June 13, 2011

Children are Expensive

One thing I noticed about becoming a parent is that there is a constant flow of "expenses" from the moment you get pregnant with the first baby (lab fees, co-pays). You and the people who loves you buy the stroller, the car seat, clothes, diapers, wipes, toiletries, baby formula (if you weren't nursing - thank goodness I did even just for 15 months), baby bottles, toys, swings, etc. And just when you thought you had "just enough," you realize you need to buy a new batch of diapers (or onesies or any other clothing item) one size bigger. Next thing you know, you're changing your baby bottles to a set of sippy cups. There really seems to be not enough for the little kiddo while he is "growing" because you keep changing things -- diaper sizes, clothes, car seats, etc. Okay, the bed too. But anyway, you get my point. Having kids is expensive (even though they really are priceless children of God).

(Photo grabbed from Google images)
But my term of "expensive" in this one is not the kind where you always have to buy brand new things. What I meant is that having children will affect your income in a way that it will be a constant disbursement of money from the household income - but it doesn't have to be the kind of expenses where it puts a big hole in your pocket(s).

Not to brag or anything, but what I've liked about our lifestyle (me and my husband's) is that even though we do want some new things every now and then (new computer, new phones, new tv, new etc...) we usually are content with used things or just what we have. Sure every once in a while we'll buy something new but we usually are fine with what we have. I can't believe that we have survived three years of our marriage without cable TV.

The same thing goes when it comes to our son. Lately I've only been shopping at a hand-me-down children's store and it ALWAYS make me happy that I got some new "used" clothes for my son that fit him (except for the last batch of 24 months size that I bought - I think they shrank even before they got to the store). I can almost always buy 5 pairs of clothes for under $20 bucks and they always look new - well at least I pick the ones that are still in great condition. He wouldn't care (at least while he's still not a teenager) if his newly bought clothes are hand-me-downs. As long as we could provide his basic needs for him, we're happy. It doesn't have to be brand new - or branded (though I love Carter's... hehe). Once in a blue moon we would go to Walmart and buy a pair of new clothing for under $10 bucks.

I think it is also important to know where you can save more money even though you have to buy some brand-new things (like diapers and diaper wipes). I love Amazon Prime. Not only do they always have a two-day FREE shipping, but we just love seeing the ratings first before we buy anything. That website is also what we use to buy our diapers and wipes. My accountant husband actually did the math first (per diaper and wipes) before deciding which brand is best to purchase. We also compare prices at different brick-and-mortar stores for the items that we need to buy new. Bottom line is, it pays at least a few more savings if we spend more time "researching" online where the best deals are.

Even though we try to live a simple life, there are some things that we do want to buy brand-new, like gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Sometimes it is for safety reasons. Like a car seat for one. There are just certain things in life that you can't risk buying used, you know.

I think it is a good training for us as a couple (and as individuals) to be satisfied with what we have and do our best (we still have a lot of room for improvement) to live within our means - especially knowing the fact that we are a one-income family. I think it (living within our means) is also a good training for our son and our future additional children in a way that they will know that they are not always entitled to have every nice things in the world... especially nowadays when most of us think and feel that we are entitled to have everything - and fast! I want my children to know for themselves that life can throw them simple things and everything is still all right.

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