'm still saving more money now before kids because I've shifted my spending and have lowered most of my other spending categories.  I just took my two oldest to a Broadway show, which I thought a lot about.  I didn't go to my first Broadway show until I was in my mid 20's but it was something I wanted my kids to be exposed to so I took them and they absolutely loved it.  It's not something I will do on a regular basis and we will just adjust spending on other things to stay within our budget.

On the other end of the spectrum a new couple I met, two professionals, Ivy league education with very high paying  jobs just had a baby.  The mom is going back to work and just hired a nanny.  They have 5K rent, 3K nanny and 1.3K student loans per month that before food, entertainment, and transportation. 

MoneyMage

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #42 on: February 19, 2017, 10:20:00 PM »
I'd say yes. We certainly bought a bigger house for kids but honestly his bachelor condo we had before felt too small for two. Nowadays I spend less on myself but splurge a bit on the kids, especially on character clothes (because I wish I could wear their clothes haha).

Sydneystache

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #43 on: February 21, 2017, 02:13:47 AM »
My experience:

0 to 5 years increase in lifestyle creep - station wagon, childcare
6-11 decrease - government primary school, downgraded to sedan
12+ increase - government high school, still with the sedan, blew/blowing $$$ on extracurricular activities (violin, tennis, gym, camps, robotics club etc).

At this stage I am increasing my education budget so he'd have a wholesome, all-round experience of high school (I hated mine!)

Stachetastic

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #44 on: February 21, 2017, 06:17:30 AM »
My son is turning 5 soon, and for the first 3-4 years, we saved money (aside from the cost of child care) due to rarely going out to eat, traveling, etc. He has some special needs that are now requiring therapies and other interventions that are not covered by insurance, so we are paying out of pocket. I'd be hard pressed to determine a price I wouldn't pay to help my son, but I don't really consider this "lifestyle creep."

We are now beginning to travel a bit more, visit a local amusement park once per year, and typically see a live show once per year, which does add up. But again, we did these things much more frequently before having a child.

StarBright

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #45 on: February 21, 2017, 07:31:32 AM »
I've really enjoyed this thread and have been savoring it and thinking about it over the last few days.

I feel like DH and I had really nailed frugality  (out of necessity at times) before we had kids so once we had children lifestyle creep was unavoidable in some ways.

Pre-kids we thrifted for clothes, spent tons of time cooking from scratch (including fancy meals), were able to take advantage of last minute discounts for trips, gardened, volunteered at a farm in the summers for a free CSA share and all sorts of really fun, frugal things.

Once we had two little ones we stopped doing almost all of those things (except scratch cooking) just from a lack of time. And of course, the years you have kids also coincide with increased responsibility at work, sucking up even more time.

While we still have low spending and are great at saving, our budget is definitely no longer cut to the bone like it was 5 years ago.

I suspect as the kids get older (they are currently 3 and 5) we will add stuff back in. We're actually doing a community garden share this summer because I think the kids are old enough to help and learn.

Also, we have memberships to the Y (indoor pool for the winter, super cheap kids classes, and exercise for DH and I), Zoo, Science Museum, and Art Museum (free kids classes on weekends). Those things probably total about $1000 bucks for the year but they keep us all out and about and moving (and not in front of the TV) all winter. They are almost priceless at this stage of our life.


jooniperberries

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #46 on: February 21, 2017, 09:08:10 AM »
The conversation is inspiring memories for me. Some of my "opposites" recalled are:

1. Due to kid's special needs, went from eating out and eating processed groceries daily to cooking 100% from scratch, at home.

2. Due to parenting solo, stopped going out to events.

3. Set up all the registered accounts, got eligible for every grant into those.

4. Bought a house to put kid in (had been planning to adopt, this was part of my pitch to agency), thus newly had suites to rent out and room to grow food.

5. Inspired by having a cute little thing right next to me to provide intensive care for, stopped giving all my money to charities, strangers, and adult boyfriends, stopped doing all my work for free, started seeking proper pay, and started funneling every available dollar into savings (so I can care for him short term and long after I'm gone).

6. As a result of his disabilities, fell into a new career which brought way more money on way fewer hours.

Even though I've spent over $50k on his special needs care, he's magically brought us a net gain—even financially!

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Does having kids leave you more susceptible to lifestyle creep?
« Reply #47 on: February 22, 2017, 02:57:48 PM »
Ugh, I definitely feel it.  It's much easier to be hard on myself, and for some reason, we want to give our kids everything.  I think it's natural.  Something takes over and makes it hard to think rationally!!  I'm going to go back and read everyone's responses, because I definitely could use some work.