How much do kids cost in a high COLA?

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HomerJ
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Re: How much do kids cost in a high COLA?

Post by HomerJ » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:02 pm

StellaRose wrote:I've noticed that a lot of those articles meant to shock people at the price of raising a kid tend to include the cost of housing as a major factor. If having a kid means moving from a one-bedroom apartment in a school district that ranks dead last in rest results to a three-bedroom house in a better school district and/or sending the kid to private school, then yeah, it's probably fair to include that cost. But if you're already living somewhere that you wouldn't mind raising a kid in then those numbers might be way off.
This. Child-care can be expensive, but once kids are in school, they are not that expensive. Food and clothes really isn't that much. I think those child-raising numbers are crazy high because they somehow include a percentage of your housing.

strbrd
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Re: How much do kids cost in a high COLA?

Post by strbrd » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:04 pm

$40k in the first year is not a bad (though conservative) estimate for our HCOL: aim for $30k. Daycare for us in the first year was $2,100 per month, minus three months of paid maternity leave, so $18,900, but costs are going up another $100/mo. every year or so. Getting the kid can be very expensive--adoption costs are astronomical, but depending on your health insurance, delivery/c-section/anesthesia/lactation consultants can be pricey too. I totally wiped out any breastfeeding savings with lactation consultants and a pump rental. A cloth diaper service was $100/month for us; disposables are cheaper. Our electricity costs went up maybe $15 per month (much more hot water for bottle washing, clothes). We haven't spent more than $400 or so on "stuff" though: a registry can really help with some big ticket items (we got a car seat that way: go convertible from the beginning and skip the unnecessary infant seat!), and clothes should be nearly free through gifts/handmedowns/thrift stores. We got a crib, high chair, and swing from a neighbor, community sale, and Craigslist, respectively.

As a single parent, you are almost certainly going to have to lean more heavily on takeout/prepared foods, which can inflate a budget a lot. I recommend getting a baby carrier (e.g., Ergo, and a backpack from ~6 months up) so you can cook a little while carrying the baby.

As other people have mentioned, budget for backup childcare. Four months of nonstop viruses and a few scattered fevers that get you kicked out of daycare is not inaccurate for a daycare baby, though my baby has never had an ear infection. A live-in nanny or au pair is not a bad idea if you already have the space.

I'd say the most important truly discretionary decisions from a cost perspective are housing and car. Unless you have a truly tiny smart car or something, you can find a car seat to fit your existing car. And if you can stay in your current housing, you can save tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars.

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willthrill81
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Re: How much do kids cost in a high COLA?

Post by willthrill81 » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:49 pm

Fess McGee wrote:That said, don't wait to have them until you're ready. It'll never happen!
I've heard this before and think that it's dangerous advice. A couple in their early 20s, either in college or just out and saddled with student debt, low on the ladder in the workforce should be extremely cautious about bringing kids into the picture, especially if they will have to farm out child care. If one spouse is willing to stay at home with the children, it's a lot less of a potential problem.

I love my child dearly, but I think that there are a lot of families out there who have made their lives very difficult by having children when they truly weren't ready for them.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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willthrill81
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Re: How much do kids cost in a high COLA?

Post by willthrill81 » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:51 pm

HomerJ wrote:This. Child-care can be expensive, but once kids are in school, they are not that expensive. Food and clothes really isn't that much. I think those child-raising numbers are crazy high because they somehow include a percentage of your housing.
Our houses were larger before we had a child! We now in a 1200 sq. ft. 3/2 and love it. Keeping up with the Joneses or even just our perceived 'expectations' that were probably largely imagined is for the birds. Kids don't require a 3,000 sq. ft. house.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

limeyx
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Re: How much do kids cost in a high COLA?

Post by limeyx » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:53 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
staythecourse wrote:
MnyGrl wrote:My kids have very involved grandparents who are able to step in at these times, but I have no idea what I would do without them.
I can say as a physician married to a physician this is the no. 1 biggest difficulty in our lives we have now and going forward. Making money is easy compared to the technical issues that arise when no one is home to take care of kids.

Good luck.
+1 - for any parent and most occupations, juggling childcare with work makes everything else look simple by comparison.
Yeah dont have any family nearby and went down to a single income once the second was born.
Pretty much destroyed our ability to save much money each month as we are in HCOL area ... still trying to reconcile this

limeyx
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Re: How much do kids cost in a high COLA?

Post by limeyx » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:56 pm

finite_difference wrote:I think $200/month for diapers, etc. sounds reasonable. Add the cost of daycare and medical insurance and babysitting. Clothes and toys and books can be cheap. You'll need a car seat and a stroller and a bouncer and a swing.

As a single parent, it is going to be really, really hard. You will at minimum need daycare and access to 24/7 baby sitting when your baby gets sick. Why?

...
Yeah I (now) have a huge admiration for single parents that I did not have before. I have no clue how they do this alone

runner3081
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Re: How much do kids cost in a high COLA?

Post by runner3081 » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:22 pm

Fess McGee wrote:That said, don't wait to have them until you're ready. It'll never happen!
I disagree with this.

My wife and I wanted to be on solid financial footing before having a child. It is stressful enough to have a new child to take care with the added stress of money issues.

Also, a more important point is lifestyle change. We knew we were ready and wanting to commit our lives and sacrifice some of our own pursuits for our child. I have known too many parents who feel they missed out on travel, partying or whatever it is they wanted to to or were doing when the child arrived. This leads to regrets or, well, bad parenting. Too often, I feel that parents don't spend enough time (I feel) with their kids on weekends, etc because they are doing their own things.

Being financially and emotionally ready for a child will help make things easier...

evilityb
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Re: How much do kids cost in a high COLA?

Post by evilityb » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:53 pm

Wow. That was a lot of responses! And really good ones!

Thank you all for your input. I was checking in over the last few days, mulling through the ideas and experience you all brought to the thread. This was incredibly helpful; in fact, there are so many great responses that I couldn't even begin to quote them all in this post.

A little bit more about my situation. I'm turning 34 next month and I'm realizing that I need to start planning for potential single parenthood in about ~5 years or so. I could very well meet the right person within the next few years, and I certainly hope I do, but if the next 5 years are anything like the last 5 years, it will just be full of more dead ends, disappointment, and frustration. So, not really counting on anything in regards to finding a suitable partner. I'd like to have a plan in my back pocket with the right finances to get me where I want to go if that is the path I choose. And if I choose not to, I'll buy myself a sports car and put my friends' kids through college instead.

In response to all of you who gave ideas about the costs: That was immensely helpful. I am not likely to deck my kids out in brand name anything, and I'm no stranger to freecycle, so it sounds like I can keep those kinds of costs to a minimum. The suggestions of an au pair are spot on for what I'd likely do. I am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and I would be very comfortable hiring an au pair from the country where I served -- also, potentially adopting the child(ren) from there as well. Also, I have a 3 bedroom home with a basement I can convert into a studio apartment. Literally, I could live with an au pair, my child(ren) AND rent out the basement and we would not feel crowded.

A lot of people talked about the school district. I'm in DC proper -- not MD or VA. The public schools here are pretty bad. In fact, my neighborhood elementary school is... well, awful. I strongly believe in leveling the playing field by bringing up the lowest performing students through exposure to higher performing students/environments -- but even I wouldn't send my kid to THAT school. Looking online at the test scores, only 13% of the kids could read at grade level in 2nd grade -- and the percentage drops from there. The good news is, we have a ton of excellent charter schools in the District. Three of the better ones are convenient commutes from where I live. And, the school thing wouldn't be an issue for about 10 years from now, so there will be some changes by then.

A large part of this thread also discussed having a support network. This is the biggest reason I hesitate on becoming a single parent. My family is all in California. My best friends are scattered around the world. I do have friends and other networks to tap into here in the District, but it's not like having my parents or siblings to help out. But, that's all something to consider over the next few years. Until then, I'll stash away enough cash so I can either be a parent or buy a sports car.
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jehovasfitness
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Re: How much do kids cost in a high COLA?

Post by jehovasfitness » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:53 am

willthrill81 wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:49 pm
Fess McGee wrote:That said, don't wait to have them until you're ready. It'll never happen!
I've heard this before and think that it's dangerous advice. A couple in their early 20s, either in college or just out and saddled with student debt, low on the ladder in the workforce should be extremely cautious about bringing kids into the picture, especially if they will have to farm out child care. If one spouse is willing to stay at home with the children, it's a lot less of a potential problem.

I love my child dearly, but I think that there are a lot of families out there who have made their lives very difficult by having children when they truly weren't ready for them.
Could not agree more. People just blindly throw out that saying, without thinking about it cause they view kids as > anything

beth65
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Re: How much do kids cost in a high COLA?

Post by beth65 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:33 pm

I also think that there is a lot of societal and biological pressure to have kids, but there are many people out there (some I know personally) that love their children, but do not always love being a parent and are not always the best parents. We still have this notion that most people are supposed to just get married and have kids, and I know that my mother still puts pressure on my sister, constantly reminding her that “you are in your 30’s”, “you aren’t getting any younger” and “don’t you want kids someday?”. My sister is a very selfish person and has problems with emotions and attachment, and should probably never become a parent. My friends' husband loves his kids, but doesn’t seem very happy with being a father, if that makes any sense. He has absolutely no patience with the kids, and very little desire to do more than the minimum effort required, although he does at least play with them when and have fun when he does actually does spend time with them. He also maybe should not have had kids.

If you really do love children, and you absolutely want them and couldn’t imagine life without them, then definitely go for it. Kids can be expensive, but as many posters mentioned, at least some of those costs can be mitigated, and it really is worth it in the end. The world needs more parents that truly want to be parents and are focused on raising emotionally healthy, well-adjusted children that they actively want and enjoy spending the time and effort raising. It is the most thankless and the most absolutely rewarding job in the world. My girls are the best things I have ever done with my life and they have made me a better person, more conscientious and even more invested in the world I am raising them in.

Starfish
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Re: How much do kids cost in a high COLA?

Post by Starfish » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:42 pm

A friend of mine told me 80k$, but for me was somewhat less.
Standard daycare is ~2000$ but you 1000$ is possible. You might not like it, but that is different.
Nanny is 15-25$/h depending on the number of kids and exact area. 20$ is common. Usually you she works for ~ 50h/week.
The government makes it little hard to issue a W2 so you might want to pay an accountant or an online service. Not very cheap, I did it by myself.
Maternity leave can be very expensive too, depending on how much money the mother makes (more in HCOL). In California is capped to a pretty low amount.

As for furniture, strollers, toys etc you can go from free or almost free to tens of thousands. I went on cheap route, except very few selected things which were pretty reasonable anyway.

My data is 6 years old, so it might need some updating.

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