10 Ways Having Kids Saved Me Money

by Tracy · 18 comments


Last week, my fellow MoneyNing writer Vered wrote an article exploring the high costs of raising kids. As the mom of five kids, I know first hand just how much kids cost, but it’s not all doom and gloom. In many ways my husband and I spend less now than we did when it was just the two of us. But how? Let me tell you…

  1. Until the youngest one stopped sticking french fries up his nose, we dared not even attempt to eat at any restaurant that didn’t have a clown in its logo.
  2. Nights spent sipping the finest champagne in dark, smoky clubs held zero appeal after the first time trying to take care of a baby while nursing our own hangovers.
  3. Once you realize you are going to have to slipcover anything that comes into your house, why not just do your furniture shopping at the curb?
  4. When buying clothes I stopped asking “What is new and fabulous at Anthropologie?” and started asking “Can I breastfeed in public in this top without causing a commotion? What color fabric best hides sticky hand-prints?” Turns out navy blue sweatsuits are both cheap and functional. Who knew?
  5. As for my husband…Out: package deals to Formula One races. In: staying at home with the kids on the weekend so wife can go to the grocery store and maybe, just maybe, get some peace and quiet.
  6. Once you give in to the idea that they will only eat Cheerios, plain chicken and plain green beans, you can buy pallets direct from the factory for big, big savings.
  7. No need to pay for a pricey gym membership when you can get your exercise by walking a 15 lb baby around in circles for 2 hours every night. Bonus: if he or she likes to play airplane, you can develop some massive guns in no time.
  8. Before vacations included jetting off to a foreign country for gourmet meals and power shopping. Now, it’s leaving the kids with grandma so that you can sneak off to the Comfort Inn for a power nap on sheets that don’t have goldfish crumbs ground in them.
  9. Entertainment costs drastically reduced as they are not only happy with watching the same Dora video over and over again, they downright insist upon it.
  10. Once the kids start hitting preschool, you will no longer need to buy any jewelry or home decor items as they will make them for you. Pier One can’t hold a candle to a frame made out of cardboard and buttons!

Of course, this is all very much tongue in cheek. Children are a huge financial responsibility and it should be taken seriously. However, it’s also important to realize that as your life changes, you are more than capable of making adjustments and finding a way to make things work out.

It’s true that even with choosing less expensive alternatives like thrift store clothes and public schools, raising a child will cost tens of thousands of dollars but parents manage to do it by making sacrifices and keeping focused on their goal. Now, imagine what could happen if you took the same approach to any of your financial goals.

We are all capable of achieving so much if we can get in the mindset that our sacrifices are part of a bigger goal. Whether you want to retire early, start your own business or travel around the world, if you can nurture that idea like how a parent nurtures their children, you can achieve what seems to be an impossible goal.

Photo Credit: billydl

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Karen says:

    I sincerely thank all those hard-working, long-suffering people who have agreed to raise children. This tongue-in-cheek post made me thank the sky (and my IUD) for the expensive, downtown, high-rise, classy restaurant, wine-tours-on-weekends, trips-to-Europe, growing-savings-account, easy lifestyle I share with my beloved husband and our two cats. I won’t be giving this up to reproduce any time soon.

  • Aimee says:

    Pathetic…

  • noor siyal says:

    Child tax credit…almost a G per kid per year till they’re not claimed on your taxes anymore

  • J Cline says:

    I always remember that if I want government social services tomorrow (not that I plan to use them much, because I’ve been responsible and saved amply), I — and nearly every other woman in this country — am obliged to do my part and have those proverbial 2.1 children.

    Future taxpayers. No children = no taxable workers = no taxes = no services.

    It’s amazing how many people — and how often they seem to be environmentalist, allegedly feminist, or merely misanthropic in nature — ignore the socio-economic imperative that underpins the begetting of children.

    Creating more people is not the problem; more people living longer (and having fewer children) is. If we value our lifestyle, culture and economic future, investing in children is more a sacrifice of our self-centeredness than our current capital.

    • Pumpkinshell says:

      Re J Cline’s comments:
      As a feminist, it hurts to be lumped with the misanthropes, etc., since we basically agree with you.

      Feminist mothers like me & my friends consider that we are not casually “having babies” but more importantly producing (educating, rearing, raising) human beings: Educated, healthy, caring, respectful, productive, considerate, responsible humans to carry the ball, as you point out, when it’s their turn.

      I deeply appreciate your encouraging respect for our economic contribution and will pass these thoughts on with pleasure.

  • Jaime says:

    Love this. We constantly joke about not needing a gym membership. Even when they are no longer babies needing bouncing, as toddlers & preschoolers and still not self sufficient, we haven’t had a meal in our house that hasn’t required me to get up less than 10 times in 10 minutes to get them something or clean up something.

  • Marcia says:

    I have found that having a child AND a hubby who travels is a real money saver. Cook once, eat for a week. No energy or time to go shopping. It’s games, coloring, and a little bit of TV.

  • starralex76 says:

    Children are a huge financial responsibility and it should be taken seriously. However, it’s also important to realize that as your life changes, you are more than capable of making adjustments and finding a way to make things work out

  • Pumpkinshell says:

    The problem is, kids get really upset if their nursery furnishings aren’t color-coordinated and in the latest style . . Oops, never mind. What reality teaches new parents is that a lot of what we thought was necessary is silly. For my first newborn I really wanted a pillow containing a recording of a heartbeat. How much cheaper with the next 2 kids–I just held them on my own heart. Nothing cheaper; nothing more wonderful. And now they’re teenagers who want me to go away. The memories remain priceless, the pricey pillow, forgotten.

  • JWizzle says:

    This list is awesome.

    As for number 6 and plain meals, my mother would feed us only plain hamburgers/hotdogs when we were kids–no condiments. To this day, I eat both plain.

    I asked her recently why this was, and she said it was because it was easier to clean up after us. Sigh…

  • Dominique says:

    I agree that there is no need with gym membership if you have kids.. hulling them around is already a good workout.

  • Squirrelers says:

    This is funny stuff.

    I have to say….unless they have role models that they have directly and closely observed, most soon-to-be new parents have no clue what’s in store for them. I saw that being a parent of two.

  • Cindy Platt says:

    “If we can get in the mindset that our sacrifices are a part of a bigger goal…” is a line from your post that has been stuck in my head all day. Terrific post Tracy.

  • Sean says:

    “No need to pay for a pricey gym membership when you can get your exercise by walking a 15 lb baby around in circles for 2 hours every night. Bonus: if he or she likes to play airplane, you can develop some massive guns in no time.”

    LOL, when my son was born I needed to swing him to sleep (only thing that worked.). My arms were never stronger.

  • KM says:

    #7 hits is really close to home for me. My son loves movement (though he is probably not the only one), so sitting down is often not an option when you are holding him. I once carried my phone with a GPS tracker with me while walking around the house with him and I walked something like a mile – that translates to around 5-7 miles a day. And the arms are definitely being trained too…

  • vered says:

    “Now, imagine what could happen if you took the same approach to any of your financial goals.” –> Very interesting thought.

  • David Wright says:

    Great, and funny, article, Tracy. I wish I knew how much money I’d spend on my son three years BEFORE he was born and put that money aside then. I’d be set.

    The biggest thing is the fact that when it comes to kids, you have NO CHOICE but to buy a lot of the things you need to buy for them. So, as you said, if people without kids, or with grown kids, were able to use that same mentality towards their savings, treat their nest egg as the child they’re raising, it might make it easier to save.

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