It Cost What to Raise Children?

I was in Target for three hours the other day.

I know. That sounds like a long time, but it was Target. Plus, we needed a lot of basic things for the start of a new season.

I can get away with wearing holes in my underwear for a while, but, when it comes to the kids, the underwear they wore last year barely looks worn, but it’s now too small. Same thing with socks! They are growing like weeds.

So on this leisurely shopping morning that also served as entertainment for my preschooler, I loaded up the cart with a few Target basics, some school snacks, and some items that will make prepping lunch easier. We really didn’t buy clothes except for one pair of boy’s jeans and a cute pair of toddler sneakers that can take the wear and tear of a preschool playground built on sand.

The bill: $169.57.


Reports say that it will cost around $235,000 for middle-income families to raise one child. Studies suggest that families with three or more children spend 22 percent less than a family with two children per year. The savings results from shared toys, hand-me-down clothes, shared bedrooms, and buying food in bulk.

I have two children, different genders. I can say with two children I have definitely seen a bigger dent in my wallet than I did with my first child. I also worked part-time from home when I had my first child, so I even indulged in boutique clothing for him. He was a dapper little dresser.

I still like name-brand clothing. Not crazy, high-end pieces like Stacy mentioned a few weeks ago here on this site, but good, quality pieces that you find in a mall or children’s boutiques. Oscar De La Renta and Burberry can stay in Suri Cruise’s closet.

Having a girl the second time around, it’s really fun to buy her clothes, but I’ve become a lot more savvy in shopping for her. I buy fewer higher-end pieces myself, and instead I snatch them up at consignment sales. So what if they were “last year’s” designs! It’s a great savings, and most of the clothes look barely worn.

So don’t be surprised if you see me about town at consignment sales like the 20th annual FUMC-Cary Fall Children’s Sale in a few weeks or others in the area. Yeah, I’m the one snatching up all the Lilly Pulitzer, Mini-Boden and JCrew.

I love finding a good bargain; then more of my money can go to the college fund. We’ve got a lot of savings to do, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

How do you tweak your budget for savings?