Managing the Cost of Children
Hello everyone! Hope all is well. Today I want to touch on the cost of kids and one way my wife and I try to manage the cost of children. How? Being frugal while designing the nursery and consignment shopping.
Raising children can be expensive, we all know that. Our first kid was born in mid-2014 and, according to the US Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), the average cost of raising a child born in 2014 is just over $245K! While their estimates vary widely depending on where you live and how much you earn, the figures are staggering. And this excludes the cost of college.
Similar to many families, my wife and I wanted to have a house to raise our kid in, so that was step one. In that house we wanted to have a nice nursery. Decorating and furnishing it was step two. And while not needed immediately, as our family grew we knew we would want an SUV to safely haul them and their stuff around in. That was step three. Children are expensive…and this was all in preparation for a kid!
With all this said, we tried to manage the costs as best we could, wherever possible. Unlike some folks, we had recently moved to North Carolina, a ways from family back in the Midwest, and didn’t have any friends nearby that we could cheaply buy a bunch of gently used kids’ stuff or hand-me-downs from. We were mostly on our own.
We painted the nursery ourselves which was a pretty good cost saver, rather than hiring it out. We’ve actually painted most rooms in our house and have never hired out for that job. My wife chose a soft yellow, grey and white color scheme. We weren’t going to find out the gender of our baby so wanted to keep it neutral. And honestly even if we would have found out we were having a boy early on we probably would have still gone gender neutral for the room. No one wants to come back a couple years later and repaint for the second child.
For furniture, we had an old blue La-Z-Boy rocker chair that was handed down from my wife’s grandparents. This was perfect for the nursery, except the color, so we bought a white slip cover for it and called it good.
We were also on the lookout for a dresser and changing table on the cheap. We ended up finding something great on Craigslist, where else?! It was a nice set of wooden furniture for $80, not bad. We just had to clean it up a bit to work in our nursery. So we sanded it down, primed and painted it a nice white. How’s it look?
Given what seems to be constantly new regulations on cribs, including one earlier in 2013, we wanted to make sure we had the safest crib possible. Plus, he’ll be spending lots of time in it without us nearby, so we bought a brand new crib and nice mattress. We didn’t skimp here, although we ended up finding a great price for the crib we wanted online, no sales tax and free shipping to boot!
In terms of décor, we have had time to add things bit by bit. We painted some white canvases using the paint we bought for the walls, my wife found a cheap shower curtain from West Elm to use as the window treatment and also found a steal for pillow covers to add more design.
All-in-all, I think we pulled together a nice little nursery on the cheap. What do you think?
The other major area we have successfully saved some coin on is clothes. Kids’ clothes are not cheap! And they grow out of them super-fast, sometimes so fast they only wear an item once or twice. So we chose to do most all his shopping at the consignment store. Granted, friends and family have bought a lot of nice clothes as gifts which has been very nice and helpful.
For us, shopping at the consignment store has meant getting five pairs of pants, five shirts, and five pairs of pajamas for $30 instead of buying the same brand new for $60-$75. This definitely adds up over time! Consignment shops can also be great places to find baby carriers, toys, books, strollers, etc.
How have you been managing the cost of children? Anything you found to be particularly helpful or a good resource? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for taking a look.
The Green Swan
Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach