Monday, January 27, 2014

It's Not All About the Benjamins

How much does it cost to have a second child?

I googled that phrase and came up with a couple helpful, though slightly dated, articles (here and here).  The bad news, which you may have suspected, is that it does in fact cost more to have a second child.  Hopefully, this doesn't blow your mind.  You'll spend more on childcare, clothing, gear, diapers, food, college savings and health insurance, to name the obvious ones.

My original intent for this post was to delve into each considerations in some detail.  How much does childcare go up?  Answer - Not double, but a bunch more.  Can you reuse baby number one's clothes for baby number two?  Answer - Depends on the physical similarities of your kids (weight and height) and the similarity of the seasons (winter baby versus summer baby) and their gender (some people don't want to dress their boys in pink Bambi pajamas).

Speaking of pink Bambi pajamas...the above are currently on sale at Baby Cottons, hence the blue sale sign

I quickly realized that too many financial considerations will differ on a family-by-family basis.  Not everyone uses childcare and some first borns will be out of diapers by the time their sibling is born.  I also quickly realized that this subject is a tad depressing and could, potentially, scare a type A person like myself away from having a second child.  I mean, not really.  But it could add an unnecessary level of stress to the whole thing.

Being pregnant while caring for a toddler is something I have not experienced, but I can imagine that it's tricky and a bit intense.  Just being pregnant was tricky and a bit intense at times.  Preparing yourself and your family for the new member is a huge job.  There are a lot balls to juggle with money being one of many.

While I'm not suggesting to stick your head in the sand and ignore the financial implications of a second child, I do think that money is just a piece of the puzzle.  And, perhaps, not the most important piece.  Moreover, no amount of Excel spreadsheeting is going to give you a precise dollar amount because for all the tangible considerations there are at least as many intangible considerations that you can't even predict.  You might end up having a boy in July and your cousin had a boy in July two years ago.  Bam, full wardrobe immediately accomplished.  Your co-worker ends up getting pregnant around the same time as you and wants to go in on a nanny share when the babies are born.  It will cost you half as much as the daycare you had been using for your first born.  You might get ballsy and give cloth diapers a whirl.

I envisioned myself using gDiapers with my daughter.
My mother even gifted me the washable outers and some inserts at my baby shower.
Never happened.  Not once.

Thinking about how much money your second child is going to set you back is responsible.  It's good parenting.  But, plotting it out to the penny, stressing out, preemptively selling your second car, is probably not productive.  It might actually be more harmful than helpful.   So, think about the money, but not too much and not too hard.

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