The Green Stork

The Green Stork

The Green Stork

Hello folks! Thanks for visiting The Green Swan. I have some delightful news to share today…Lucy and I are expecting our second child! We are 14 weeks along, everyone is doing well and healthy and things are going positively. Lucy is due early April which is the same month our son was born in back in 2014, so there will be about 3 years between the two.

The common questions we’ve gotten so far is what the sex will be and what we want the sex to be. So let me just head those off right away…we plan to wait to find out until birth. We did that for our son and it was such a memorable and magnificent experience to be able to be the one to personally share with my wife the sex. And we have no preference at all what sex this one will be. While we aren’t sure if we’ll have a third at this point (we’ll see how well behaved the first couple are 🙂 … ), we would both be perfectly fine with either a boy or a girl.

Personally, I’m one of four boys so that is definitely my comfort zone and I know how great it was growing up with brothers. On the flip side, having a daughter would be special for me. I think the Father / daughter relationship is neat especially seeing how great of a relationship my wife has with her Dad.

Needless to say, there is a lot of excitement in our household lately. And what goes great with special news of being pregnant…crunching some numbers!

The Cost of Children

Any parent knows that children are expensive, but how expensive can be largely determined by the parents. In a post a few months back, I detailed how Lucy and I went the frugal route in furnishing our son’s room to help manage the cost of children. In that post we also detailed the US Department of Ag’s annual estimate of the cost of children, which was pegged around $245K.

However, for the sake of record keeping and my own natural curiosity (and maybe to remind him what he owes me when he turns 18 🙂 ), after our son was born I started to keep a tally for how expensive he was. While this isn’t 100% accurate because there are a few estimates I’ve had to include (primarily food), it is in the right ball park. Note that Year 3 is only tallied to through August 2016 and so represents only 5 months of his third year.

Cost of Children

A couple things to highlight from the chart above which may look unusual:

  • The healthcare related charges were pretty big in year 1, but this wasn’t all pregnancy related. Toward the end of the first year he had numerous ear infections and we ended up needing to get ear tube surgery. The delivery related charges were on Lucy’s health plan which I don’t need to get into all the details, but it was not a high deductible health plan. The charges simply represent the deductible and out of pocket charges, not her insurance premiums. However, once he was born we put him on my policy which is a high deductible plan which turned out to bite us in the butt when he had the ear tube issues which ended up being all out of pocket for us.
  • Diapers / wipes charges may look huge in year 1 and step down significantly in year 2. No, we did not stop changing his diaper regularly. What we had done was pre-buy a boat load of diapers which carried into year 2. And he isn’t potty trained yet (although progress is being made). Over his 29 months of living, diapers/wipes have averaged $39 / month or $463 / year.
  • I was interested to see how much the clothes/toys/misc category and the Furniture category have dropped after the first year. This represents some of the initial infrastructure of having a kid, things like car seats, bottles, plates, thermometers and all the random stuff. It certain did mount up and a lot of it I categorized as miscellaneous. I don’t think we actually spent a ton on clothes and toys. As a matter of fact, we were gifted a lot of clothes and toys and the ones we bought we typically did so at the consignment shop.
  • The food is simply an estimate. He was cheap in year 1 as mother’s milk was his primary source of food until he was 1 (although we introduced some solids around month 5 or 6). Our household food expenditures actually went down about ~$500 in 2014, the year he was born, primarily due to less dining out. So while buying him food from the grocery store certainly costs money, we may have more than offset it by dining out less ourselves. However, in 2015 we saw our food expenditures increase about $800, most all of which were grocery store purchases. So $500 for the little guy in year 2 and year 3 may be a low estimates.
  • We got junior in a few activities in year 2 and rotated him between swimming and gymnastics. We will again this Fall and Winter, although we take the summer off since we are able to use our neighborhood pool.

And it isn’t fair to the little one to count all these expenses against him and not give him credit for the tax benefits he offers. So I’ve netted these out of the total costs. The tax benefits we have been able to take advantage of is the Child Tax Credit, the personal exemption, and paying up to $5,000 per year of daycare with pre-tax dollars.

Now that we have another on the way, and considering we have a good idea of the costs we can expect to incur for his/her first few years, we can certainly budget appropriately. For the next one, we may not need to incur the same level of “start-up” costs that we did with kid 1 and we can maybe get away with some hand-me-down items as well, so I would expect these costs to be slightly less. And hopefully we won’t have to go through the same extent of healthcare related costs for #2 either! I guess in about three years from now I’ll be able to compare and contrast more.

Has anyone else tracked the cost of children closely? I’d be curious if you’ve experienced similar spending levels or not. Feel free to leave comments or questions below!

Thanks for taking a look!

The Green Swan

Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach

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85 Comments on "The Green Stork"

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Martin - Get FIRE'd asap
Guest

Well congratulations to both of you. I reckon the second one will be a breeze since you’ve already learnt many of the new-parent lessons from raising Number 1. A boy and a girl would be perfect really. It’s only my opinion but I reckon once you have one of each there’s no real reason to keep adding to the clan……unless you want to of course, but then of course that financial independence goal is going to keep stretching out by quite a few years with each one isn’t it.

Anyway, great news and no doubt we’ll all be following along with you both as you count down to the big day.

Brian @ Debt Discipline
Guest

Congratulations! Our first children were twins, so when we had our third it was no problem compare to the first two. Best of luck to the Green Swan family!

Dividends Down Under
Guest

Congratulations JW, wonderful news for you both. Hopefully #2 is easier for Lucy and easier for you guys seen as you’ve already done it. It’s good to see that you guys have really budgeted out the numbers – even though you know you can cover it. Nice work 🙂

We haven’t had any children yet, though we’re doing our best at that, as I’m sure you know. It’s going to be pretty expensive though.

Tristan

Apathy Ends
Guest

Congrats you two! So exciting!

Thanks for publishing that break down, it sets a good baseline for me to start planning for!

Jacq
Guest
Jacq

Congrats! My family did lots of hand me downs with neighbors for clothes. I did get a big girl bed, and my parents upgraded my sister when my brother was on the way, so you may have that misc for your first.
P.s. April is a great birthday month. 🙂

Ten Factorial Rocks
Guest

Congratulations JW! I am delighted for you both. You will especially enjoy my new article that I am working on, should be posting it in a day or two.

Full Time Finance
Guest

Congrats. Not sure about your day care situation but that was the big kick in the pants for us with the second child. It grows roughly linear since any discount you get for the second child is offset by inflation from the first ones expense rate. Look for the food bill to take off as well. Our 4 year old now eats as much as I do.

Jon @ Be Net Worthy
Guest

Congratulations to you both, that is wonderful news! As you pointed out, we found that the expenses and stress level with the second child were much less than the first. You have a lot of the infrastructure items already and you also know what to expect.

We didn’t have child care expenses, but my wife decided to stay home with the kids which ended up being a much larger expense! It’s all worth it though, you just have to decide what’s right for you. Expenses may start picking up again in a few years depending on activities that they get involved with. Team activities like soccer or baseball are generally less expensive than individual activities like gymnastics or piano.

Enjoy the ride, it does go fast!

Ms. Montana
Guest

Congratulations! That is so awesome. I think that extra kids defiantly become more affordable. So many things are able to be passed down (like the crib.) Although if you have a girl, there will be a temptation to go crazy with the cute girl clothes. =) Maybe leave that to the grandparents.

Amanda @centsiblyrich
Guest

Congratulations! It’s such an exciting time! We spent significantly less on child #2, even though we had to buy girl clothes (we purchased them second-hand). We used the same furniture, toys, blankets, sleepers, etc. from the first child and also realized which expenses were completely unnecessary from the first. Our son also had medical expenses his first year that we didn’t have with our daughter, so that helped!

Amber tree
Guest

Great news!

We did not know the sex for the first and decided to know it for the second! It was a secret for everybody else.

We never kept a log of all baby related expenses. I do recognize some categoris like daycare. In our case it was 6,6k per year till school.

Andrew@LivingRichCheaply
Guest

Congratulations to you and your wife! We have a 3 year old boy and just had another boy back in July. I haven’t track the costs closely…do sleep deprived parents have the time?? LOL. Since we have 2 boys, we didn’t have to get any clothes, plus many of my older son’s clothes were hand-me-downs from friends and clothes from a thrift shop or clearance.

Financial Panther
Guest

Congrats JW! My knowledge about how much children cost is low to non-existent, but looking at your numbers, it seems cheaper than I thought! Or maybe I’m just totally naive about how much children really cost?

Jim @ Route To Retire
Guest

Congratulations, JW!! We only have the one daughter who is 6-years old and haven’t tracked the expenses too closely. However, as it sounds like you already know, the cost of raising a kid isn’t as high as I thought it would be.

Sounds like you need a girl to shake things up a little! 😉

— Jim

Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope
Guest

How exciting! Congrats and hope that the pregnancy continues to go smoothly for Lucy.

Costs definitely decreased from one child, to two, to three. You have a lot of the toys and furniture already. I will also point out that it’s great to have a boy first when it comes to clothing. Our daughter used a lot of her older brother’s clothing. It’s easier to put a little girl in a plain t-shirts or sweatpants, than trying to find girl clothing to pass down to a boy without scalloped edges, lacy details, or sparkles.

Can’t wait to find out what the green stork is delivering to you!

Mr. PIE
Guest

First of all congrats on the awesome news! So exciting!! Having kids close in age allows for so much play time together as they age. We have two boys (9,7) and they do great together….most of the time….

Our day care expenses were running at $2k per month at peak before the school years started. Partly due to our part of the country and also an early drop off with later pick up. You are fortunate to have such low costs.

Kids do get more costly as they age with sporting gear, sport lessons, clothes and of course they eat like hungry little chipmunks….all the time! Our eldest eats like an adult yet is as skinny as a beanpole with his supercharged metabolism.

Matt @ Optimize Your Life
Guest

Congrats! That’s amazing news!

Emily @ JohnJaneDoe
Guest

Congratulations! We don’t track our kid related spending particularly, although Little Bit probably costs us a fair amount each year. Fortunately her activities now at 6 (theater class and girl scouts) are less expensive than daycare/preschool. (Also, living in a good school district helps.) She does eat more, though….no more “Cook for two and each of us give her a bit off our plates” approach to dinner.

Kelsey @ Tealmama
Guest

Congrats! I’m surprised to hear you’re waiting to find out the sex, considering how much you are planners. 🙂 But that will make the day you meet them that more special. What a blessing!

ESI Money
Guest

Congrats! So happy for you.

Wishing you and your entire family the best of blessings!

Stephonee
Guest
Thanks for sharing! My first bun is currently baking, should be here within a month or so. We’re also keeping the sex a surprise, which does seem to catch most people off guard! Maybe it’s because they know I like to plan everything in my life out. 😉 Very interesting to see the first few years of costs laid out. We’ll have to think hard next month about what we want to do with health insurance – we are on a high deductible plan now, but of course both open enrollment and the “special enrollment period” for having the kid are coming up next month, so we’ll have an opportunity to change that, if we want. Not sure which route to go, since I love… Read more »
Josh @MoneyBuffalo
Guest

Congrats! We are 10 weeks along with baby #2 and just started spreading the news a couple weeks ago. Family has given us a lot of hand-me-downs (plus shopping at consignment stores). Of course if this one is a boy, somebody will have to do some more shopping.

The labor & delivery were the biggest expenses for us, so far, since our insurance doesn’t really cover that as well as others. Another way we save money (& help the environment) is cloth diapers. Although it’s probably only doable with a stay-at-home parent as they need to be routinely washed.

Mrs. Picky Pincher
Guest

Congratulations!!! Hopefully the cost for your second child won’t be as much, since there are hopefully a few hand-me-downs. Let us know once your little swan-ling gets here! 🙂

We don’t have kids yet, but my sister-in-law and working mom of one, Picky Nikki, added a blog to our site about her childcare costs. Basically, having kids doesn’t have to cost as much as people say it will. The biggest expense is the cost of labor, but even that can be negotiated with insurance and medical provider/midwife.

FinanciaLibre
Guest

Congrats on the exciting news!!

Definitely a good idea to let the kiddos know how expensive they are! Actually, there’s probably a lot of good learning built into a conversation about that… I like your spreadsheet. Those daycare costs are sinus-clearing! Woo.

One addition to the spreadsheet: What’s the cost of all those hours of lost sleep the little ones impose on us?!?!

Congratulations!

Mustard Seed Money
Guest

Congrats on the amazing news!!!

I have not personally tracked our expenses nearly as a closely above. I have a general idea but that’s probably insufficient. I probably should start tracking more closely so that we get a better idea of what he is costing to raise. Especially since we would like to have more kids in the future.

I remember in a previous post that you talked about where to live overseas. With your wife pregnant does that factor into your analysis at all in terms of a new location?

Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor
Guest

Big congrats! I also did not have a preference about our children’s gender, especially with our second, but people seem to have a hard time taking that for an answer sometimes.

I really love seeing how you’ve tracked this. I started out tracking expenses but lost track. We really have not spent a whole lot on our kids–almost everything they have is hand-me-down, secondhand, or gifts. However, I can see how they will start to cost more as they begin sports, do more activities, have school-related costs, and eat more! The parents’ choices still make a big impact on controlling costs, though.

Yetisaurus
Guest

Congratulations! That is so awesome. I love that you’re announcing the pregnancy and then in your very next breath you’re nerding out on the numbers. 😀

Girl or boy, I bet he/she will be awesome, and having an older brother isn’t a bad thing no matter what the sex turns out to be. As a (girl) child, I always preferred playing with Tonka trucks, Hot Wheels, trains, and legos, so even if you end up with a baby girl, you don’t need to switch gears and deck out the whole house in pink doll castles and the like. You might save a whole bunch of money at the toy store.

PatientWealthBuilder
Guest

Have five kids and rumors of the high cost of children have been greatly exaggerated. The more you have the cheaper they are due to hand-me-downs etc. Just like anything else you learn how to save money on various things and get better at managing the cost. We love having a big family and that is why I consider myself a wealthy man – relationships!

Linda @ Brooklyn Bread
Guest

Congratulations! There is no better news! Don’t worry about the expense – you have a while before it really balloons! lol.

MrSLM
Guest
Congrats on the new gal/guy! You’ve got some serious willpower if you’re able to wait up until the birth to find out the sex! Was pretty much the first question I had and just waiting until the 20 week mark was painful lol! Although we’re only 2 years in so far, the costs haven’t been all that high. I don’t track as closely as you do, but eyeballing your numbers, they look pretty familiar with the exception of healthcare (free in Canada). Daycare is by far and wide the biggest expense, and that evaporates in a couple years once they hit school. Furniture is a one time cost, and we’ve also leaned a bit on relatives and hand-me-downs there. Garage sales and Craigslist are awesome… Read more »
Francesca - From Pennies to Pounds
Guest

Congratulationssss! Very exciting news 🙂 I have a daughter and she is a complete doll, I adore her. If you have a girl you will be wrapped around her finger!

Cindy @ Smart Family Money
Guest

Congratulations! I haven’t tracked our expenses that closely but I can tell you that things have increased dramatically in the last couple years when my kids reached school age (now 7 and 8). Clothes and shoes are so much more expensive now. The hand-me-downs and gifts have decreased significantly, used clothes are harder to find, and big-kid sizes just cost more. Also food costs are quite significant now. My kids together eat approximately 1 to 1.5x an adult portion so I cook enough for 3-4 adults. We don’t have daycare costs because I am a SAHM and those would decrease when school starts (but before/after care is still shockingly expensive).

Laurie @thefrugalfarmer
Guest

HUGE congrats!!! My hubby has only brothers and we have three girls and a boy. It was definitely a huge adjustment for him learning how to deal with girls but he adores the relationship he has with the girls. BTW, great job on cutting expenses in year three. Congrats again!

Michael
Guest

Congratulations, JW! I have two daughters. Father – daughter relationship is special. I was paranoid about budgeting when we had our first daughter. I had an idea of expenses when the second one arrived, so I didn’t sweat much.

–Michael

CPAHousewife
Guest

Last week, I worked out that when I was single, I spent $31k on general living expenses. Today, our family of six only spends $64k. So basically, each additional person has a very small effect on the bottom line, unless you have to factor in childcare.

Finance Solver
Guest

Congratulations!! Hoping for the best. I had a high school economics teacher who said and he and his wife doesn’t want or is planning on having kids because of the cost of raising a child but personally, raising a child is worth so much more than money and is something that money can’t buy and I’m planning on having kids at some point in my life. I hope inflation doesn’t prove me wrong and make the costs skyrocket 6-10 years from today, ha.

Mr. SSC
Guest

Congratulations! I never tracked our spending very closely as it related to the kids, even though i thought it would be neat to see how close the predictions are to reality. Then he turned out to be a horrible sleeper and that went out the window as my brain was in a fog for the next 18 months or more.

I think like you saw, our expenses would drop year to year as well. No formula was a huge part of that, and having Mrs. SSC’s best friend have a boy and then a girl 6 months before us each time, we got to reap the benefits of their hand me downs for a lot of clothes, whew!

Ty
Guest

I’m late to the party, but allow me to offer my own congratulations!

I didn’t think baby #2 was nearly as tough of an adjustment as baby #1 was (no duh, right). Baby #3 threw us for a loop though. #4 was nothin. Thankfully I’ll not be able to report out any further than that!

Congrats again you two! Very happy for you.

earlyretirementnow
Guest

I came back from a vacation last night and went through my required reading this morning to see the happy news. Wow, that’s fantastic! Congrats and best of luck! Thanks for keeping Social Security alive for the rest of us, because I think Mrs. ERN and I will “only” have that one little Mrs. ERN. I think….
Yes, tracking expenses for the little one is hard. I haven’t even tried because a lot of baby expenses are mushed together with the other expenses (diapers within the Costco grocery bill). But your numbers seem pretty intuitive. Of course, daycare seems to be the big wildcard (very location-dependent): Where we live it’s definitely more expensive.
Cheers!

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