Author Topic: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?  (Read 5814 times)

caleb

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Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« on: March 21, 2021, 03:56:54 PM »
My wife and I have decided that we're going to try to conceive once the pandemic is past.  This would be our first child.  As we look forward to this exciting next phase, we're also trying to get our heads around the finances of it.  I'm aware that the USDA says the national average is $12k/kid/year, but I'm thinking that's likely just going to be our daycare cost.

Below are the categories I'm imagining along with a spitball guesstimate of the cost.  Please add to or correct what I'm projecting.

Housing: We own a 3 bedroom sfh five blocks from the local elementary school.  We expect that we'll stay here for the foreseeable future, and there won't be much of any marginal housing cost.

Health care: My wife has very good health coverage through work.  She's asked colleagues who have recently had children about the out-of-pocket, and all have reported that it's been less than $1000.  I'm not sure what the additional premium for a child is on her plan, but I'll put $50/mo in as a placeholder ($600/year).  My wife also has several months of vacation saved in addition to a short term disability policy.

Daycare: Friends in the area say we need to expect to pay $1000/mo, and I have no reason to doubt them.  So there's $12,000/year.  We have access to a Dependent Care FSA that would partially offset these costs, but I'm not sure about those details.

Transportation: We already own two ordinary cars, and we don't imagine that's going to change.  We'll likely end up driving a bit more, and/or buying a bike trailer.  Call it an extra $500/year.

Food: How much do little kids eat?  Maybe $100/mo, $1200/year?

Clothes: Is $50/mo, $600/year reasonable?

"Stuff": Car seat, crib, diapers, toys ... man, I don't have a clue.

I'm seeing a ballpark budget here of $15-17k/year, which would partly be offset by a child tax credit (something in the $2000-3600 range, depending on future policy and our AGI) and the Dependent Care FSA.

Am I on the right track?  Overlooking any major costs?

innkeeper77

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2021, 04:37:31 PM »
Daycare can be EXPENSIVE. I would love it if we were only paying $1k a month!

Actual costs will be different for everyone. We spend less than $50 a YEAR on clothes, because kid clothes are EVERYWHERE and getting them used when possible saves a ton of money, and is environmentally friendly. Toys are also cheap and everywhere. Plus, do you have older family? It's very common to get absolutely inundated with toy and clothes gifts from grandparents.

Don't buy a used car seat though, they are like bike helmets. (Hand me downs from trustworthy friends should work just fine though! We gave our first away to friends so they knew it wasn’t in a crash and didn’t spend too long baking in the sun parked- car was garaged and not used for a commute) We made do with a single car seat, because we only use one car the vast majority of the time. We needed an infant seat, and then upgraded to a toddler one. Less than one car seat a year. Other "stuff" is everywhere used. Be careful to make sure your crib is a safe design, but simple safe cribs are still cheap used.

Food, can start at around $0 if you are able to do breastfeeding, and can be HUGE. We have spent way too much on toddler "bars" but it's worth it for us- they are one of the only foods the kid likes that also don't make a mess in the car. If you are very disciplined, you might be able to get the kid to eat what you eat once they are of food-eating-age! We failed, but food is relatively cheap. (I'm not giving a dollar value as we are in a MCOL area where food is significantly more expensive than the same food in other areas we have lived in)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2021, 06:42:47 PM by innkeeper77 »

Morning Glory

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2021, 04:42:05 PM »
This is highly variable. Daycare is the only really big expense, and it varies by region so much we can't really help you there. We chose to go with the SAHP instead of daycare for a variety of reasons, including cost, availability, and working weird hours. If neither of you works a 9-5 then it can be more difficult and expensive to find childcare. The "stuff" doesn't cost much.

Trying to conceive can take a while. I was really surprised about that.

nereo

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2021, 05:51:49 PM »

Trying to conceive can take a while. I was really surprised about that.

I wish we had appreciated just how true this statement would be for us.  Three years and a lot of anxiety...

I also agree that the “stuff” really doesn’t have to amount to very much.

Personal experience (yours may differ). Daycare is by-far-and-away out greatest expense of raising a toddler, at $210/week.  Nothing else is even worth mentioning, financially speaking.  We didnt’ even have childcare for the first year due to Covid (first it closed, then I was furloughed and it became a non-issue). now we are absolutely THRILLED to be paying that in order to have some of that assistance back.

IIRC our health care premiums went up $23/week - but then my wife’s went down as we elected not to have any more kids, so that wound up almost being a wash.  In our state all wellness checks an vaccines are covered regardless (including Co-Pays), so our one and only additional medical expense has been a single non-network x-ray ($300ish) when we were too stupid to verify network providers otherwise. Ours was breastfed and then a slooooooow transition to food.  I puréed a lot of veggies that we otherwise have in house, but for the first year the food budget is so modest it’s almost negligible. Maybe an additional $1-2 in veggies, if you don’t buy pre-packaged baby food.  Formula can jarred baby food is ridiculously expensive, but that wasn’t us.

Clothes?  Ha!  Our social network kicked into overdrive without us even realizing it.  Young kids stay in clothes for so little time (sometimes just 2 months!) that 3-5 kids can wear the same pair of pants (serially).  I remember going through an entire laundry basket of kids clothes and realizing we hadn’t bought one single item in there.   THe one exception (for us) has been shoes, and we’ve found some on consignment and a couple pairs we’ve bought ourselves, but at most we’ve paid $100/year in clothes so far.  I have no doubt that will go way up once they are school-aged.

We bought one car seat to match a hand-me-down (shhh... some people swear one should never get a hand-me-down car seat.  Whatever), and we bought a baby carrier (Tula) on consignment which was the best $30 we’ve spent thus far.

A final “big” expense for us has been setting up and funding a 529.  This is another deeply personal decision, but we want to provide at least 80% of her college expenses. I did some rough modeling and determined if you can squirrel away $4k/year for the first 8 years you can be done saving for college permanently, so that’s what we are doing. Compound interest is a wonderful thing when it’s working for you.

What else....  I honestly can’t even think of any major costs the first two years. She slept in a ‘baby-box’ (free) for the first 3-4 months before we transitioned her to a basic crib I built (I’m an amateur woodworker).  We bought her a balance bike (consignment) and made a chalkboard in her room with some chalkboard paint.  Toys and books just seem to arrive constantly from friends and family, and they pile up everywhere to the point where we’ve implemented a “one in, one out” policy where our daughter gets to help pick what to give away and to whom (a practice she’s become oddly enthusiastic about).

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2021, 06:08:04 PM »
Kids can be as expensive or (up to a point) as cheap as you make it. Daycare is an expense that is hard to reduce, as you mentioned. I'll address the rest below:

My wife and I have decided that we're going to try to conceive once the pandemic is past.  This would be our first child.  As we look forward to this exciting next phase, we're also trying to get our heads around the finances of it.  I'm aware that the USDA says the national average is $12k/kid/year, but I'm thinking that's likely just going to be our daycare cost.

Below are the categories I'm imagining along with a spitball guesstimate of the cost.  Please add to or correct what I'm projecting.

Housing: We own a 3 bedroom sfh five blocks from the local elementary school.  We expect that we'll stay here for the foreseeable future, and there won't be much of any marginal housing cost.

Absolutely. You don't need any more house for awhile, even if you have another child and still want a guest room (they can share and it can even work better that way).

Health care: My wife has very good health coverage through work.  She's asked colleagues who have recently had children about the out-of-pocket, and all have reported that it's been less than $1000.  I'm not sure what the additional premium for a child is on her plan, but I'll put $50/mo in as a placeholder ($600/year).  My wife also has several months of vacation saved in addition to a short term disability policy. This is optimistic. It can be this - just a little for additional premium. It can be a lot more depending on your insurance. Even if you have a good insurance with small premium increases, expect a surprise urgent care visit or three randomly pushing this up.

Daycare: Friends in the area say we need to expect to pay $1000/mo, and I have no reason to doubt them.  So there's $12,000/year.  We have access to a Dependent Care FSA that would partially offset these costs, but I'm not sure about those details. Yep, totally dependent on area.

Transportation: We already own two ordinary cars, and we don't imagine that's going to change.  We'll likely end up driving a bit more, and/or buying a bike trailer.  Call it an extra $500/year. Yep. Buying a minivan for the first kid is a huge waste of money IMO.

Food: How much do little kids eat?  Maybe $100/mo, $1200/year?

Breastfeed, and it won't be much to begin with. Formula is expensive. It's been awhile, but I believe it could be more than $100 a month if it's fully that. Past that, if you get them to eat what you eat, the increase is minimal.

Clothes: Is $50/mo, $600/year reasonable?

If you're willing to do Goodwill, that is much more than enough. Even throwing in some cheap Walmart stuff here and there, you'd probably be fine.

"Stuff": Car seat, crib, diapers, toys ... man, I don't have a clue.

Car seats are a fairly expensive one-time expenses, as are cribs. I haven't priced them in a while. If you don't do cloth, diapers will probably be pretty expensive - maybe $50 a month? It's been a while. Toys can be as expensive as you like.

I'm seeing a ballpark budget here of $15-17k/year, which would partly be offset by a child tax credit (something in the $2000-3600 range, depending on future policy and our AGI) and the Dependent Care FSA.

Am I on the right track?  Overlooking any major costs?

That's a good summary of expenses, I believe.


Morning Glory

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2021, 06:40:54 PM »
Not everyone can breastfeed. I really beat myself up for not being able to do it with my first baby. I was able to breastfeed some but had insufficient supply, so had to buy formula. First I drove myself nuts trying to pump all the time, but there just wasn't enough. I even tried fenugreek. Take the samples in case you need them, you can always donate if you don't. Store brand formula is just as good as brand name, since it's all regulated by the government. It's not that expensive.

 I made all my baby food too, just get a food processor and grind up whatever you are eating if it isn't soft enough for the baby (just don't use salt). I used to freeze it in silicone muffin cups and then pop into a big ziploc on the freezer.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2021, 08:18:49 PM »
The other posters have done a good job of outlining the costs of raising a preschooler. Just curious as to why you're scoping expenses to that age? IMO, kids get significantly more expensive (daycare aside), so you really have to be looking at the full cost for the next 18 years.

joe189man

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2021, 08:53:57 PM »
Daycare, daycare, daycare. Seriously we could pay college tuition (room and board included) for what we send in daycare costs

we have two kids and daycare is is our biggest expense by hundreds of dollars more than our mortgage. i would check some out in your area now, and potentially get on their waiting list, for real this can be a big issue, i have known parents that got nannies because they didnt plan ahead and got stuck with out care

our daycare cost is ~$650 +/- a week for a 5 and 3 y/o, infants cost more at upwards of $360 a week

if your wife has a High deductible plan, plan on maxing that out for the birth year

diapers and wipes can be $100 + a month

all other costs seem like they can be absorbed,

depending on insurance options, stiches or something similar can be spendy, try to stick to urgent cares when possible

nereo

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2021, 05:10:59 AM »
Adding...
Yes, absolutely get on daycare lists NOW.  Tour ones you might be interested in using, because they can be of vastly different quality and focus.  I was shocked to discover that a typical wait in our area could be 6 months, and some of the “better” ones were booked a year in advance.  a YEAR.  Which is longer than a human pregnancy... (go figure)

Also....it  occurred to me last night that the greatest costs in the first two years were not monetary (or weren’t direct).  I didn’t appreciate just how much loss of sleep, loss of time, loss of willpower there would be during those months, which led to StupidSpending® Like more takeout and paying for more services you’d otherwise do yourself.  Deep cleaning went out the window for a year. Meal prep is huge, though we were thwarted by our daughter arriving almost a month early (!).  Take what time you have to clear many of those things off your plate.  Deep clean the house, change your oil, clean the gutters, stock your freezer with meals,etc. because in my experience I didn’t have the time once the baby arrived and she was not an easy baby (yours may very well be different).

caleb

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2021, 08:19:25 AM »
Kids can be as expensive or (up to a point) as cheap as you make it.

A friend of mine - pretty self aware guy with a live-in nanny - once remarked to me, "Kids aren't all that expensive.  It's raising upper class kids that's expensive."

turketron

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2021, 08:33:03 AM »
Has anyone done in-home daycare? Our first kid is due in July, my brother and his wife have their first due in May, and another friend couple is on the adoption list so they could be getting a baby any day. We all live within half a mile of each other so we're considering an in-home nanny share setup.  A family member has worked as an in-home nanny in the past and recommended using Care.com, are there other websites we should search on as well?

joe189man

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2021, 09:19:00 AM »
the greatest costs in the first two years were not monetary (or weren’t direct).  I didn’t appreciate just how much loss of sleep, loss of time, loss of willpower there would be during those months,

I can't echo this enough, create systems to reduce complexity and streamline home and food processes so that they are on autopilot once the baby arrives, i couldnt believe how tired i was and having to go to work that tired is unreal

joe189man

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2021, 09:23:58 AM »
Has anyone done in-home daycare? Our first kid is due in July, my brother and his wife have their first due in May, and another friend couple is on the adoption list so they could be getting a baby any day. We all live within half a mile of each other so we're considering an in-home nanny share setup.  A family member has worked as an in-home nanny in the past and recommended using Care.com, are there other websites we should search on as well?

i would advise caution, my mom worked both in a daycare facility and at a home daycare, she noted, in her case, the home daycare was not great as far as conditions and educational options. The home daycare usually had the TV on all day, every day. YMMV but i would recommend doing your due diligence for any home daycare options you explore. Are they licensed, CPR trained, any training or continuing education requirements, etc

v8rx7guy

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2021, 09:31:48 AM »
I would say your estimate for clothes is a little high, but it could easily get to that if you're buying new stuff all the time.  As others have mentioned baby clothes are everywhere!  Start  thinking about friends/family that are done having kids that you can buy the entire lot of clothes for the next 4 years for $50 and they'll probably offer it for free.

We did cloth diapering and I am actually surprised that my wife stuck with it through 3 boys (she is a SAHM though, so that helps).  I don't have concrete evidence, but I would say that the majority of people give up on it within the first six months even with the best of intentions.  Really make sure you want to do it... think about spraying poop off of 3 diapers into a toilet every single day for the next 3 years or so.  If you're doing daycare, they may not even allow it.

Is your wife going to have a baby shower thrown for her?  If so, that can be an excellent way to obtain a lot of the important big ticket items like car seat, crib, swing, changing table, etc.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2021, 09:33:29 AM by v8rx7guy »

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2021, 11:37:42 AM »
Local social media "for sale" groups are usually chock full of things like clothes/shoes/etc for way less than new. We've gotten name brand shoes that were never worn for 15% of what they'd cost new.

We avoided specific baby food too. Baby pretty much ate what we did, just smashed up. Before the baby came, we pureed a bunch of fruits and veggies and froze them in ice cube trays to be reheated on the spot too. Boom, home made baby food with no preservatives or other things, and the cost per serving was far lower too.

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2021, 12:31:49 PM »
Daycare is the largest expense by far, and we've paid in the $1600 to $1800 range per kid per month across home daycares and centers.  Definitely find out about this sooner rather than later - it can have a big effect on your plans.  But remember childcare is temporary - costs go down substantially once they are school age.

Our other big cost was healthcare - going from a single plan (we each hand our own) to a family plan and family deductible has added several thousand dollars a year.

The thing I didn't plan for was additional furniture - we've added furniture in their play area and gone through a series of cribs and beds.  They're one time expenses (and their current bunk beds were off buy nothing) but it's an expense nonetheless.

I would encourage used for almost all your gear, and try your local buy nothing group to see if you can get stuff for free.  Babies don't use stuff for very long, and lots of parents are eager to get stuff out of the house when it's outgrown.

We only just got off the hand me down train at 4 and almost 6.  We don't know any little boys and DD passed her older best friend in sizes.  But I've had luck buying a bag of random clothes all one size off Facebook Marketplace.  It's hit or miss, but it's cheap.  DD did need uniforms for Pre-K starting at 4 and we did have to pay full price for those.

We did cloth diapers until we moved to a daycare that wouldn't do them.  It saved a lot of money and I think it's preferable environmentally as well.  But it wasn't worth it to us to keep it up part time, and DS was already 2.5 and almost ready to potty train when we switched to disposables.

As others have stated, a lot of this is a "spend what you choose to spend" situation.  We were pretty moderate about things like toys and that's kept costs (and clutter) down.

Best wishes in this new phase of your life.

LiveLean

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2021, 01:14:31 PM »
We have two teenagers. Before kids were born, I did what you were doing. Spreadsheets. Budgeting, etc. I remember talking with a friend with teenagers and wondering how we were going to pay for it all.

He smiled. "The money works itself out," he said. "You have to start thinking in terms of time."

Truer words were never spoken. That and avoid daycare. Reconfigure your careers so you can raise your kids, not daycare. Find ways to work at home or on off hours. My wife became a teacher so she'd work when they were at school, home when they were home. I pivoted from a high-travel, high-profile career to one where I could work from home.

When did daycare become a given? Sort of like car loans, student loans, etc. It doesn't have to be.

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2021, 03:59:56 PM »
We have two teenagers. Before kids were born, I did what you were doing. Spreadsheets. Budgeting, etc. I remember talking with a friend with teenagers and wondering how we were going to pay for it all.

He smiled. "The money works itself out," he said. "You have to start thinking in terms of time."

Truer words were never spoken. That and avoid daycare. Reconfigure your careers so you can raise your kids, not daycare. Find ways to work at home or on off hours. My wife became a teacher so she'd work when they were at school, home when they were home. I pivoted from a high-travel, high-profile career to one where I could work from home.

When did daycare become a given? Sort of like car loans, student loans, etc. It doesn't have to be.

Interesting perspective - I’ll push back somewhat.  We did without daycare for over a year - first by choice and then because of the pandemic. We realized we preferred having our child in daycare, even though it wasn’t (strictly speaking) a necessity.

Good daycare can be far more than simply someone watching your kid while you work. For us it’s important for her socialization (our daughter is an only child) as well as general development. Of course some parents prefer to do this without daycare, much as some parents prefer homeschooling their children.  Different approaches for different folks.  But after watching all that my daughter gains from being in such an environment, and realizing we struggle to give her that level of socialization we made the choice that it’s in our family’s best interest.  I am certain my daughter would be worse off if we pulled her out of daycare (again).  If that ever changes we’ll make the adjustment.  Each family has to figure that out on their own.

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2021, 04:26:28 PM »
We have two teenagers. Before kids were born, I did what you were doing. Spreadsheets. Budgeting, etc. I remember talking with a friend with teenagers and wondering how we were going to pay for it all.

He smiled. "The money works itself out," he said. "You have to start thinking in terms of time."

Truer words were never spoken. That and avoid daycare. Reconfigure your careers so you can raise your kids, not daycare. Find ways to work at home or on off hours. My wife became a teacher so she'd work when they were at school, home when they were home. I pivoted from a high-travel, high-profile career to one where I could work from home.

When did daycare become a given? Sort of like car loans, student loans, etc. It doesn't have to be.

Like @nereo, I'll challenge this a bit. Everyone should make their own determinations. My husband & I both have successful careers & are high paid earners. We used daycare when our kids are little, which is giving us the financial freedom to do things like: take a sabbatical, FIRE early when the kids are in high school,, etc. To each their own on what works best for their family, but I'd prefer more time with my kids as they get older, vs as infants. I'd encourage everyone to take a much longer term family & financial perspective than just the first few years.

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2021, 01:36:03 PM »
Wow, those are some expensive daycares. We've paid between $650 - $800 /month for our daycare (in-home and dedicated ones). When my wife went back to work we did pay for a nanny for the first 6 months, which was expensive enough it pretty much nulled out my wife's salary for that time, but it's hard to find daycares that take babies and we didn't feel particularly comfortable with sending him off when he was that young, either.  I agree you definitely have to check out in-home daycares but we found several we were comfortable were not "put kids in front of TV the whole day" kind of places. You can usually get a feel for what their priorities are if you visit.

I also want to push back on the "why daycare" question. We wanted our kid to spend his days in a setting with other kids, because of the socialization aspect, regardless of whether or not one of us could stay at home. Not everyone will be able to stay sane staying home with kids all day either... ;-)


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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2021, 09:59:35 PM »
Yes, you need to think of this as two buckets, childcare and other.  Childcare varies wildly by location and what you choose for your family (nanny, nanny share, in home, daycare center, parents reducing income by reconfiguring careers, au pair, preschool).

For non-childcare costs, I've spent $200/mo on average this year so far on diapers, clothes, toys, any other needs. No major "gear" purchases.  Last year it was about $250/month, and that includes an unnecessarily higher end car seat (~$400).  With the pandemic, I've been less frugal than usual on toys since we've had many periods of a toddler at home trying to work.  I do get a decent portion of kidsclothes used (mostly for environmental reasons), use buy nothing groups... but also sometimes buy things that are not needed.  So, you could definitely spend less.  This doesn't include food costs because that is harder to separate out.   Once diapers go away, this number should drop about $50/mo. 

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2021, 06:03:40 AM »
Yes, it's really child care + everything else.

The 'stuff' category increases with age. I have three kids (ages 5, 2, and 4 months) and spend about $200/month on random kid stuff, and more and more of this will be clothes for our 5 year old since used clothes dry up at his age. About $50/mo of that is diapers (the baby is in cloth diapers most of the time) and the rest is a smorgasbord. This month it includes diapers for the baby, pullups for the toddler, Easter basket stuff, a backpack for summer camp/Kindergarten this fall, an extra twin fitted sheet for one of their beds, a prescription cream for the baby, a second hand hoodie for my oldest, and finally $50!!! on a pair of sneakers for my 5 year old.

I'm pretty minimalist and get a lot of stuff for them through hand me downs and our local buy nothing group, but every week someone needs SOMETHING. We're hoping to start camping this year with them, and we already have tents that will probably work, but only my 5 year old has a sleeping bag, and neither of them have kid-sized camp chairs. None of these things are really necessities, but they make some experiences a lot more enjoyable. In the near future, I'll also need to get my oldest a swimsuit (his rashguard from last year still fits), a new baseball hat (his last one went missing last year), and girl's underwear for my 2 year old (she's been wearing hand-me-down boys underwear, but really boxer briefs don't work with girls pants very well!)

I'm home full-time with them, but we still pay $600/mo for our oldest to go to the local private preschool 3 days a week during the school year. And he'll do three weeks of summer camp, at $290/week, plus swim lessons for the oldest two, which is another couple hundred dollars.

They add about $100 to the grocery bill, not just in what they eat themselves (SO MANY APPLES!) but in HOW I cook and how much more I rely on things like ready-made meals from Costco etc.

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2021, 01:23:35 AM »
1) For our family, the largest expense of raising a preschooler isn't actually an expense, it's the loss of work. We're just not as productive as we were before, we can't take on nearly as much work as we used to.

2) Keep an eye on various tax changes, specifically the dependent care tax credit which covers 50% of expenses for 2021. Watch to see if this is extended.

3) Regarding buying "stuff," I'll echo what others have said: buy nearly everything second-hand. Craigslist, consignment stores, and Buy Nothing groups are your friend. And you don't need as much stuff as you think. First-time parents buy so many things out of fear, probably because that's what we've been conditioned to do as reliable consumers, but your baby will turn out just fine even if you don't have a "diaper bag." Whatever that is.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2021, 01:30:06 AM by jpdx »

jac941

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2021, 04:35:19 PM »
I will echo daycare. So much money. If you forgo daycare, then it’s lost earnings.

The one I don’t see mentioned as much is healthcare. Both premiums but also out of pocket expenses. Plan to pay your out of pocket max for childbirth. And if your child needs NICU - the family out of pocket max. If your child has any ongoing health issues this will continue.

And for twins (which are pretty common these days), double it.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2021, 02:16:40 AM »
Kids can be as expensive or (up to a point) as cheap as you make it.

A friend of mine - pretty self aware guy with a live-in nanny - once remarked to me, "Kids aren't all that expensive.  It's raising upper class kids that's expensive."

I was talking once to a dad whose daughter was the same age as my son when they were both about six months old. He was saying they'd burned through their baby savings faster than they expected, but it wasn't on baby clothes, it was on takeaways and other conveniences. "Turns out the baby's not expensive," he said, "but we parents are."

As a mustachian I have found this to be very true. Our food costs with a newborn are massive because I snack all the time while breastfeeding, we CBA to cook properly so once we've eaten through our freezer meals it's prepared food all the way, and we're so frigging tired we just want something nice. We were prepared for it (mentally) with our second born and just decided to roll with it.

Our eldest is three. Clothes are 50p-£2 an item second hand for us, increasing with age, with coats and shoes being more like £10. We haven't had many free clothes as we're among the first in our group to have kids.

Toy expenses have been truly minimal, as my parents had a load of our old stuff in their attic and birthdays and Christmas have brought many presents. We try to ask for books and clothes for them instead. I've bought the odd specific toy that I think they'll really like, but always second hand and only two or three things a year.

However, although in principle I support libraries, I have found buying books to own has been much better. We have a great collection of board books and picture books, and are starting to get into treasuries of illustrated short stories (like Brambly Hedge). They go through fads of wanting the same thing every night, and while our library's selection isn't terrible, I often want to seek out particular classic books or books that have been recommended to us. However, we buy them second hand and ask for them for birthdays/Christmas, so we haven't paid full retail price for many. I bought a NEW one the other day and it felt so shiny and decadent!

We're in the UK so healthcare is free but holy crap we have spent a lot of money on Calpol.

Aldi make the cheapest nappies and wipes in the UK. Start at the cheapest price point and move up if necessary. It never was for us. We managed daytime cloth with our second from approx 4months onwards, but it was the straw that broke the camel's back with our first.

Our kids have never been in daycare/nursery. We never could have afforded it.

norajean

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2021, 06:10:41 AM »
Unless you or your wife can work from home, the expense of daycare is that one of you will need to take a career pause to raise your kids.  You can not put kids in day care and have strangers raise them.  There may be no point in having kids if this is your plan.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2021, 07:22:51 AM »
Unless you or your wife can work from home, the expense of daycare is that one of you will need to take a career pause to raise your kids.  You can not put kids in day care and have strangers raise them.  There may be no point in having kids if this is your plan.

I am very pro SAHPs, but even I think this probably violates forum rule 1 for its jerk quotient.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #27 on: May 12, 2021, 07:33:57 AM »
...pulling this train back on the rails...

Echoing others, Daycare is far and away the biggest expense. But as others have said, it's highly variable.

I 100% would recommend to start calling local daycare centers around you to get an idea of pricing. And if your area is like mine, then you need to sign up ASAP after you find out you are pregnant, because they almost all have waitlists.

My son finally got off of the waitlist of our 2nd choice daycare when he was 2 years old. The word insanity doesn't even begin to describe it...

nereo

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2021, 07:38:56 AM »
Unless you or your wife can work from home, the expense of daycare is that one of you will need to take a career pause to raise your kids.  You can not put kids in day care and have strangers raise them.  There may be no point in having kids if this is your plan.

We have our daughter in day care, after I took a year-long break to be the SAHP.  I'd stress that we do not have "strangers" raising our kids.  We know who her teachers are, and we are in daily communication. We work *together* on her social development.  While her daycare teachers serve an important role in her upbringing, we remain the dominant caregivers in her life (she is in daycare for ~40 hours/week; we are her caregivers for the remaining ~51 hours of 'waking hours', plus the ones on 24/7 call).

Suggesting that day care equates to abdicating your parental role and influence to complete strangers is simply false. Further, we've found great value in our daycare vs. when I was the SAHP, as they have resources and experience that we do not. Finally, the routine interactions with other children her age has been very important to us and to our daughter.

Lucky Recardito

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #29 on: June 03, 2021, 09:49:45 AM »
I'm a little late to the party, but in idle scrolling mode this morning...

Lots of good thoughts in the thread above (particularly +1 to the notes about spending more on parents' needs/conveniences, as well as furniture/home goods) -- one thing I didn't see mentioned that I've actually seen make an impact on our budget is increased utility costs. Our electricity & water usage have both gone up. Not hugely, but noticeably. Maybe 20% or so, though it's been a slow creep over the past 2 years. Some of this is due to having everyone home during COVID, but some of it's also because we now run the dishwasher every day (instead of a couple of times a week); we have 2-3 additional loads of laundry every week; we run a bath every night (don't fill the tub all the way, but still); during hot weather we fill up the wading pool or turn on a sprinkler in the back yard for amusement...

It feels like sort of a secret cost, but it's there!

BuffaloStache

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2021, 09:38:42 AM »
^ Great point, @Lucky Recardito . In my family's case it seemed as though these costs were mostly 'offset' by the savings we gained from going out to eat, expensive social events, etc. as often, but that's out specific case.

We still do social things and see people, but since having kids we generally do something that is cheaper per event (like going to the Zoo, which is cheap per-trip if you buy a membership) -vs- our pre-kid lives (dinner + movie, tapas, Happy Hours, etc.). My guess is that this will change as my kids get older, but it'll hold true at least for the first 2-5 years.

la Condessa

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2021, 12:12:06 PM »
This varies wildly, based on your chosen lifestyle and whether you have only one or multiple kids.

If you are using paid childcare, that expense is going to be massive.  If a parent or other family member is caring for them, no cost.

If you have one child, you are paying for the bassinet, crib, car seat, booster seat, clothing for every age, and getting one child’s use out of them.  These costs don’t change dramatically for two or three preschoolers, one after another, vs. just one. 

For clothes, you will need most of another wardrobe for two genders (excepting some of the more expensive items, like snow coats, snow bibs, and shoes, which can often be gender-neutral for little kids).  Little kid clothes in great condition are easy to find at thrift stores, because kids at that age grow out of their clothes before wearing them out.  Often mom friends will pass hand-me-downs back and forth to each other for a lot of savings.  Up through about the age of five or six, I budgeted $10/month times the number of kids for their clothes.  It would have to be more with only one kid, though.  After that, they grow more slowly, wear out their clothes more before passing them down to the next kid, and good thrift store finds are therefore harder to come by.

If you cook at home, you can easily feed a preschooler on $100 per month without stretching at all, less by exercising some minimal frugality.

Preschool is expensive.  Preschool activities at home are extremely cheap.  When I was homeschooling at the preschool/Kindergarten/1st grade level I budgeted $10/month for all four.  Lessons are expensive.  I acquired their fractional size violins from shopgoodwill.com for about $60-$70 per violin size (roughly 6 months to a year per size at that age), they passed hand-me-down violins down like clothes, and that was the cost of their music lessons.  I taught my preschoolers violin, and also a friend’s preschoolers in a barter for some lessons in my friend’s expertise for my older daughter.

Disposable diapers are expensive.  The cheapest kind from the cheapest source was about $30/month, more when they are an infant and go through more diapers, or if they are big for their age and need the upper sizes before potty training because the larger ones are more expensive.  Pull-ups are a waste of money.  Unless you fasten them too tightly, potty trainers can pull a disposable diaper up and down just as easily as a pull-up, and they are way less expensive.  High-quality, easy-to-use modern cloth diapers are spendy, but still a great savings over disposable.  Cloth diapers used for subsequent children are a massive savings over disposable.

 So when we had four kids ages 1.5, 3, almost 5, and 6, we were spending about $200/month/child.  We were lucky in that the family plan rate at my husband’s government job was only $100 more per month, so $25 more per kid.  We used some cloth diapers at home, but disposable about 2/3 of the time.  We ate food cooked at home, but were not extreme in our food frugality.  Utilities are really only a small difference.  Their little clothes at that age don’t take nearly as many loads to wash a full wardrobe as when they are older, and giving a little one a bubble bath in the kitchen sink really doesn’t use all that much hot water. 

I found it very easy to spend dramatically less than average estimates for child rearing.


ETA: It probably helped keep costs down that we lived in the back end of beyond.  There were no expensive family activities to forgo.  There was no zoo, no pool, etc.  There was story time at the public library (free), and there was the great outdoors.  So we went swimming in the mountain streams and the lagoons at the beaches and we went hiking and clam digging and beach combing and blackberry picking in the woods and we got together with friends at the park and we went to the library.  A Christmas tree cost $5 for a permit to cut one yourself from public land.  There was nothing to spend money on.  There wasn’t even a drive-through restaurant or a movie theater in our little town.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2021, 12:26:01 PM by la Condessa »

shelivesthedream

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2021, 01:19:47 PM »
Quote
For clothes, you will need most of another wardrobe for two genders

Specifically for birth to preschool, I don't think this is true. We have bought zero clothes for #2, a girl, so far. She is in her brother's hand-me-downs and some presents we have received. Clearly it will become true at some point that it will be weird to put her in big bro's clothes, but not for the first few years. We have deliberately purchased with an eye to gender neutrality, and I tend towards blues as a colour choice for all clothes I buy for any family member anyway!

However, we have just kitted out #1 in age 3-4 and it is MUCH more expensive to buy second hand clothes than in previous sizes. It's clearly a shelf where stuff gets worn long enough to be worn out Vs grown out. #1 wore through some of his 2-3 trousers, although we were at least the second owners. Annoyingly, very few of the holes were low enough to cut them into shorts for #2 when the time comes!

Kid #2 has been very cheap so far, and kid #3 will be even cheaper as he/she will be in hand-me-down cloth nappies from #2 after a few months. All we need is a third Tripp Trapp chair and snowsuits in sizes 0-6m because it's a different season baby from #1 and #2. Even putting all three in one bath to save on utilities ;)

But really, we continue to practice stealth kid frugality because we really believe in all the stuff we do for other reasons. Saving money goes hand in hand with stuff like buying second hand to save landfill and resources; minimising toys to avoid consumerist mindset and develop healthy philosophy of life; no daycare because we enjoy having a SAHP; few activities to avoid stressful overscheduling.

I'm sure we come across as slightly alternative types rather than money savers. Some stuff will change as our kids grow up - I'm sure they'll be interested in taking some classes, while right now we're only looking at nursery places for September that will be 100% free for us. (UK gov gives 15h a week "free" childcare for 3yo but many places charge for "extras". For us nursery is a social activity, not a necessity, so want to get as close to £0 out of pocket as possible.) This is a great example of children costing as much as you want to spend. We could pay £200/month for one day a week, or we could pay £0/month. Assume you have agency over how much your small kids cost you until proven otherwise.

And don't create an expectation in your kids that you will then feel obliged to fulfill. When they're this small, you control their norms. Our 3yo does not expect to be bought anything in a shop ever. He asked one time we were in a charity shop if we could take a toy fire engine home. I said it wasn't on our list for today. End of convo. He's never asked again because we don't take him "shopping" ever. He goes to the supermarket once a week (where there is a list). I order clothes and books online. People choose to take their young children to shops and teach them that they can have things if they ask, and that shopping is a recreational activity.

la Condessa

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2021, 01:27:49 PM »
Quote
For clothes, you will need most of another wardrobe for two genders

Specifically for birth to preschool, I don't think this is true. We have bought zero clothes for #2, a girl, so far. She is in her brother's hand-me-downs and some presents we have received. Clearly it will become true at some point that it will be weird to put her in big bro's clothes, but not for the first few years. We have deliberately purchased with an eye to gender neutrality, and I tend towards blues as a colour choice for all clothes I buy for any family member anyway!

I think this works if you have a boy first, or if you plan ahead and go gender-neutral on purpose.  It's much easier to put a baby girl in boy clothes than to put a baby boy in girl clothes.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #34 on: June 14, 2021, 01:52:26 PM »
Quote
For clothes, you will need most of another wardrobe for two genders

Specifically for birth to preschool, I don't think this is true. We have bought zero clothes for #2, a girl, so far. She is in her brother's hand-me-downs and some presents we have received. Clearly it will become true at some point that it will be weird to put her in big bro's clothes, but not for the first few years. We have deliberately purchased with an eye to gender neutrality, and I tend towards blues as a colour choice for all clothes I buy for any family member anyway!

I think this works if you have a boy first, or if you plan ahead and go gender-neutral on purpose.  It's much easier to put a baby girl in boy clothes than to put a baby boy in girl clothes.

I concur. We were lucky to have a boy first. If not, it would have been much more effort to make sure we had clothes that would suit both. Especially as #2 is the first girl on both sides and so ALLLLLLL the repressed grandparental pink has come out!

soulpatchmike

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #35 on: August 04, 2021, 12:08:33 PM »
In my experience, the annual cost of raising a preschooler is...All of it.

Anything you do not purposely put away will be spent on the process of living with and raising your child(ren).  This comes from someone who doesn't have a budget and only actively pursue things that provide me with joy.  I overspend on lots of things and underspend on nearly as many, but when it comes to the kids our life together costs everything I have, every year.

Captain FIRE

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #36 on: August 05, 2021, 08:57:58 AM »
In my experience, the annual cost of raising a preschooler is...All of it.

Anything you do not purposely put away will be spent on the process of living with and raising your child(ren).  This comes from someone who doesn't have a budget and only actively pursue things that provide me with joy.  I overspend on lots of things and underspend on nearly as many, but when it comes to the kids our life together costs everything I have, every year.

Hmm.  Maybe immerse yourself in the forums/blog more to curb that tendency?

We don't budget either and I've definitely overspent for convenience (hello working from home this week while daycare is shut down due to an outbreak...), but I would hope if you're on this forum you would examine and consider your purchases more thoughtfully so as to not spend all of your cash that isn't dedicated to savings.

brellis1vt

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #37 on: August 05, 2021, 11:05:54 AM »
I'm a little late to the party, but in idle scrolling mode this morning...

Lots of good thoughts in the thread above (particularly +1 to the notes about spending more on parents' needs/conveniences, as well as furniture/home goods) -- one thing I didn't see mentioned that I've actually seen make an impact on our budget is increased utility costs. Our electricity & water usage have both gone up. Not hugely, but noticeably. Maybe 20% or so, though it's been a slow creep over the past 2 years. Some of this is due to having everyone home during COVID, but some of it's also because we now run the dishwasher every day (instead of a couple of times a week); we have 2-3 additional loads of laundry every week; we run a bath every night (don't fill the tub all the way, but still); during hot weather we fill up the wading pool or turn on a sprinkler in the back yard for amusement...

It feels like sort of a secret cost, but it's there!

I was going to say there are a whole lot of hidden cost that creep in that are easy to overlook.  Our utilities went up 10-20% (as did our laundry.)  There are lots of things of small things that just add up that you don't necessarily diagnose. I would add $200 to your budget a month just for the unknown cost.  I would also add $200 a month as a contingency for the effects of a tired parent just trying to get sleep (paying for someone to mow, getting a pizza out, etc.)  The first year can turn into survival and you don't care how much you spend in survival mode.  We had 2 colicky babies so during the first 8 months we would buy almost in thing in hopes that it would help: shusser, swings, extra doctors visits, every type of swaddler known to man, breast feeding specialists, babysitters just to sleep, Breastfriend, every type of bottle known to man (once breast feeding failed), organic formula because of the guilt that breast feeding failed.

Your food bill will increase during pregnancy and after they are born.  Make your own baby food it saves a lot but you'll still need some snacks.

It helps to completely understand your health care plan.  Mine is a bad high deductible plan (my company doesn't contribute much to our HSA.)  So my yearly health care cost have gone $3-$4k a year.

Long story short you will still need to maintain a savings through that period but understand it won't look the same as before baby comes.

CNM

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #38 on: August 05, 2021, 12:19:09 PM »
I'll echo what everyone says about child care being the primary cost.  I have a 2.5 year old and both me and my spouse work full time.  We went with an expensive child care option - full time nanny who comes to our home.  We started this at around age 2 months. We pay on the books and we pay $20/hr. and have annual bonuses as well. This is an immense expense but it is very much worth it for us, especially during the pandemic when there was no daycare open but yet my spouse and I still had to work.

The 2.5 year old is very ready to go to preschool and be with other kids and have new experiences.  She will start in September at our local preschool which will cut down the child care costs significantly. 

Our older kid (now 9) had a similar set up when he was preschool aged. He is happy, well adjusted, has hobbies and interests, and appears loves us just like we love him.  He was not "raised by strangers" for god's sake.  Children do not need to be with their parents every moment of every day to have a good relationship with them. 


JJ-

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #39 on: August 05, 2021, 01:14:43 PM »
I'll echo what everyone says about child care being the primary cost.  I have a 2.5 year old and both me and my spouse work full time.  We went with an expensive child care option - full time nanny who comes to our home.  We started this at around age 2 months. We pay on the books and we pay $20/hr. and have annual bonuses as well. This is an immense expense but it is very much worth it for us, especially during the pandemic when there was no daycare open but yet my spouse and I still had to work.

The 2.5 year old is very ready to go to preschool and be with other kids and have new experiences.  She will start in September at our local preschool which will cut down the child care costs significantly. 

Our older kid (now 9) had a similar set up when he was preschool aged. He is happy, well adjusted, has hobbies and interests, and appears loves us just like we love him.  He was not "raised by strangers" for god's sake.  Children do not need to be with their parents every moment of every day to have a good relationship with them.

I can't imagine anything in another category coming close to the spending needed for childcare, at home or in day care. Especially daycare with multiples. Sure, you can spend more on pizza or do extra laundry, housecleaners which maybe gets you to $500 more a month. A nanny or daycare puts you in the thousands of extra a month without introducing lifestyle creep, so when those costs are gone they're gone. It's hard to reign back the other stuff once it becomes "normal".

nereo

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #40 on: August 05, 2021, 01:23:22 PM »
just our experience, but our "household expenses" have gone way DOWN since having a kid. 

I attribute this to two things:
1) Covid (and the self quarinitine)
2) A steep decline in how often we eat out, go to concerts/movies/events and other things which require buying tickets (because we have a toddler)

Of course those two factors are also covariates.


VaCPA

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #41 on: August 05, 2021, 01:27:58 PM »
Wow, people here have really lightened up on child card costs. People jumped down my throat a couple times years ago when I mentioned how much we were paying in a HCOL area($1,200-$1,500/month). Some poster boarder something even called me an idiot for not finding my child care on craigslist and saving tons of $$$ hahaha

I have 3 kids, currently 10,8,5. Yeah, child care sucks but the silver lining is at least it ends eventually. Other than that most costs are pretty manageable. Diapers are expensive, but as those go away other costs go up like food bill as they eat more. Hand me down clothes can be had which is awesome. If you have to buy it there are relatively cheap places to get it, definitely not Carters.

Someone mentioned utilities. Definitely comes into play as the kids get older. Once my boys(10,8) began taking their own showers the water bill definitely went up a bit. They love long hot showers. I didn't really notice a big bump in the preschool years though while we were giving them baths.

If you're lucky maybe you live in a neighborhood/town with lots of families who give stuff away. There's Facebook pages here where people will post things they've giving away or selling cheap. We've gotten a bunch of bikes for free. We try to return the favor and give as much away as we can to declutter the house and get rid of toys/kids stuff that never gets touched anymore.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2021, 01:37:33 PM by VaCPA »

JJ-

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #42 on: August 05, 2021, 03:40:30 PM »
Wow, people here have really lightened up on child card costs. People jumped down my throat a couple times years ago when I mentioned how much we were paying in a HCOL area($1,200-$1,500/month). Some poster boarder something even called me an idiot for not finding my child care on craigslist and saving tons of $$$ hahaha

I have 3 kids, currently 10,8,5. Yeah, child care sucks but the silver lining is at least it ends eventually. Other than that most costs are pretty manageable. Diapers are expensive, but as those go away other costs go up like food bill as they eat more. Hand me down clothes can be had which is awesome. If you have to buy it there are relatively cheap places to get it, definitely not Carters.

Someone mentioned utilities. Definitely comes into play as the kids get older. Once my boys(10,8) began taking their own showers the water bill definitely went up a bit. They love long hot showers. I didn't really notice a big bump in the preschool years though while we were giving them baths.

If you're lucky maybe you live in a neighborhood/town with lots of families who give stuff away. There's Facebook pages here where people will post things they've giving away or selling cheap. We've gotten a bunch of bikes for free. We try to return the favor and give as much away as we can to declutter the house and get rid of toys/kids stuff that never gets touched anymore.

Sorry about the past experience. People come and go, attitudes change. I had no idea personally the reality of childcare costs until we had kids and you're literally stuck with either the dumpster fire you find on craigslist or a nanny in HCOL unless you magically find a place that has an opening. We were incredibly fortunate to find a place both a) nearby and b) with a sliding scale tuition to get us in at ~750/mo/kid, otherwise it would have been something like $1500/mo/kid there. I would have been quite sour to pay the $1500 but knowing it is a temporary thing, even if we had to go into the red to keep our jobs, was the pill to swallow.

Steeze

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #43 on: August 05, 2021, 04:08:20 PM »
DS is 4 months and change. Our spending went up $1000/mo average for the last 6months (2500 to 3500 now). Not including gifts, gift cards, FSA spending that amounts to another ~ $4000. So maybe around $1500/mo  more than usual. I think this should be going back down now though.

I’ll echo other posts that said: it can take a while to get pregnant. It took us 1.5 years of trying. Also, the sleep deprivation is intense. I’m burnt out on pretty much everything. A big chunk of our increased spending is just eating out. We are tired, last thing I want to do is shop, cook, clean.

Allso, didn’t expect breast feeding to be as difficult as it is. The boob/bottle/pump cycle is all consuming. We didn’t have a pump or bottles until the doc said the boy was at risk of being labeled “failure to thrive.” Then the fight to even use the bottles because everything says not to use them if you are exclusively breast feeding. Highly recommend not being married to the idea of exclusive breastfeeding. Have a pump, have bottles, have formula ready to go. Do not hesitate to use them if needed. There is a lot of intense emotions and lack of sleep going on when these decisions are being made. Better to hash that all out ahead of time.

ETA: spending above includes around $3k of medical OOP costs.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2021, 06:49:26 AM by Steeze »

gooki

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #44 on: August 05, 2021, 04:15:24 PM »
$50 per week plus childcare.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #45 on: August 06, 2021, 07:20:53 AM »
@VaCPA - echoing others to say sorry about your past experience. I find that a lot of people who make critical judgement like that around here don't have kids of their own, so they don't understand what it's like. I tend to ignore that viewpoint :-D.

...Also, the sleep deprivation is intense. I’m burnt out on pretty much everything. A big chunk of our increased spending is just eating out. We are tired, last thing I want to do is shop, cook, clean.
I concur with this. Since the day my 1st kid was born, I've been living under what I call "the 75% rule". That is, when you are an involved, present parent, you can only expect to perform at ~75% of your pre-parenting efficiency/execution towards literally anything else in your life. It can be frustrating at first, but once you re-calibrate your expectations it can make you feel better about life and help to celebrate the little victories. Not every day, but several times a month I'll happily exclaim to DW "I had a great day of work- really performed at the full 75% today".

Since it seems like there are some posters here with older kids, I do have a question- do the costs really go down, ever? We pay an exorbitant amount on daycare right now (and feel fortunate to have landed spots in a decently well run daycare that isn't a "CL dumpster-fire" or nanny costs, but it's still pricey), but even when looking into [preschool] + [after-school care options] it seems like the overall costs don't go down that much. I'm just wondering if it's realistic to ever think I can get back to a ~65%+ Savings Rate after having kids?

Finally, and with hindsight, I feel extremely lucky to have discovered this community, paid off all of my major non-house debts, and gotten past the hardest initial part of working towards FI before having kids. I think I would feel even more despondent about retirement (let alone FI/RE) if I had student debt, a car payment, a giant mortgage for a big house I don't really need, etc. while also having all of these child rearing costs...

JJ-

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #46 on: August 06, 2021, 08:57:46 AM »
Finally, and with hindsight, I feel extremely lucky to have discovered this community, paid off all of my major non-house debts, and gotten past the hardest initial part of working towards FI before having kids. I think I would feel even more despondent about retirement (let alone FI/RE) if I had student debt, a car payment, a giant mortgage for a big house I don't really need, etc. while also having all of these child rearing costs...

No joke. I can't even imagine. It was not necessarily hard to start saving and slamming debt before kids, but it was a tradeoff and we did it for "the future." We had about 4-5 years together and me an extra 2 to start down this path before kids, so we were able to put away a significant chunk.

It's allowed us to let compound interest do the heavy lifting while we both make life choices (e.g. me go down to 3/4 time while DW is starting a business) and, while saving less at a "normal" 20% or so, still make ends meet without tapping savings. This place and community have been so helpful to have that financial security.

VaCPA

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #47 on: August 06, 2021, 09:20:36 AM »
Since it seems like there are some posters here with older kids, I do have a question- do the costs really go down, ever? We pay an exorbitant amount on daycare right now (and feel fortunate to have landed spots in a decently well run daycare that isn't a "CL dumpster-fire" or nanny costs, but it's still pricey), but even when looking into [preschool] + [after-school care options] it seems like the overall costs don't go down that much. I'm just wondering if it's realistic to ever think I can get back to a ~65%+ Savings Rate after having kids?
When my kids were very young and I used to lament about how expensive daycare was and how I couldn't wait for them to be school age, I had people tell me the cost doesn't really go down. Because others costs just replace daycare. I could never wrap my head around that. Now, as my youngest is a month from school age, and we've gotten through periods of time having 2 kids in daycare simultaneously I can say our costs are definitely going down. Yes, it is true other costs have gone up like sports/activities. An 8 or 10 year old wants to do far more things that cost $ than a 2 year old. And they eat a little more. But the delta is still way less than paying well over $1,000/mo for daycare or preschool. The people who say their costs didn't decrease maybe weren't spending as much on daycare, perhaps due to family helping out or maybe one of the parents only working PT. We are lucky too because we don't need after-school care because my wife works from home. That is an ongoing cost for alot of dual income households that replaces daycare/preschool. I still think with sound money management people should be able to see a net decrease in expenses.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2021, 09:24:21 AM by VaCPA »

shelivesthedream

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #48 on: August 06, 2021, 09:25:49 AM »
@BuffaloStache If you want a laugh, read the (short) section of Jacob's ERE book on having kids. I think there's a whole thread on the ERE forum too where he weighs in. The only perfect parents are those who haven't had kids yet ;)

nereo

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Re: Annual Costs of Raising a Preschooler?
« Reply #49 on: August 06, 2021, 09:29:51 AM »
Since it seems like there are some posters here with older kids, I do have a question- do the costs really go down, ever? We pay an exorbitant amount on daycare right now (and feel fortunate to have landed spots in a decently well run daycare that isn't a "CL dumpster-fire" or nanny costs, but it's still pricey), but even when looking into [preschool] + [after-school care options] it seems like the overall costs don't go down that much. I'm just wondering if it's realistic to ever think I can get back to a ~65%+ Savings Rate after having kids?
When my kids were very young and I used to lament about how expensive daycare was and how I couldn't wait for them to be school age, I had people tell me the cost doesn't really go down. Because others costs just replace daycare. I could never wrap my head around that. Now, as my youngest is a month from school age, and we've gotten through periods of time having 2 kids in daycare simultaneously I can say our costs are definitely going down. Yes, it is true other costs have gone up like sports/activities. An 8 or 10 year old wants to do far more things that cost $ than a 2 year old. And they eat a little more. But the delta is still way less than paying well over $1,000/mo for daycare or preschool. The people who say their costs didn't decrease maybe weren't spending as much on daycare, perhaps due to family helping out or maybe one of the parents only working PT. We are lucky too because we don't need after-school care because my wife works from home. That is an ongoing cost for alot of dual income households that replaces daycare/preschool. I still think with sound money management people should be able to see a net decrease in expenses.

Or they get into expensive activities, like travel-sports at a competitive level. We did that as a kid and now my niece is on two club teams where the monthly costs exceeds our daycare expenses.  But I’ve got two cousins with similar-aged children and both report they budget around $300/mo for ‘activities’.

Daycare is pretty inescapable for those who work and don’t have someone willing to watch your child for free.  Once the kids are 5+ it’s more discretionary spending.