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How can anyone afford to have kids?

July 15th, 2009 / 5 Comments

While chatting with my mechanic, he mentioned being married for just a couple of years.

“Any kids?” I asked.

“No, we can’t afford them,” he replied.

Do kids costs that much?

In an affluent and commercialized society, we are bombarded by ads for $500 strollers, $50 infant outfits, $5 a jar of “organic” baby food.

At those prices, no one can afford to have kids. But with the advent of  Craigslist, along with hand-me-downs and thrift stores, kids are very affordable.

Here I am, talking like my mechanic about having kids as if it was on the same scale as buying a house. “We can’t afford them right now, but let’s start saving up and in a few years, we can even get a sibling!”

“But what about college education?”

Megan Francis wrote an excellent post about the cost of college education. With 4 kids, she is often asked, “How are  you going to pay for their college education?”

Remember, kids are not like pets that we continually have to feed, clean, and keep in a pen. We are parenting our children to grow up to be successful adults. If by age 18 they are not ready or able to get a job and scholarship to pay for at least a portion of their own college expenses…well, that’s where the problem lies, not in the size of our bank account.

Having kids is not to be taken lightly. But if we keep our focus on Parenting – not on buying what commercials entice us to – then money is not going to be your biggest concern.

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  1. I agree with the idea that kids don’t have to be expensive, but I also think it is my responsibility to help my children pay for the INSANE cost of college. This has a lot to do, I think, with how much parents value education. My parents always put education first and were able to pay for my entire college education. This allowed me to graduate without debt and since my parents saved wisely (and are very frugal) they don’t have any resulting debt either. I am extremely grateful since, being a debt-free graduate has put me way ahead of my peers in terms of career opportunities. I can take the lower paying, but strategically better, job because I don’t have loans to pay off.

  2. Well, good for you. But sometimes parenting is not for everyone. There are some couples that decided to be childless and it’s perfectly fine. I’m in that group too. Sometimes it annoys me when people give me “that look” when I told them about our decision.

  3. Z, I too was blessed to have parents who paid for my education. And I went to a State school that didn’t cost that much. There are many alternatives to fund a college education.

    Nobody, you are right, not everyone should have kids. It’s good that you know what you want or don’t want, rather than having kids without serious consideration.

    On the flip side is someone like Megan Francis that I linked to in this post. She has 4 kids, and people give her “that look”.

  4. I blog about baby budgeting. Kids do cost a fortune but if we are creative, resourceful and community minded i do believe we can affor dmore time with them, Check out my blog at

  5. where i live people assume their kids will go away to university and that it is important for them to experience this. My children will not be moving away from home for school unless they win scholarships-we will never be able to afford to send all five away to university and pay room and board. i know a ton of people who went away to school and partied so much that they flunked out. not everyone needs to move out for school, and if you pay for it and are accountable for the funds, it is much more appreciated in my opinion!


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