Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

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Westcoaster7
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Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by Westcoaster7 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:09 am

Hi all, I’m currently paying $3500 to $4000 per month on childcare expenses for 2 kids (aged 1 and 4). Wondering to what extent this expense will go away or be replaced by other new expenses after the kids graduate out of daycare. Even if I spend $1k per kid each month on extracurricular activities or other kid expenses (which seems high) after my kids are out of daycare, that’s still a ~50% drop in what I had been paying, and ~$24k/year more that I can put in savings, use to pay down the mortgage, etc. Interested in hearing from others on what happened to their child expenses after daycare. Thanks!

oldfatguy
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by oldfatguy » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:14 am

In my experience, yes, your expenses will go down if your children enter public school. There will still be the cost of before-school and/or after-school care, summer care, and extracurricular activities. But for most families, those costs are not as much as full-time daycare.

winterfan
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by winterfan » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:16 am

I was paying about $1 200/mo for daycare for my preschooler. When she started school, the aftercare program at her school charged $15/day. Quite a big difference! Day camps during the summer run about $150-300 per week, depending on the activity.
Last edited by winterfan on Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

onourway
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by onourway » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:17 am

They went down, but nowhere near as much as I'd expected. We still spend $600-1000/month on after-school care for 3 kids. There are an amazing number of week long vacations where you either need to take time off work or pay additional full-time care - easily another $500+ per week. Then 10 weeks of full-time care in the summer. Oh, and don't forget sick days. Lots of those especially the first few years.

So I'd expect your current expenditure to go to something like half of what it is now.

Afty
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by Afty » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:28 am

The cost didn't go down as much as I expected, for the reasons mentioned by the previous posters.
  • Still have to pay for afterschool care
  • Lots more holidays you have to cover somehow
  • No school in summer means you have to pay for camps, which are quite expensive around here

SimonJester
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by SimonJester » Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:48 pm

To add to what other have said, School supplies, school field trips, extra curricular activities (scouts, ballet, sports, etc), clothing (kids will grow out or wear out of clothing faster as they get older). These will all be lower then the full time day care you pay today but will add up...

Then comes middle school and these expenses go up. Then comes high school and these expenses go up again. Yearbook are $75 a pop, home coming dance tickets $45, classroom fees $10 to $20 per class per semester. $2,000 field trips for band or sports...

If you have boys expect the food budget go up quite a bit.

Then they may want to start driving, you will want them to start driving because you are tired of shuffling them around between the 10 different weekly activities. Now comes the fun part, you get to hand over the equivalent of a car payment to your insurance company every month, that is with a safe driving course and a good grade discount.

Then their junior year of high school, just as you think your wallet cannot stretch any further, you fill out the FAFSA and begin exploring colleges. All of those expenses you thought were soo high before, become a mere blip... :shock:
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

surveyor
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by surveyor » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:23 pm

It's a welcome windfall the year it happens but it didn't seem to last. Music lessons, tennis lessons, golf, etc.

I explain to people that everything (for us) is times 4. Plane tickets out west x 4. Lift tickets, movie tickets, Disney tickets, Universal tickets. All times 4. Dinner out with a drink for mom and dad? $80-$100. Hell, it's tough to find a $10/hr babysitter.

We don't but I know parents who have kids playing travel sports, including cheer and dance, that spend thousands of dollars a year. Estimated cost to play a season of AA/AAA U10 travel hockey was $6,000. Not bogleheadish at all and they turn kids away. Friends do cheer/dance competitions in multiple states and a big one 1000 miles away. Granted those are very optional but we've watched plenty of sensible people get caught up in it.

texasdiver
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by texasdiver » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:19 pm

Parent of 3 girls ages 11, 14, and 19

Private daycare is a huge burden. For us it probably didn't get up to that level again until college but there are still endless costs that slowly increase from K up to 12.

Just of the top of my head:

Private music lessions: (piano, violin, sax) about $100-200 per month depending on duration and quality of teacher

Musical instrument purchases or rental: $500+ for entry level violin, $1500+ for entry level sax, $4,000 for adequate digital piano.

Youth receational soccer: About $100 per season twice a year

Youth select travel soccer (ages 12-18): about $1000 per year plus travel expenses and that was at the low end with a local team that had volunteer parent coaches. Could be double or triple for a team with paid coaches.

Private youth swim team: About $250 per month plus travel and meet entry expenses. Again at the very low end for a YMCA based team in Texas. Much more for private teams at private pools.

Summer camps: $500-700 per week for live-in soccer and band camps at local universities. A bit cheaper if they are just day camps. We did a bazillion different summer camps from zoo camp to art camp to music camp to YMCA camp. All are expensive.

ENDLESS nickle and dime fundrasiers for school, sports, PTA, music, etc. Probably $500 per year per kid to be moderately involved if you just want to do buyouts and not having your kids go door-to-door or bother your relatives or co-workers.

Car and insurance expenses for HS student driver are a bit bite. Insurance goes up at least $100/mo plus whatever you spend on a vehicle if you choose to. We handed down my wife's old commuter car to the teen and bought the wife a new car perhaps 2-3 years before we would have done so anyway.

Prom: $500-$800 depending by the time you are done with everything.

Vacations. Have to buy 5 airline tickets instead of two for family travel. Also with 3 girls we had to buy 2 hotel rooms at most destinations rather than 1 so we usually went with VRBO condos instead of hotels. But with one off to college we can now get away with a single suite room for travel again.

Orthodontist. About $5000 a pop for braces. Thank you tax advantaged HSAs and flexible spending accounts.

Eating out. With kids meals it is usually reasonable. Once they graduate to the adult menu it goes up quick.

I'm sure I'm missing tons of expenses.

Then they go to college and suddenly you are looking at $35,000 per year for tuition, room, board, books, and fees for (in our case) an out-of-state public school in the midwest that is at the low end for out-of-state tuition.

barelybarefoot
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by barelybarefoot » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:50 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:19 pm
Parent of 3 girls ages 11, 14, and 19

Private daycare is a huge burden. For us it probably didn't get up to that level again until college but there are still endless costs that slowly increase from K up to 12.

Just of the top of my head:

Private music lessions: (piano, violin, sax) about $100-200 per month depending on duration and quality of teacher

Musical instrument purchases or rental: $500+ for entry level violin, $1500+ for entry level sax, $4,000 for adequate digital piano.

Youth receational soccer: About $100 per season twice a year

Youth select travel soccer (ages 12-18): about $1000 per year plus travel expenses and that was at the low end with a local team that had volunteer parent coaches. Could be double or triple for a team with paid
+1
Oh man, what we have to look forward to. We have 3 as well, no FIRE for us for at least another 15 years when they are done with undergrad. For us, after school/before school care was cheaper but summer camps and all the holidays and staff development days off we had to pay for make up the difference. We’re at public school but there’s also a large ‘recommended’ donation per kid. It’s still cheaper than private school though...

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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by forgeblast » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:31 am

When our daughter went from daycare to public school, we took the daycare money and immediately moved it into a 529 for her. That way we did not miss the money.

AMG79
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by AMG79 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:41 am

Westcoaster7... this is my question exactly. These responses have been very helpful for me so thanks for posing the question. We have two more years of high childcare costs and then I think we are going to plan to continue to put a good portion of the money we are spending now into an account earmarked for all of these expenses other parents are talking about. Some can go into 529s but it seems like there won't be much reprieve before new expenses arise. What do you think of that approach?

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MnyGrl
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by MnyGrl » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:26 am

For working parents, daycare is a need, not a want. It's not optional if both parents are working. What a lot of parents seem to do after daycare is over is enroll their children in a lot of activities, lessons, etc., so there is no real savings. But you do have a choice, and you can save a lot of money if you:

1) shop around for activities (e.g., take ballet lessons at rec center and not private school; if it turns out that your child has a serious gift, you can enroll in private lessons later if you want);
2) limit activities to one per season per child (this also has the added effect of a nicer lifestyle for you - you get to have family dinners multiple times a week vs. shuttling kids around all the time); and/or
3) check out the free activities that most schools offer before/after school (like music classes, teams, etc.).

AMG79
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by AMG79 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:18 am

Very good point. Thank you. But... Bogleheads are in favor of Parent Plus loans? I would actually think that would be a last resort option.

margered
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by margered » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:06 am

forgeblast wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:31 am
When our daughter went from daycare to public school, we took the daycare money and immediately moved it into a 529 for her. That way we did not miss the money.
We did the same, but in the days before 529s were offered.

stoptothink
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by stoptothink » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:32 am

MnyGrl wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:26 am
For working parents, daycare is a need, not a want. It's not optional if both parents are working. What a lot of parents seem to do after daycare is over is enroll their children in a lot of activities, lessons, etc., so there is no real savings. But you do have a choice, and you can save a lot of money if you:

1) shop around for activities (e.g., take ballet lessons at rec center and not private school; if it turns out that your child has a serious gift, you can enroll in private lessons later if you want);
2) limit activities to one per season per child (this also has the added effect of a nicer lifestyle for you - you get to have family dinners multiple times a week vs. shuttling kids around all the time); and/or
3) check out the free activities that most schools offer before/after school (like music classes, teams, etc.).
Exactly. Once my daughter went from daycare to public school, direct expenses for her were literally cut 90% and she participates in plenty of activities including gymnastics and jiu jitsu. As far as direct cost, everything pales in comparison to daycare. A little over 2 more years and the same happens with my son.

SimonJester
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by SimonJester » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:51 am

AMG79 wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:18 am
Bogleheads are in favor of Parent Plus loans? I would actually think that would be a last resort option.
No what I am saying is that is the end result of the FASFA, Aka Student Aid. My student qualified for very small amount of federally subsidized loans, and the rest was expected to be Parent Plus (something we will never do).
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Westcoaster7
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by Westcoaster7 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:34 pm

Thanks all! Super helpful. Short of getting some form of financial windfall, wondering how many folks can actually achieve FIRE with kids still in the house. Expenses just seem hard to predict and quite lumpy. Would have to be quite conservative in projecting future expenses.

Beach
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by Beach » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:27 am

Our expenses decreased about 50%. Before and after school daycare is still expensive for our public school. Additionally, sports and other activities are eating into our "savings"

Hillview
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by Hillview » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:19 pm

This month I've paid
$600 for after care for one child
$380 for baseball for one
$400 for after school sports for one child
$5k for private school for one child (child needed special needs school, had planned to go to public school)
$200 for sports equipment for one child
$50 for field trips for one child
$300 for tutoring for one child

Next month it will be
$600 for after care
$5k for school
$300 for tutoring for one child

YMMV but it is super lumpy.

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kenyan
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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by kenyan » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:06 am

Beach wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:27 am
Our expenses decreased about 50%. Before and after school daycare is still expensive for our public school. Additionally, sports and other activities are eating into our "savings"
This is similar to our experience, though it's more like a 40% reduction for us. The public school schedules around us are extremely unfriendly to working parents (very short school days, random days that are even shorter, plus the myriad of extra holidays/vacations that schools are off for that regular jobs don't get off), and we have to pay a big chunk for before/after school care.

I'm hoping that in a few more years, we'll be comfortable enough for the kids to walk themselves the few blocks to/from school and not get in too much trouble while unsupervised at home for an hour or two, though we'd still have to confront the problem of the extra holidays.
Retirement investing is a marathon.

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Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:52 pm

SimonJester started a discussion about school workload vs. family time. The discussion here was getting derailed, so I've moved those posts into a new thread: [Balancing school workload and family time]

Please continue the workload balance discussion in that thread. For here, let's focus on expenses.
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