No. of Recommendations: 1
Now that I have my head in the right mindset, I think it's possible that the costs won't be quite as bad (at least for us) as some people have mentioned.

1. Babysitter - Ok, that one's expensive.

2. Education - Public schools are great in our area (moved here on purpose to have good schools). Public in-state university (University Illinois - Champaigne) is also good. Hopefully the costs will stay reasonable.

3. Music, scuba, athletic etc lessons - Those will probably be somewhat expensive, but will be partially offset by the fact that I assume I won't have time to indulge myself quite as much. IE, last year I spent 12k on scuba lessons. I spent many nights and weekends diving and taking lessons, won't be doing that with kids.

4. Vacations - My wife and I knew that once we had kids we'd have less free time (and free cash), and all the adults around us told us to take advantage of our temporary cash/freedom. In the last few years we went to Grand Cayman, Kauai, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Bahamas, and Florida. When I grew up my family took all their vacations in Wisconsin, we have a couple houses lakeside that I grew up with. It's the 100% perfect place to vacation with kids and I'm certain we'll do the same thing. Sit on the beach with a book, watch kids swim/fish. Take them on canoe trips, water skiing, snorkling, and sit around a campfire at night. All for the cost of gas and property taxes :)

5. Food - I very recently put my wife and myself on a restaurant budget (partly for the money, partly for my increasing waistline). We were spending well over 1k per month on restaurant bills. I would absolutely hate myself if I took my kids out to eat very often, I think it's important to have family time (and eat healthy) especially when they're young. So now that we're getting used to eating in more, that will cut more from our budget.

6. Clothing - Hopefully we'll have boys :) That's a cost that can't be avoided too much. Hand-me-downs will work sometimes, but oh well, it's a cost :)

Just a final disclaimer. This is not a "how much do kids cost because I want to decide if we should have them or not". Here's the exact reasoning:

I have a spreadsheet that goes month by month until I'm 100 years old. I use formulas to calculate increases in spending, income, investments etc. I update it on the 1st of the month with how much each specific account/investment has in it, how much our salaries are, and everything else. While I know it's incredibly inaccurate even looking towards retirement, I figure as each month goes past I'll get a better picture of our financial situation.

I found this especially helps when I'm looking 30 years down the road. I start putting an extra 100 per month into a drip, and 30 years down the road it makes a pretty substantial impact on our finances. So I wanted to be able to make at least a few guesses as to how much children will cost. It could be 75% off, but it will be better than putting question marks across the spreadsheet in 3 years (or however long it will be before we have kids). As time goes along, I think the spreadsheet will be very interesting to look back on. Theoretically I'd love to look at this when I'm 80 and say "look grandkids, see how planning helps you? I'm so rich that I could buy you all cars, but I won't" and then I can cackle a little.
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