Author Topic: Having children has made us more Mustachian ... what about you?  (Read 2573 times)

Southern Stashian

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Having children has made us more Mustachian ... what about you?
« on: December 28, 2012, 11:19:17 AM »
I was commenting on another post here in the forums and started to think about the expenses of a child. When looking back, I remember the initial struggles of starting our family ten years ago with our first born. Over the last ten years, we have spent almost $160k on childcare alone (the price of a couple of income generating rental properties), not to mention food, diapers, healthcare, doctors visits and the like. At one point we were paying almost $500 per week in childcare for the three, so obviously some expenses had to be cut dramatically.

We are now looking at a childcare bill of @ $10k per year for the three, which will be cut in half in 2013 and disappear in the fall of 2014. We have made major life changes to be able to make our commitments for our children, trimmed back our expenses, paid off all of our debts, avoided credit card debt and saved a considerable amount of our income. Additionally, in 2005 we sold a property and paid for a majority of our children's college tuitions, so we are not overly concerned about excessive college expenses in the future.

In the next two years we will have an additional $5k (2013), $7k (2014) and then $10k per year (2015 on) for investing coming from a decrease in child care expenses. These excess funds will be most likely used to purchase a few income generating rentals, as our primary mortgage and investment property will be paid off in the next two years. Looking back having children has made us get real with our finances, trim out the unnecessary spending and in the end, combined with this Mustachian way of life has enabled us to be in a really good position throughout our upcoming 40's with virtually no debt and excess funds available for saving / investing.

It's funny to see some of those around me just starting out with their young families, struggling in their own ways. Looking back I would not have wanted it any other way. I tell them that children can either make you broke or make you rich, but the choice is up to them. Anyone else feel the same way???

MountainFlower

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Re: Having children has made us more Mustachian ... what about you?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2012, 10:12:13 PM »
I would say no, having children did not make us more mustachian.  Actually, the opposite.  I had my first at 39 and I think that it completely sideswiped me.  I was more set in my ways than I realized.  I know I freaked out and spent more money than I needed to in an attempt to make it easier.  Alas, all that was required was for me to relax and enjoy the experience.  I did, eventually, figure that out. 

Also, we really couldn't afford a second child (daycare costs) due to a homebuilding project that sort of went off the rails and the crash in the housing market.  However, at 40 and 47 we couldn't wait around until we could afford a second due to age.  We made a conscious decision to go into debt for a second child.  We're paying it off now.  I don't regret it for a minute, but obviously, the answer to your question for us is no.

It's funny that you mention the income generating properties.  I like to joke that childcare is like having a vacation home without having the vacation home.  In other words, it costs the same as a second mortgage.  I'd pay double if I had to.  It's so worth it. 

What I like about MMM is that he has a child.  So many PF writers don't. 

5inatrailer

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Re: Having children has made us more Mustachian ... what about you?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2013, 12:50:34 PM »
It was a part of our lifestyle makeover. A large part for sure.

I gave my 2 weeks notice I was leaving my $85k/year job for a $50k/year job because it offered an awesome quality of life. The next day we found out we were pregnant with our third child!

And when MrsTrailer went on maternity leave, we lost another 30k in actual take home dollars. I worked 3 jobs to stay afloat as we slowly learned how to reduce our bills. We learned to like shopping at 2nd hand stores, always looked at alternatives before buying anything, cut cable bills, phone bills, mortgage bills, internet bills, satellite radio bills because those luxuries were no longer affordable. And now I've learned, they are no longer necessary (nor were they ever)

I truely feel that the last few years have been an education on life and finances.  We learned the value of a dollar, and examined what truely made us happy. I can honestly say that my life is 100% better since quitting the higher paying job.  I know we will come out financially ahead becuase of the the financial lessons we learned even though I gave up about $80,000 of lost salary.

Now that Mrs Trailer is going back to work, and my wage is moving up the grid, we are saving money like never before. We are trying to avoid the lifestyle creep (It takes 2 paychecks to get used to the new spending available...?) and focusing on what is truly important.

I don't mind spending money on family activities (the pool is a big hit) because it's money well spent. The kids keep us so busy (3 under 5 years old) that it's brutal to shop anyway.  I went to a new department store in West Edmonton Mall and it was literally a culture shock for me. I hadn't been to a fancy store in years...

So long story short, having kids hastens wisdom, even financial wisdom.
If I knew then what I know now...

WhatMomWears

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Re: Having children has made us more Mustachian ... what about you?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 09:09:02 PM »
It didn't me for the first 3 years - I'm working on reversing past trends. The desire for my long-waited-for son to have EVERYTHING was overwhelming and I just went for it.
When all he really wants is just to be with me. I still have to stop myself from buying things for him. :/ I've formed a pretty bad habit, I can justify anything for him.

Viv A. Stache

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Re: Having children has made us more Mustachian ... what about you?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2013, 11:42:58 AM »
Absolutely it was. We spend more time at home, we cook more, we quit smoking before trying to get pregnant, the list goes on. The biggest thing though, is my desire to be home more, which led to getting serious about paying off bills and not acquiring new debt. We want to be responsible adults who live in a paid off home in a good neighborhood with decent schools for her, rather than spend all of our time and energy earning and spending increasing amounts of money.