Why is starting a family expensive?
Sometimes I think that people can start a family on a shoe string budget and be fine. But then I think about how much we spend as a family of 6 and it really amazes me, in a bad way. I am always shocked at the end of the month when I go through the budget and see what was spent where because I never feel like I actually bought anything (except groceries)! This doesn’t even include the thousands of dollars a month we pay in child support or the thousands we have to pay our lawyers to keep defending us.
Necessities start to add up when you have more than one person who needs them. Things like tooth paste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, socks, soap, q tips, you know what falls in this category. These things can get expensive because you have to buy enough for everyone. For example if we buy socks for the family we have to buy 2 packs per person and each pack is $7-$12. That is easily $120 JUST FOR SOCKS! If you are a parent you know the struggle is real with socks. They disappear and it’s usually impossible to find the other pair, so buying socks is a regular thing for families. Children grow quickly so we are constantly buying new clothes to keep up. We frequent Goodwill and believe strongly that hand-me-downs are a healthy part of growing up, but it still gets expensive. Kids wear through a good pair of shoes in 4 months – there’s another $200 or more for everyone. Now we go to medicines, doctors appointments, dental appointments, school, day-care, sports, these things can get extremely expensive (especially in our particular situation). I’m not even beginning to scratch the surface of the expenses. We still have household items like cleaning supplies, toilet paper (we go through a lot), paper towels, dishware, furniture, bedding, laundry detergent to clean mountains of laundry, tissues, the list goes on. And who can say no to the nifty baby gadgets that line the aisles claiming to make your life easier?
Obviously you’ll need a larger home which will raise your utilities. You’ll have to furnish this larger home and keep it clean (relatively). You need a car that fits your family and insurance to go with it. Expenses start to increase until you look back and think “WOW, we really spend this much every month?!” Oh and FOOD! We rarely eat out because it’s easily $100/meal so we buy a lot of groceries. I have to go grocery shopping more than once a week to keep our house stocked. Cooking healthy meals should be a priority so that means shopping regularly for non-processed foods. It pains me every time we give in and eat out because I know we just spent $100 on a meal that probably cost $20 to make. A family of 6 goes through a ton of food every week – even more the older your children are.
Once your bases are covered with day to day living expenses THEN you can think about vacations, presents, family outings, college funds, and savings if there’s anything left. It’s no wonder why the average American has collected debt. Living is expensive. Especially if you have to provide a life for your children….and our 120lb Rottweiler.
Like I mentioned before, we rarely eat out to save money. We use cloth diapers and re-usable baby wipes for the majority of the diapering. We go camping for vacations and take picnics in parks. Clothing gets passed down when it doesn’t fit anymore. We shop for items on sale whenever possible. We try to not be wasteful with our resources. Shopping at thrift stores for clothing, especially on a 50% off day. Find discounted family fun on Groupon to save some money. Sometimes Groupon runs a 20% off sale that I combine with Ebates to get up to 26% off the cost. Cutting costs is really part of my full time job as parents. We can’t afford everything we want but we do pretty good balancing the books. It’s just something you have to be aware of every time you pull out your wallet.