Let’s say you are seriously considering taking the plunge into parenthood. Perhaps you have already done something stupid like gotten yourself or your partner knocked up. (Sucker.) Certainly, doing what’s best for your child is your top priority. However, like nearly every other parent faced with this decision, your mind quickly shifts to finances:
Can we afford a baby?
It’s a question you will fearfully ponder for months. Perhaps you’ll make spreadsheets. Perhaps you and your partner will decide what little luxuries or conveniences you are willing to sacrifice. But, have no fear: Having children might actually SAVE you money! How?
1. TOILETRIES: Once you become a parent, you will seldom have a free minute to shower and brush your teeth, let alone use deodorant, a razor, deep conditioning treatments, or beauty balm. You can count on using only about 1/8 of any personal hygiene products you used as a well-groomed, fully functional member of society once baby arrives. Less if you have multiples.
2. CLOTHING: The next time you actually need well-made, tailored clothing will be the kid’s graduation or your own funeral; whichever occurs first. Until said time, you will rotate the same four pairs of yoga/sweat pants and six tee-shirts for EVERYTHING, EVERYDAY. You will exercise in them. You will spend the day in them. At night you will put on a fresh set and sleep in them.
Even if you return to work outside of the home, you will wear machine washable, wrinkle resistant clothing. You will no longer have any need for dry-cleaners, tailors, or even accessories. Sure, one day you new mommies might slip into a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans and a nice silk blouse in an attempt to pull yourself out of the emotionally draining, life-sucking vortex that is motherhood. Then, the kid will puke on you and you will NEVER make that mistake again.
3. HOUSEHOLD MAINTENANCE AND DECOR: Your house WILL be TRASHED. It doesn’t matter if you have one baby or triplets; if you have a boy or a girl. Your house will look like shit by the time your little bundle of joy celebrates their first birthday: Baby gates, toys, yogurt splatters, vomit, poop on the baseboard moulding, fingerprints… EVERYWHERE! You will no longer have the time or energy to trawl your favorite stores for charming household decor or fabulous surround sound system upgrades. Resign yourself to the fact that you will likely just wait for the kid to turn 18, burn whatever is left, and start over.
4. SOCIAL LIFE: Pre-baby, did you have routine happy hours with friends or colleagues from work? Did you have brunch and get a mani with a girlfriend every Sunday morning? Did you play golf twice a week? Did you enjoy movies or concerts with your partner? Fancy dinners at the “hottest” restaurants? DONE. Slash that healthy, happy, relaxing “me-time” shit from your budget. It ain’t happenin.’
5. ENTERTAINMENT & HOBBIES: Do you enjoy TV, using the phone, reading books or magazines? Maybe you love watching movies in bed? Embroidery? Stamp Collecting? Painting? Baking? I’m sorry to break it to you but you might as well just cut the budget for your personal entertainment and hobbies to near. You’re not going to have ANY time to use the phone, watch TV, read magazines or books. Cancel your landline. Cancel the premium cable package. Cut your magazine subscriptions by three-quarters.
6. SEX: If prior to conceiving you were using birth control, you can save your money after the baby arrives because the baby is the birth control. The crying, the feeding, the sleepless nights. Heaven really help you if you choose to co-sleep.
7. FOOD & DINING: For months, you don’t want to take the newborn into a crummy restaurant where s/he could come in contact with the filthy public. Shortly thereafter, you don’t want to subject the filthy public or crummy restaurant staff to your raging toddler.
But what about cooking fresh organic meals at home? We want to serve our baby only the best quality food and that can be expensive.
Trust me, after your kid goes on hunger strike and refuses to eat anything that is NOT orange or heavily salted for three weeks straight, you won’t give a damn. You’ll feed your kid ANYTHING, even if it’s canned soup and generic potato chips.
8. TRAVEL: BAH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! It’s hard enough to get across town. I DARE you to book a week-long vacation. Good luck, sucka! Traveling with children sucks. It’s a waste of money. Trust me, stay home and be miserable. It’s way more cost-effective.
9. THE MAID: I’m sure a lot of you dual income, no child folks have some sort of help in the housekeeping department. Perhaps you have a cleaning service that comes on a periodic basis to do the heavy lifting – vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, etc while you and your significant other are busy jetting off to some fabulous location for the weekend. After kids? NO MORE HOUSEKEEPING! It will save you a mint! Scheduling a time for someone to come into your home and run the vacuum is nearly impossible with a baby’s erratic sleep schedule. Once the child is older, your home will such a disgusting disaster you won’t even want a PROFESSIONAL CLEANING SERVICE to see it! You might not be convinced yet, but trust me, the first time you catch yourself pre-cleaning – scraping chunks of snot and yogurt off the appliances, desperately searching for huge crumbs in corners so obscure the dog couldn’t even locate them – you’ll realize the maid is an unnecessary expenditure. The house will only remain clean for approximately 30 seconds anyway.
However, should you happen to be a bit of a neat freak, never fear! Kids = free labor! You might be able to get some help with the housekeeping if you convince them cleaning is a game. Their tiny little hands are perfect for picking crumbs off the carpet. Make it a counting game! Kids love novelty. Give them a stupid-looking hat and a toilet brush and see what happens… Sure, 7 out of 10 times they will probably try to brush the cat or their own teeth with it, but 30% of the time, they might actually clean the damn toilet.
10. TAXES: Everyone knows kids are a HUGE tax deduction. The more you have, the more tax deductions you get. It’s as if you get paid by the government to procreate! What are we waiting for?!
There you have it: 10 extremely useful ways having children actually SAVES you money! I hope you found it helpful. Now, go edit your spreadsheets! Maybe you’ll even find a few extra pennies for some cheap booze or a lottery ticket! If not now, just wait for your next tax return.