Author Topic: The Impact of Kids on Monthly Spending  (Read 2472 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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The Impact of Kids on Monthly Spending
« on: March 18, 2017, 10:45:44 PM »
Can anyone here that religiously tracks their expenses share the difference in their monthly spending before and after having a child?

I have heard some people say they spend less after having a kid since they stop drinking, traveling, eating out, etc. I'm curious how this community's expenses have changed. My husband and I are considering starting a family but I'm afraid that we don't have enough income to support a child.

Thanks for sharing!


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: The Impact of Kids on Monthly Spending
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2017, 01:24:12 AM »
I got into an argument with a number of coworkers a few moths ago because I claimed my child was monthly cash flow positive. So being a programmer, I made a spreadsheet. For the year 2015 I calculated that my child generated a bit more than 99$ a month on average. The main reasons why this was positive was due to government programs like the UTCB, CCTB, NBCTB, NCBS, NBLITR, increased GST/HST Rebate, and getting the additional ~13K off of my taxable income for being a single parent. The reason it wasn't in the 300+ range is because I invest 200$/month into a registrared education savings plan (RESP) for my child and in 2015 the average child support payment received was 0.42$/month.

That above calculation did not ponder whether my expenses went down, up, or neutral (i.e. in a theoretical universe without a child if I would have no car, go out to eat more often, etc...). There is some modern research showing the expenses fall or stay level. For myself personally, I can't even guess. On one hand I grew a lot as a person by being a parent and aligned my financial decisions to long-term goals. On the other hand, fighting for custody was an emotional slug fest (at one point the other parent denied me access for months) and that was the triggering factor for a depression that cost me an honours in university, a few months of being unemployed, and the custody fight meant I wouldn't travel to do a master's.

A more important question, perhaps for you, is that for the people I am close enough to to know the rough finances of, none of their expenses drastically rose as a result of having children. My experience of being cash flow positive as a single parent is not an anomaly to (but nonetheless, stay in-love and passionate with your spouse).


  • Bristles
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Re: The Impact of Kids on Monthly Spending
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2017, 06:36:25 AM »
So far our expenses have gone up almost exclusively because of daycare, but Baby is only 10 months old, so take that with a grain of salt :)  We do put a little bit of money aside for his future every month, and now that he's arrived and settled we spend <$75/mo on "Baby expenses" like wipes, clothes, tiny adorable hats, etc.  A lot of those baby expenses are unnecessary, though - we put the budget in place so we'd have a little slush fund for things we didn't realize we needed until we needed them.

Our daycare expenses are basically a second mortgage.  It sucks.  I don't know what I was doing with that $1000/mo before we used it for daycare, but obviously I wasn't saving enough of it.

ETA: We did pay ~ $2500 in copays for delivery, and we've had an increase in insurance premiums of about $60/mo switching from Employee to Employee + child(ren).  I guess there are more little creeping things in our budget than I thought.  We've stopped going out to movies, but we were kind of homebodies before we had kids, so there's not much of a decrease in spending from downgrading our social life.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 09:22:45 AM by chaskavitch »


  • Bristles
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Re: The Impact of Kids on Monthly Spending
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2017, 09:09:58 AM »
We have a 16 month old. According to Mint, we have spent a total of $1,890.17 on him since his birth. This includes obvious things like diapers & supplies, kid-specific medicine, clothing, shoes, and outerwear, toys, etc. This doesn't include food - I would guess that is $20-30 per month out of the $400-450 that we spend. On a monthly level, in January he cost $103.55, February was $156.77, and March so far is $4.24 (eczema cream!)

Some things that affect this number:
-Breastfed almost exclusively. The formula that we did need we got for free from formula companies. Somehow they find out that you're pregnant.
-Cloth diaper about 75% of the time.
-We have really good health insurance. Labor & Delivery cost the $175 co-pay for the standard hospital stay. We've had to pay two co-pays since then for him, a total of $50. Family health insurance premium is higher than that for two adults, which is not part of that $1,890 number.
-Grandma really wants to spend money on him, so we make a day of hitting up the big kid consignment sales twice a year. This probably runs $40-50 for the next season's clothes. She also has bought both of his car seats (baby shower gift, and the next as a Xmas present.)
-Grandma was also our full-time Nanny until we moved out of state. I stay home now (since he was 10 months old), so there's the loss of my $100k salary in lieu of child care costs.
-We are very minimalist, very laid back parents. VERY. He has one water bottle that he uses. I know a mom who bought about a dozen different ones for her kid. We have never purchased kid specific cutlery or dishes or toddler snack containers. As a baby he had two bottles, one was sent to use for free, the other was part of a gift. He has one pair of sneakers, and one pair of boots. Six pairs of socks. One sweatshirt, one winter hat, etc. He has a shelf full of books and a basket of toys, and that's about it. We spend a lot of time at the local library and playing outside at the parks and playgrounds etc. In contrast, we were at a friend's house yesterday, and it was honestly like visiting a children's museum. They have a goddamn train table! Amongst many many many other toys. It works for them and their two kids, but geez it would never work for us.

We joined the YMCA for $85 because it includes child care, which is not part of that $1,890 figure. We haven't stopped drinking or going out to eat, and we drink WAY more coffee.  You will usually find us on a Sunday afternoon having some beers at the bar down the street. We haven't stopped traveling. We are heading to Europe (all 3 of us) next month, staying at Air BNBs for less than the cost of hotels, but more expensive than hostels. We've got some tent camping trips planned for this summer, and we'll be flying to visit family as well.

In the end, the cost of child care will (hopefully) be the biggest cost issue. Crack that nut and the rest is dirt cheap in comparison.

Capt j-rod

  • Bristles
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Re: The Impact of Kids on Monthly Spending
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2017, 10:18:22 AM »
I can say that we spend more for kids. Not a ton more, just different more. Diapers, wipes, daycare, clothes... I was blessed with a second girl which allows me to recycle clothes etc.... I am way more mustachian than my wife. She sees it, gets it, wants to do it, but breaks down at the last minute. Having kids is the ultimate personal sacrifice. You are no longer numero uno. I could care less about my clothes, gadgets, etc... All focus is on two little girls. My diet has changed for the better because I cook for them and eat the same. I love the great outdoors and share it with them as often as possible. I hacked daycare thanks to a vocational school that teaches early childhood development. Turns out they need kids and mine are the guinea pigs. The cost is insanely low and they also have a culinary arts dept that cooks a balanced snack and lunch for my kids. I eat left overs, they get vegetarian lasagna, and gourmet meals. The care is literally one on one because there are as many students as there are toddlers.
I have no way to project you the anticipated costs of a teenage girl. I am mr. no, grandma never says no, mom can be persuaded, so only the future will know. If you have everything else nailed down as far as housing, cars, debt etc... you will easily afford kids and have the time to spend with them. Everything fun doesn't require money. Parks, camping, canoeing, fishing biking, all are basically free.
There are a ton of cheap things too. Museums, fairs, etc.
Took the family bowling with pizza yesterday total tab was $25... Earlybird Saturday special before 4 pm. Be sure to set some money aside and enjoy the ride!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: The Impact of Kids on Monthly Spending
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 07:39:35 PM »
We spent a lot (read: too much) on getting ready for the baby. Furniture for the nursery, strollers (yes, plural), etc. My wife is usually very frugal, but in this domain she felt very strongly about the things she wanted. Our set-up costs were between $1500 and $2000.

Our copay for the delivery (c-section, 3 nights in hospital) was $500.

On the month to month, we spend an average of $225 per month. Our daughter is currently 13 months. That figure has included formula for the last 5 months which has since stopped, so we're hoping this goes down. This does not include daycare, which as you'll hear from everyone can range from 'ouch' to 'you can't be serious'.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: The Impact of Kids on Monthly Spending
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 08:30:31 AM »
I'm not a big spending tracker, but we do all of the following and it has made parenthood pretty cheap.  We've got an almost 2 year old.

-Breastfed almost exclusively. The formula that we did need we got for free from formula companies. Somehow they find out that you're pregnant.
-Cloth diaper about 75% of the time.
-We have really good health insurance.
-We make a day of hitting up the big kid consignment sales twice a year.

We got our cloth diapers mostly secondhand from local groups or consignment sales, and the new ones were all from the baby shower.  Those consignment sales are amazing for clothes.  She's gotten some new stuff as gifts from grandparents, but virtually all of her clothes are secondhand and VERY cheap.  My wife waits until the 50% off sales at the consignment sale for most stuff.  One tip -- she's volunteered for the "clean-up" shift a couple of times and starts in the age range that we're looking for, so as she goes through stuff she pulls anything she wants (for 50% off).

We didn't notice a big "savings" in terms of our own lifestyle adjustment because we didn't really go out much before, and neither of us drink.  We've probably saved money in travelling, because our trips have been primarily about visiting family.  We're starting to take more "proper" vacations, though, but our style hasn't really changed.  I've gotten better at the credit card reward game over the last few years, though, so we never really pay for flights.

DW has stayed home so far, but she's going back to work this fall.  Daycare will be expensive (~$800 per month, basically the same as our mortgage).

I guess one expense might be our house, but I'm not sure what we would do otherwise.  Where we live, rent isn't particularly cheap, and we got a good deal on our house.  It's bigger than we'd need as a couple, but we looked for smaller, and there isn't much available in good neighborhoods within biking distance from work that's smaller than what we have (4/3, 1800 sqft).

I think the biggest (hypothetical) change is one of lifestyle stability.  If we didn't decide to have a kid, I think I would have pushed more for semi-retirement / living overseas / living at an intentional community etc.  I spent my 20s living overseas and I really enjoyed it.  With a kid, I'm more grateful for stability and good benefits.  For now, at least. :)


  • Stubble
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Re: The Impact of Kids on Monthly Spending
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2017, 04:47:24 AM »
In family sociology, kids are sometimes referred to as "the Porsche option", because the average working adult can either afford a Porsche or a kid, not both. It's a sloppy term, but the numbers I have read for Norway are about 130000$ from birth to age 16. To my mind, that's a low estimate, as we pay for Kindergarten or after school child care every month (300$ each), one might need a bigger house and/or car (why would I otherwise own a seven seater), they desire different kind of vacations and attractions than grownups etc. Everything can be adjusted by one's approach to money; for instance about 90% of our kids clothes are so far second hand. But that will change eventually.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: The Impact of Kids on Monthly Spending
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2017, 06:22:03 AM »
If you can avoid day care expenses, then you can probably have a relatively budget-neutral kid. Although, if you already do lots of free activities and minimal spending, you'll probably see a slight uptick just because of increased food, laundry and suchlike.
The first step is acknowledging you have a problem, right?


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: The Impact of Kids on Monthly Spending
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2017, 03:21:52 PM »
It'll vary per family.

For us, who didn't go out much to begin with, the savings are small, but so are the expenses (part-time daycare, we do cloth nappies most of the time so this isn't a massive expense, mostly breastmilk so not too much on formula), and this is offset by tax credits (daycare) and government benefits.

Our first was a girl and inherited most of her clothing from her three female cousins who live nearby. Number two is of the other persuasion, so we'll probably have to buy some clothes now and again. But, if we're smart, we'll go to "mom-to-mom" sales and pick stuff up on the cheap. Or thrift shop, etc.

I won't say it's neutral, but it certainly could be - *if* you can organise your life around schedules. IE, someone can collect from daycare/school rather than having to pay for extended care.

Number one goes to school this year, so things may change a bit with whatever kit/subs/activities there are.

I think the opportunity cost is greatest, assuming you live somewhere schools are ok.
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  • Pencil Stache
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Re: The Impact of Kids on Monthly Spending
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2017, 06:28:01 PM »
Since no one brought up MMM's post on this subject I feel obliged to. He, in one post, estimates the upper range of raising his child to age 21 to be 75K since the MMM family is "a family who does a moderate job at being natural and nonconsumer parents to [their] child."


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: The Impact of Kids on Monthly Spending
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2017, 11:51:57 AM »
We are new to this forum, so while we consider ourselves big savers, we have not yet learned the tricks of frugality of many on this forum.  Here are some things that factor into our costs for having kids, some of which we did not consider prior to having kids:

Beyond the obvious (daycare, college savings, costs to feed and clothe), our costs include:

--Even once kids are school age, if working then need to factor in cost of afterschool care and summer camp.

--Medical:  Increased premiums for family plan, co-pays for sick visits, etc.

--Life Insurance:  With kids, it is a good idea to have a good term life insurance plan

--Will/Trust:  A one time expense, but I include it because this is important with kids!

--Kids activities:  In our HCOL area, two seasons of town-league house level sports runs around $350/kid.  Dance classes run over $800/year/kid.  Piano lessons are super extravagant at a cost of around $2000/year.  Obviously, these are not essential, but something to consider

--Community memberships:  Do you think you will visit your local zoo/aquarium/children's museum/nature center regularly?  If so, consider the cost of membership to these places.

--Birthday parties:  If it is common in your circle for kids to be invited to all of their classmates' birthday parties, then you might find yourself buying birthday presents far more than you ever expected.  Also consider cost of your child's birthday parties.  Obviously this can be done frugally, or not (birthday party places in our area run $300-$500).

--School fundraisers/events:  From school events (movie night, game show night, bingo night, international night, costume ball) to school book fairs to field trips to straight up fundraisers, schools seem to have a million different ways of seeking donations from parents.

--School supplies:  Beyond the obvious (backpacks, lunch bags, notebooks, etc.), consider costs of printer ink (not cheap!) and other supplies for school projects

--Travel:  We love to travel with our kids, and this is a huge added expense for us (I know, we're probably doing it wrong).  But we travel by air to see family (2 extra plane tickets are not cheap), and restaurants, anything requiring tickets is just going to be more expensive with more people.  Even "no cost" vacation activities are not completely cost free.  We love to ride bikes on vacations and weekends, for example, but added costs include:  child seat for bikes when kids were toddlers; "tandem" bike attachment to allow long bike rides when kids were 4-6 age range; kids bikes, hitch and bike rack for car, etc.  Or even just the extra sun block/bug spray.  It adds up!

--books!  The easy answer is to just use the library, but I confess books are a not insignificant line item for us.

--misc.:  Try as we might to limit the toys, they add up.  Or we read about a cool science experiment to try with the kids and buy the supplies for that.  Or we decide to try ice skating or bowling as a family activity.  We obviously have much to learn about becoming more frugal, but even though we don't buy a lot of "stuff" the activities in particular are expensive!