I've been tripping over a lot of commentary recently about the expense of raising children, and honestly I have to wonder what on earth some of these so-called experts are buying for their kids. Apparently having children is "one of the most underestimated expenses for couples". Most people spend more than $10,000 during their child's first year, not including daycare, and the experts expect the final bill to average out at $166,549.
As it happens, I was brought up to keep track of my expenses and can quite easily tell you what we've spent so far. Several thousand dollars of our expenses for Elizabeth would definitely fall into the "frivolous" category, such as baby sensory classes, museum subscription, books, art supplies and her playstructure. Despite our best efforts, we still are nowhere near the $10K figure.
Elizabeth's first year? $2460. To date at nineteen months? $5111.
Diapers (both cloth diapers and some disposables that we bought while waiting for Elizabeth to grow into the cloth ones)
Thank you cards
Vitamin D drops
Stroller + infant car seat
2nd stage Car seat
Breast Pump rental
Birth certificate registration
Bottles and sippy cups
Booster seat / highchair
Baby wipes, baby shampoo, nasal bulb, Qtips etc
"Labour kit" items (including a hairdryer)
Clothing (although granted we've been blessed with many gifts and hand-me-downs)
Camping mat for Elizabeth
Baby sensory classes
A two-year subscription to the Museum of Science and Tech / Aviation and Space / Agriculture
And the big ticket item, costing well over half our total spending on Elizabeth: the cedar playstructure extension to our deck and playhouse underneath.
We get a bit closer ($5512 for the first year, $8163 at nineteen months) if you consider that our grocery bill for the year increased $2000 as compared to our five-year average, our electric bill was up $821 and our water bill was up $231. We did keep our house warmer and do a lot more laundry. But the cost of electricity and water also went up very significantly, the number of other people living here increased and we entertained quite a lot more so it's hard to say how much of that is directly attributable to Elizabeth.
We've been very lucky not to have had to purchase many clothes for Elizabeth, but even if we had purchased all her clothing I don't think that's the difference.
Is breastfeeding, cloth diapering and avoiding commercial baby food THAT much cheaper?