Let me start this post with a disclaimer: As a father, I would never advocate having or not having a child based on anything but a desire to start a family. Kids can be a pricey business, but if you are telling yourself “I can’t afford to have kids yet”, you could be waiting for a while. However, unlike weddings, where you can (like we did) go for a cheap option to save yourself waiting forever while you save up, you can’t really do kids “on the cheap”. Well, I wouldn’t want to anyway. So thinking about your finances before baby is born is probably a wise move.
Having said that, I won’t state the obvious by telling you how expensive it can be when stocking up for your child’s imminent arrival. Instead, I wanted to explore a question a few friends and colleagues have asked me recently. Namely: “Having another child must be expensive, right?”…
Now there’s an obvious caveat I should point out here: We’ve not actually GOT a second child yet – at least not out in the open, so to speak. So I could well be very wrong in my assumptions (please do let me know in the comments if I am!) – but having gone through one cycle, I feel reasonably well entitled to opine a little on the costs associated with children.
The reality is – at least for the important first year – having a second child isn’t much more expensive than before. The clear exception to this is maternity leave, and the loss of one parent’s earnings. But there are so many different ways that could happen, there’s no point in me speculating on that. But aside from earnings, the actual COSTS you’ll have to incur for child number 2 are pretty minimal.
I’ll give you some examples, from our own experience and current planning:
- We’ve already got all the necessary furniture and equipment that we need – a moses basket, a cot, changing equipment, car seat, pram, baby monitor, bottles, cutlery etc. So long as you haven’t given all these away between Child 1 and Child 2, this should save you a big chunk of money for starters.
- Provided you don’t mind having your children sharing a room, you won’t need to consider moving house for a while yet. Luckily for us, we’re going to have two boys, so that’s even easier from a room point of view.
- You won’t have to spend much more on food. With the economies of scale that you tend to get with supermarket shopping these days, along with the default position of most product makers to offer things in 4s, your food bills will probably only go up by a tiny amount, if at all.
- Assuming your first child isn’t so protective and/or bad at sharing that they won’t share their old toys, having hand-me-down clothes, toys, books and the like will also save you a bunch of cash which you probably had to fork-out when baby number 1 came along.
- You will already have had to make big changes to your lifestyle, socialising, holidaying and leisure time when the first child came along, and none of this will change with number 2 – so any costs you might incur will stay the same. Holidays will only be marginally more expensive (if at all – flights are the only real extra cost, if that’s the mode of transport you choose).
As I said at the start of this post, there are some obvious exceptions and caveats here. One that I haven’t mentioned so far is the cost of any child-minding you might need for baby number 2, though the scale of this will most-likely depend on the difference in ages of the two children. But given how many other costs you will be saving with number 2, I still think the overall expenditure is going to be a lot smaller than it was the first time out.
If you’ve had two children or more, I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments?