My husband and I have been married for about a year, and our dream is to someday have a family. Although this hasn’t happened for us just yet, we’ve received this piece of conventional wisdom from our loved ones loud and clear: Children cost money.
In preparation for this huge, long-term expense, my husband and I decided to take a major step: We’ll start contributing the maximum amount allowed to each of our retirement accounts, and see how we do living on a newly tightened budget. We figured this could be practice for if we ever have a family and, of course, acquire all the costs associated with caring for and raising children.
The reality check for us (and others like us): The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the cost of raising a child in 2013 was more than $245,000. Check out this infographic for a snapshot of the costs.
Pondering the huge price tag of raising a child and faced with the savings “practice” exercise my husband proposed, I admit, I felt a tiny pang of reluctance while thinking of all the lovely yet frivolous things I could no longer buy with the “extra” money I have left after paying for my share of the mortgage, bills, groceries, etc. It’s not that I make a lot of these purchases, but it’s nice to know that I could make them if I wanted to: a new upholstered ottoman/coffee table for the living room … a nice new dress to wear to work … the latest hardback book of short stories by my favorite author …
Any of these things could be mine if I wanted them. But this would no longer be the case if I were suddenly saving away half of each paycheck. Fortunately, I’ve survived having to make do with less before and I am really good at window-shopping.
My husband and I realize that it could be a big challenge to increase our contribution to the maximum amount that’s allowed. We also know that it might pinch a bit at first, but our future selves will thank us when we have more savings stored up in our retirement accounts. And maybe, just maybe, so will our future family.
What are some ways you saved or are planning to save for both your retirement and your children?
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