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.
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
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