Childrearing

Think Of All The Things You Could Do With $235,000 – Besides Having A Baby

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When I hear the estimates that a middle class family spends almost $14,000 a year raising a child, I always think that the numbers must be inflated. It’s just not possible. I can’t be spending that much money on my daughter every year. And what on earth am I going to do with two, should I ever get there?

Then I start adding up daycare costs, which run me $8000 a year. (Yes, I realize that’s nothing compared to larger cities… Yay Midwest.) I thought about the $20 in raspberries my daughter consumes every week, on top of all the other food expenses of course. That’s literally $1040 in berries alone. I’m now thinking very differently about the cartons of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries sitting in my crisper. Let’s not even get started on clothes for my rapidly growing little girl. Once every couple of months and mom, sister and I make a trip to the outlet malls and spend a couple hundred bucks each on new clothes for our growing girls.

Really, when I start to add everything together, $14,000 is probably about right. Which makes $235,000 just to get a kid through high school a realistic number. Realistic and a little astonishing.

Think of all the things you could do with $235,000. Think of all the vacations. My husband and I are talking about an indoor swim spa, because we’d like to be able to swim for exercise year round. For us at the moment, $15,000 seems like too much to pay for an unnecessary house addition. But when you think that it’s just the cost of caring for a child for a year? My husband wants a small private aircraft. It would be completely possible without the cost of a little one.

Parents let’s be real, we never thought about what else we would do with $235,000 before we had kids. In fact, it’s making me think long and hard about my quest to have another. Alright, not really. I still really want another baby, no matter how many luxuries or vacations it means giving up.

But since it’s the weekend and the perfect time for hypotheticals, how about we all take a step back from reality and think about what else we would do with all that money. Don’t feel guilty, I know you don’t want to actually give up your children. But if an additional $235,000 happened to fall into your lap, what would you spend it on, instead of dance lessons, private schools and the latest must-have holiday toy? Let’s all take a moment to imagine ourselves with airplanes and swim spas and touring Italy every couple of years. What would you do with all that kid money?

(Photo: averole/Shutterstock)