Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Costs of Kids

Just a portion of the goodies needed for school.

Years ago, when we only had two little ones, my then childless brother (the finance major/planner/prudent saver) inquired about our biggest expenses with kids.

I bemoaned the costs of diapers and baby food.  At the time, it certainly felt like we were shelling out oodles of money between the two.  Many years and a couple of kids later, I miss the "good old" days where our biggest expenses were diapers and baby food. Times have certainly changed.

They say the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is $226,920 (not including college costs).  If anyone questions that figure, they have yet to purchase school supplies.

Today, I tackled the school supply list.  Last year I waited until August.  Big mistake.  The school supply aisles sat bare.  They resembled the Halloween candy aisles on October 30th with only a few unpopular choices still lining the shelves.  Not to be repeated, I decided to beat the rush and hit Target early.

I walked into store clutching school supply lists.  I wondered when supply lists began to resemble the Webster's Dictionary?  Gone are the days when kids only needed an 8-pack of Crayola crayons and Elmer's Glue.  Now, the school requires (per child) head phones, snacks, 36 sharpened pencils, multiple kleenex boxes, and on and on.

I tossed item after item into my cart, fretting along the way.  The list requested "children's scissors."  Does that mean: safety, pointed, precision tip, soft grip, blunt tip, left-handed?  Do they really mean Crayola crayons?  Can't I just purchase the generic (cheaper) kind?

By the time I crossed off the last item, I was spent (and so was my money).  As I lamented the costs of the items to my husband, I thought about how someday I might miss this "meager" expense when they go to college.


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