Written by Momcents Mom, Krista
I remember thinking how expensive having a baby was: a million diapers, formula, baby food, wipes, baby equipment, etc. But now that I have a 14-year-old (Ty) and 11-year-old (Jack) and an 8-year-old going on 18 (Ella), I am finding out as they get bigger and older my wallet gets thinner and thinner.
It all started with clothing. Ty quickly grew out of boy’s clothes and shoes and into men’s. Bigger clothes = more expensive. Now that he’s almost in high school he has an opinion on the type/brand of clothing and, go figure, his favorite brand isn’t found at Walmart or Target, darn it.
Then came braces for Ty. $5,000 worth of metal. Dang. They will be 100% worth it when he has a beautiful smile in a few short months but with Jack already consulting the orthodontist, we will soon be paying another $5,000 for him. They do give a small discount for siblings - believe me, I asked! Hopefully, by the time Ella needs them, they will be free. Buy two, get one free - makes sense to me! Haha.
And then there’s eating out. No more kids’ menu for Ty and Jack has aged out of a few of them too. This adds up quick. Food, in general, is more expensive because of the amount of food they eat as teenagers vs. little kids.
Joining sports teams and sports equipment is more expensive. Gas for driving them around to games, practices and activities adds up, too. Cell phones start entering the picture. Eventually, a car and insurance will be added to the list. And then there’s college but that’s for a whole other blog.
I guess the baby stage wasn’t as expensive as I thought! Other than daycare - dang that was pricey! Now that we have one teenager, with two more close behind, we know how fast the expenses add up. So, we are preparing for the future. Saving for the next round of braces. Switching to a family cell phone plan to save money. Handing down sports equipment. Trying to eat out less. And most importantly, using these expenses to teach our kids that money doesn’t grow on trees.
Explaining to them that having a nice straight smile is a reflection of sacrifice from their parents. Having Ty use his lawn mowing money to buy that name-brand hooded sweatshirt or fancy drink at the latte stand. Taking them grocery shopping with us so they can see the cost of all the food. Not to make them feel bad, but to prepare them for the real world. Because the real world will be a reality for Ty in less than five years and I want him to be prepared for what to expect. Finances and budgeting sadly are not taught at school. It starts at home. Teach them now or they may be in a world of hurt (and debt) later.