I was watching T.V. the other day and a commercial came on that talked about the cost of children and it made me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit. I get tired of hearing how much kids TAKE and not enough about what kids GIVE. Since having Emma, I’m pretty sure our bank account has been a little lower. Notice I said a little. She hasn’t made such a dent into it that we’re in the hole or we’re struggling deep in debt. So I wanted to bust the rumor that children cost you an arm…and a leg.
When we first went to the doctor we were surprised to find out our financial obligation to our OB-GYN. First off, we were blessed with a great insurance plan. If you can afford to have insurance, you need to have it. Truthfully in this day and age, you can’t afford NOT to have it. After we met our deductible that we would pay the practice, everything else was at the low rate of $0. Woohoo! The most expensive thing we paid for was our hospital stay. We had a unique experience with labor and delivery. Most people are in and out and pay for 2 days tops. We were at the hospital for 5 days and ended up having a c-section as well as multiple checks on Emma’s blood sugar added to it. You better believe we made it all count. Everything we got at the hospital we took home. We left nothing behind. Oh, and that fancy hand held pump they let you “borrow”? They charge you for that. No thank you. I brought mine from home. At the end of the day, we were still pleasantly surprised with the low cost of everything. Even our anesthesiology was only around $100. An epidural for that price? I will pay that ANY day I’m delivering a baby. The only other charge that we were unsure about was for her pediatrician, Dr. Makres. He saw her a lot at the hospital and then some shortly after her birth. Our responsibility? Less than $70. And all of our well baby visits are covered with no co-pay. Have I said how grateful I am for our insurance? Because I am. Emma and I met our deductible last year so all our medical needs didn’t cost us a dime. I thought about having another baby. But then realized it wouldn’t happen quite that quick. Oh well.
When Emma was born, we were once again surprised at the cost of everything. I remember people telling us we would spend our paychecks to keep her alive and well. The most money we spent was the first few weeks when I was adjusting to all my breastfeeding issues which was, once again, a unique situation. I spent a decent amount of money on disposable breast pads, nipple shields, different creams, and pump supplies. I don’t think I spent more than $100, even once you added in the new breast pump I got second hand. Before I go any further here, let me tell you that it IS legal to buy a breast pump second hand, however, you have to be very careful in doing so. I made sure and did my background work before making this commitment. I also rented a hospital grade pump for a month which only set us back about $80 and I was able to keep the start up kit in case I ever needed to rent one again, making it less than $50/month. As far as diapers and wipes, we haven’t spent much there either. I get my diapers on sale and stocked up big time before she was even born. We had diapers coming out our ears. One word of advice here- don’t open up your diapers until you KNOW without a shadow of a doubt your child can wear them. I did give away about 1 ½ packs of size 1 diapers because Emma stayed in them for such a short period of time.
There are a lot of things you can do for your baby that are cheap or free. We buy ALL of Emma’s clothes second hand. We shop Wee Cycle It every time it comes around and we sell there, too. We only buy what we sell in funds so we always break even. What an awesome deal that is! We usually spend a very minimal amount on clothing for Emma due to this. We have also bought several other items from here that have saved us a lot of money- Emma’s car seat, glass storage bottles, birthday and Christmas gifts, and more. We are also able to save a lot on food since I’ve made it at home. We buy pouches for on the road or when we’re in a hurry, but for the most part, I’ve always made her food based on what we eat. I really enjoyed this, too. It was never a burden for me to put some carrots in the Crockpot or puree a couple of apples. Mashing up bananas and avocados were the easiest. Another thing we did was breast milk. It can cost you as little as $0 if you are able to exclusively breastfeed. It can cost a little more if you pump but is STILL cheaper than formula. We had to supplement with formula for a couple weeks when Emma was little and I couldn’t believe how much it cost. Truthfully, I think it’s a shame. We went with breast milk mainly for the nutritional benefits but the cost didn’t hurt. We’re a breastfeeding family and I definitely believe if I can do it, there’s no excuse for anyone else not to. By the way, did I tell you all I met my goal? One year as a exclusively breastfeeding/pumping momma. Now I’m weaning and about to lose my mind. That’s a topic for another day and another post. But shew, this momma could use some prayers.
The next thing to look at is the future. Emma will surely cost more as she ages and starts asking for more and needing more. The key here is finding the difference between wants and needs. Between setting a budget and spending recklessly. Just because Emma wants $1000 in gifts for Christmas doesn’t mean she’ll get them. That’s just not how we will roll and we are setting that standard for her early. Another thing is in her future career endeavors. We are saving up NOW for college. It doesn’t mean we’ll have the exact cost by the time she goes. Emma will be responsible for her end (scholarships, grants, etc) and we’ll try to meet her on the other end and help as much as we possibly can. We can’t do that if we wait until the year before her first college semester begins. This has to start NOW. It doesn’t cost that much when you divide it into years and then months. For example, say you put in $50/month from the time your child is one until they turn eighteen without any additional funds given. If that sits, without interest, that will be over $10,000. If you invest in the right areas and give extra as your budget allows, you will surely have enough to meet them in the middle and then some.
A child only breaks the bank if you let them. If you’re wise in how you spend and focus on the long term rather than the short term, all will be fine. Focus on budgeting and being a good steward of the money God gives you. Use your money wisely and how God intends for you to. If you’re a momma, take time to read up on how God wants us to be as women. This gives some great ideas on how He has shown us a way to be wise in how we spend. And the reality is this- even if something came up and Emma required us to spend more than we’d ever imagine, she would be totally worth it. I would spend every dime we had on her if need be. I would sell a kidney for her, too. There is no limit for the love a parent has for their child. Money is just a tangible object. It’s simply there and doesn’t give anything in return. There is no way to explain the joy Emma brings to our lives. More than money ever could. She loves us in return and gives us more happiness than we could imagine. So whether Emma costs us the average amount a child does or more than we could afford, she would be worth it. For us, that’s just how we roll.