Children, as a population, are akin to a vast hole where money goes to die. Parents spend approximately $250,000 to $490,000 raising a child. In the race to keep up with the Joneses, parents will do almost anything to ensure their child doesn’t go without. We cave and bribe and give in to keep our kids happy and occasionally (frequently) shut them up. I, for one, find myself wasting money in the following areas:
1. Claw Machines
I swear the owners of these machines superglue those claws together. Those puppies aren’t going anywhere, but you keep pumping money in so your kid doesn’t lose his marbles. If you somehow become the only parent in history to extract an animal, you likely will have paid $47 for a small stuffed giraffe. You will feel superior, but really you are just a person who paid $47 for a stuffed giraffe.
I’m not talking about the family dog here but the hundreds of county fair goldfish that have the life span of a fruit fly. Even though a rational adult brain knows these fish don’t have a chance, you still find yourself at Petco purchasing the bowl, food and tiny fish castle like the jackass that you are.
If your kids are anything like mine, they order the standard chicken fingers and fries and then proceed to fill up on chocolate milk before the food arrives. They eat exactly three bites and complain that they are full. You know what I’m full of kid? Debt.
That’s it. All of the Target.
Over the years, I have spent thousands of wasted dollars on clothing for my children. After the age of 4, 90 percent of these have been too babyish, too itchy, too collar-y, or my personal favorite: too blue. Apparently once boys reach the age of 9, they only need one pair of underwear which can be quite the money saver.
6. Most Baby Items
You do not need 85 percent of the things you think you need for your child. You do not need a $500 stroller unless it pours your wine and tells you you’re pretty. You don’t need wipe warmers, changing tables or Diaper Genies. You will change your baby in the trunk of your car or on your carpet or in your bed. Your dog will try to eat the cold, feces-covered wipes. Eventually you will let him because it’s easier.
7. Birthday Presents for Children Under the Age of 2
Find a cardboard box, some packing peanuts and a set of Tupperware and let them at it. This is the perfect opportunity to let friends and family shower your little one with gifts while you procure a new pair of yoga pants.
Not only do you have to purchase the damn thing, you have to put up hundreds of dollars of safety equipment, mats and siding so the neighbor kid doesn’t go flying off and break his leg. Additional homeowners insurance is also a good idea (so I’ve heard).
9. Kid-Marketed Bath Products
Anything with the words chamomile, lavender and calming should trigger warning signs. According to their manufacturers, simply massage the lotion on your baby before bed, and voila, your baby will be lulled into a perfect night’s sleep. Bwahaha. Oh, sorry. Wait, hahaha.
Basically the only time parents are saving money is when our children are sleeping. Sleeping in their themed nursey on their monogrammed pillow, next to their American Girl doll. Sweet dreams, tiny money pit.