Yes, I think we are.
Every year or so, someone writes a piece on how expensive it is to have kids. The latest story from the US says middle-income couples will have to spend around US$250,000 to raise a child to the age of 18. The writer lists 20 things that are cheaper than a child – like, a ticket to outer space – and says it should be “perfectly acceptable to refuse to have a child simply because you can’t afford to do so”.
Well, yes. But…
I have two young kids, and I swear, they actually save me money. A few examples.
My husband and I used to go overseas to visit family every few years. We don’t do that anymore. We had an overseas holiday planned a couple of years ago, and then, after a hellish flight interstate, my husband begged me to not put him through the torture that is long-haul travel with kids. We cancelled the holiday plans.
I used to be a very sociable social drinker. In fact, my boss guessed I was pregnant when I was only a month along because she saw me sip something non-alcoholic at the pub. It was a huge personal sacrifice, but I gave up alcohol when I was pregnant and hardly drank any when I was breastfeeding. I must have saved heaps of money. (And maybe my liver too.)
Once, my husband and I might have gone to see a play on a weekend. Now, we go to a playground. Once we might have gone to a music festival. Now, we go to any free community event that involves a petting zoo. Once, eating out meant trying a cool new restaurant. Now, it means anywhere with a kids' play area. Money in the bank.
Okay, I'm only half serious. Of course, my kids cost me money. But I'm a bit dubious about these articles that give the impression you have to be fabulously wealthy to afford kids. An Australian report a little while back claimed it cost the average middle-income family $812,000 to bring up two children. That's scary. And off-putting.