Ways You View Finances Differently When You Become A Mom
Most parents—the responsible ones—calculate roughly what it will cost to have a child before having one. They understand that those costs will change (translation: increase) with each passing year as kids schooling gets more expensive, as children want things like piano lessons, and as that dreadful college tuition comes rolling around. They prepare. They organize. They start a couple of investment funds so that that money can hopefully help with college one day, just in case their salaries don’t, you know, quadruple. But even the best of planners who are in good financial shape can’t help but look at finances differently once they have kids. Having a child puts so much into perspective, including the way money is spent.
Your professional time vs the nanny’s time
The cost of childcare can be the first financial wakeup call for parents, with full-time care costing anywhere from $2,000 a month on the low-end, should you go with a daycare option, to well over $3,500 a month if you’re paying the salary of a full-time nanny. Then you start to think: wait a minute, this nanny makes almost as much as I do. Should I just stop working and be the full-time childcare? Most career moms won’t make that choice, but it certainly crosses one’s mind.
Your personal time vs the nanny’s time
When you want to hire a nanny or babysitter for those little special outings—like when you just want to go have lunch with friends or get a mani/pedi—you really stop and ask yourself if it’s worth it. You won’t just be spending $40, with tip, on that mani/pedi, but you’ll also pay the nanny $30 for the couple of hours you’re away. That just became a $70 mani/pedi. Is it worth it?
Nice things seem ridiculous
You start to find nice things absolutely ridiculous. You go to a friend’s house, and she points out a new designer table she has. But you can’t put anything that weighs more than three pounds on it or it may break and you really shouldn’t wear jewelry near it since it can scratch. What is the point of this thing?
Restaurant kid’s menu prices astound you
When you didn’t have kids, you used to think the kid’s menu looked like a great deal. You could get a $9 lunch on there. Now you’re thinking, “Ten bucks for a grilled cheese and juice?! I can make ten grilled cheeses for ten bucks at home!”
Also, why can’t you order off the kid’s menu?
Also, now you want more than ever to order off the kid’s menu. And you do. You don’t officially, since you aren’t allowed to, but you just say that your kid wants two grilled cheese sandwiches—hungry boy he is—and just an iced tea for you. Then you eat his second sandwich when the server isn’t looking.
You fiercely pursue more pay
Perhaps before, you were meek about asking for a raise. “Who am I to want more money” you’d think, and other reasons women don’t ask for raises enough. Now, with $2,000 a month in childcare, plus many other expenses hanging over your head, and your cute little angel’s face in mind, you have no problem demanding more pay.
Also, your savings just got obliterated
This is a mistake many parents make in calculating finances. They can think, “Well, I put away an extra $1,800 a month now, so I can afford a kid,” but they forget that it’s important to always be saving. That kid will obliterate those savings, and the only way to continue to save is to make more money.
And you actually need to save more
You don’t just need to get your savings at least back up to what they were pre-baby, but you need to get them even higher. You never want to have to say “No” to something your child wants. You don’t want to spoil your kids, of course, but you would never want them to feel like they were lacking something.
When friends have expensive events
You’re truly getting fed up with friends wanting to go to Vegas for their birthday or go to Europe for a bachelorette party. When did these events become so elaborate? “Don’t they know some of us have kids to support?” you think.
Many friends’ purchases bother you
Even just the way some of your friends spend money on their own disturbs you. You have one friend who orders delivery almost every day. Doesn’t she realize that she could make herself food for three days for the price she spends on one delivery meal? She could feed your whole family on what she pays for one delivery meal.
Clothes are disposable
You start to find designer clothes truly insulting. You now see how disposable clothes are. You have all of these maternity clothes that you’ll never wear again. Your babies are growing out of their rompers when you just blink an eye. Your regular clothes are all covered in crayon and vomit. How does someone justify spending $60 on a t-shirt?
You protect those coupons
You can’t believe how much you disregarded coupons in the past. Well, you didn’t go through laundry detergent and paper towels and milk at the light speed rate you do now. Now, you know that holding onto every $1-off coupon that comes your way adds up.
You only spend money on true loved ones
You’ve started to evaluate your relationships. Your time and money are precious, so you’re just not going to an expensive brunch with people you only sort of like anymore. You only shell out big bucks to do something with people you really love.
When you had more disposable income, you convinced yourself that the brand name cheese tasted better than the generic cheese. Now you know there is no difference—well, besides the $4 price difference.
Except for some things—never generic
There are some exceptions to the everything-generic rule, since there are some things you just must have the best of for your baby. Maybe it’s shampoo, because he has sensitive skin, or vitamins, because you’ve found a lot that don’t seem to do a damn thing.