Dry Cleaning or Diaper Changing?

When you are single, you live the life where money doesn’t matter – dry cleaning, sushi take-out, but diaper changing? That was never even a thought. Getting married and having kids brings a whole lot of expenses with it. But does having a family life mean you have to have a poor life?

My wife and I decided that we wanted to start having kids early in our marriage because we had gotten married later (in Utah terms 30 is old). We also were ready to have kids and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. When you’re having kids though, there are some things to think about that come with them – the expenses.

What are you driving?

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Do you currently own a small compact car? I get it, you can totally fit a kid in there and it’s completely fine, but how many kids do you want? We want to have four kids and that car just wasn’t going to work with our growing family. An upgrade had to happen and we were fortunate enough to find a minivan at a great price.

When I was single and had a car the last thing I was thinking about was owning a minivan. As a single person the last thing you need is a huge vehicle to carry the entire bunch. You want to be the one driving the 2-seater because it’s all about status at that point in life. I get it!

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Fast forward to having a family and needing to get a family vehicle. Granted, when you are picking a family vehicle there are so many bells and whistles that can come with it. Do you need all those? Yeah we could have had the entertainment center in there, but is it necessary. What are the things that you have to have? We needed more seats, space and when going to Costco we didn’t want to have groceries on our laps anymore. You don’t have to have all the bells and whistles. They cost more money and you were just fine without them, right?

Diapers cost how much?

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As a single person, a weekend night I would easily spend $50 or more on dinner, a movie and just a fun night out with friends. I would go out and just spend money on anything and everything not worrying about a care in the world. What was 50 bucks? Nothing! It never crossed my mind to think about saving some of those Grants (aka the 50 dollar bills) for all the diapers that I would be buying later.

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I would have never thought that the item that is just holding our kids crap in it would really cost so much a month. Thankfully, we have one potty trained child which has cut costs, but still. We get ours at Costco, so they are totally in bulk. A pack of 192 diapers costs $29.99 and a box of 900 wipes costs $19.99, equaling about $50 a month at least.

That is $50 that is literally just going down the drain. There isn’t a way around it except potty training, but I definitely don’t think we are ready for that yet with our daughter.

Is it worth it all?

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Is that even a question? A family is completely worth every penny. I would do whatever I needed to for my family. I love them so much and love the many memories that we make together every single day. Yeah, with a family comes the stress of cost, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t change a thing. You learn that becoming a parent brings much responsibility. It’s time to stop buying things for you and start focusing on what’s important.

Ten years flies by and you never know what the future has in store for you. I was the guy basically living in the mall spending every penny on mindless things.  Now I am doing everything I can to support my family of four. And it’s only been four years! Six more years and who knows what else life has in store for us.

Yeah it’s stressful! You feel like all the weight of family life is on your shoulders by bringing in the income for your family. We made the decision that we wouldn’t have someone else raise our kids and doing daycare, so my wife could stay at home. It’s hard not having two incomes, but it’s totally worth it. I am thankful for that choice we made from the beginning. Let’s just see the rest of life’s adventure has in store for us.

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