Is a combined income of 90k a year enough to raise a family?

posted 2 years ago in Money
Post # 16
7470 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

Depending on the location in the Midwest, it is certainly possible to provide the necessities for a family on $90K a year. But it depends on the sort of life you want to lead and the sort of opportunities you want to provide for your children, too. $90K will likely not leave a lot for extras, vacations or savings for education. Having 3 or 4 children is expensive, especially if those children are involved in school activities. There are fees for sports, instrument rentals, school trips and most extra-curriculars. There are now club t-shirts and sweatshirts for most extracurricular activities, and while they aren’t a necessity, most kids do buy them.

And all of that doesn’t take into account school supplies for each child every year, including gym shoes and clothes in addition to clothing to wear to school. It doesn’t count things like providing swimming lessons or having bicycles for the kids or out-of-school activities like karate or summer camps or lessons for things they’re interested in.

So having and providing for the basics can be done, but is that what you want for yourself and your children? Do you want to have to tell them that you cannot afford for them to play football because of the fees and the travel? Do you want to be unable to help them with post-secondary education? Do you want them to have fewer opportunities because you chose to have more children instead of providing more for fewer? Many people do, but it wouldn’t be my choice.

Post # 17
1027 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

you say combined income. How much is he making? Will you have loans? My hubby makes 90k base and I’m a sahm with one kiddo. It’s doable, but we still need to be smart. It would be very tight for us to have 3 on his income. Also factor in cost of daycare. Daycare for 3 kids would be a ton! 

Post # 18
5582 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

We make just under $100k before taxes and health insurance and all that. Our biggest expense is daycare. Daycare for our daughter is $1k a month. Our mortgage is the next largest. We just added a car payment as well as a loan for a new furnace, on top of my student loans and some other debt.

We are comfortable, I’m looking forward to a decrease in temporary expenses, but we plan to have another baby. We will save the daycare expense for about a year when my daughter starts prek and then try for another baby

I’m not sure how you plan to put 3 or 4 kids into daycare if you are both working. That would be the first place I would look, is what daycare costs and then how many I could put into daycare at a time. Our spacing between our daughter and baby number two is soley based on daycare. That’s the only thing stopping us from baby number two 

Post # 19
5582 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

You aren’t contributing at the moment due to school, are you assuming when you find a job you will be making $90k a year together? Are you looking at the market for jobs in your field and coming up with an estimated income for you?

Post # 20
1597 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Location

For me personally, no. Some reasons:

-I live in a relatively high COL area. Our starter townhouse cost 650k. 

-Daycare is 1500/month per kid.

-We travel internationally a lot and plan to continue that with kids (once they’re like 4+).

-We are admittedly high maintenance. We enjoy going out to eat, nice clothes, electronics, housewares, etc. We want the kids to be able to play sports and do fun stuff. 

Basically we don’t want our higher-end lifestyle to change too much. But is this NECESSARY for survival? No. You could get by on way less. It comes down to personal choices.

Post # 21
9806 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

View original reply
longatlast :  I live in the midwest.  I live in a city (suburbs), rural areas are cheaper.

I would say yes but there are some things to think about.  Biggest is childcare.  If you will make $90k combined then that means both will work full time?  So who will watch the kids?  Even on $90k, you should be able to pay for daycare for at least two kids.  For 3 to 4 things will be much tighter.  However, if you have family nearby that will watch fulltime then that solves a lot of issues.

Healthcare costs are next.  You would have to see how much it costs to add kids per month to the health insurance.

You could space them out a lot more so you don’t have more than 2 at a time in daycare as well.

If you’re in a rural area making that much things go a lot farther as well.

What will your debts be like?  You definitely don’t want credit card debt or any of that to start with.

I pay $25-$26k a year for a 4 year old and 2 year old (not potty trained as he just turned 2) to attend a nice daycare center (and it’s not the “best” in the area for sure but it’s nice and definitely not the worst/cheapest either).  I’ve had fairly good insurance but it’s been roughly ~$200/mo to add children to it.  Then add additional expenses like copays or sick visits.

With 2 kids I would be more comfortable around $100k personally but everyone’s situation is different.  Also, there is no rule you have to have 3-4.  Just have one and go from there.

Post # 22
2445 posts
Buzzing bee

I think that really depends on how you manage finances and where you live. I *live* in the Midwest, but near Chicago, so the cost of living is pretty high. If you manage your money well you can make it work but you will probably have to make some sacrifices. 

Post # 23
10372 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL

View original reply
longatlast :  It depends. How much will your mortgage be? How much will your student loans be? How much is daycare – will you need it full time? Will there be multiple kids in daycare at once? How do you plan to space them out? Do you foresee having fertility problems and needing to pay for IUI or IVF? Will you be a stay at home mom for any period of time? What about car payments, insurance, misc. bills. No one can answer this but you.

Post # 24
338 posts
Helper bee

Everyone is different based on situation. I live in the midwest but in high COL near Chicago. 

Do you have any debt? How much?

Do you have house/car paid off?

How old are you? 

Do you have family who can help with childcare?

Do you have enough savings for retirement?

Do you plan to pay any or all of your kids college tuition?

Will you have to support ageing parents?


Post # 25
460 posts
Helper bee

I live in Canada so take this with a grain of salt….

If you want to have money for vacations, extracurricular activities, retirement funds, extra investments, and college funds it could be rather difficult to raise a larger family on that income. 

Would you consider having less children? I know that might not be an option that you would be happy with but it could be worth looking at. Another possibility is spacing your children enough  that you could take time to save or receive raises. 

Post # 26
1547 posts
Bumble bee

We live in Minnesota. My husband makes 62k a year and im a Stay-At-Home Mom to a 3 month old so luckily we have no daycare costs. We rent, share 1 old car, shop at Aldi and are generally frugal but we still live comfortably, eat out occassionally and have 3 vacations within the US planned for this year (travel is a big priority to us, we do it often but not luxuriously). We have plans for another baby in a couple years. It depends where in the midwest you are but 90k a year is definitely doable considering the median household income is 61k in the US. 

Post # 27
3033 posts
Sugar bee

I am from the midwest so I would say, yes, it is doable. 

I know plenty of people who make that much and still are comfortable. With that being said, I would be mainly concerned with your mortgage-to-income ratio and things like cars, vacations, eating out, etc. If those things are under control it can be doable. 

Like PP said, this is a very personal question and only you know the answer. 

Post # 28
585 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2020 - Summer Camp!

3-4 kids is a lot, especially with what college tuition is nowadays (although hopefully that will change of we elect the right people). That’s a lot of food, and if you have 4 kids and all want to go on a trip, you’ll have to get minivan to cart everyone around (think about the cost of gas!). Plus there’s the issue of divining your time, and expenses do they can participate in music/art lessons, sports/martial arts/dance, etc. Can you raise a family with 90k? Sure. A large family? I think they’d be missing out a bit unless one of you was making 90k and the other was a SAH parent, or if they have exceptionally supportive grandparents in the area. 

Post # 29
1409 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2020

My mom raised 3 kids, on her own, on an income for $35k a year. We definitely weren’t well off, but she was able to pay off all debts, then build a house, and took us on big vacations every other year.

I plan to raise 3 kids on 60-70k here in the Midwest and forsee no issues arisimg from that.

So yes, you can raise 4 kids on 90k. 

Post # 30
569 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

As others have said, I think it depends on you, how you manage and spend your money, what your debt looks like, and how you plan to shape your life.  My Brother-In-Law and SIL had a single income family when their daughter was born making around 90k. They have no debt aside from their mortgage payment, but ended up having a child spending two weeks in the NICU and that required a lot of therapy. In addition, they had a surprise home issue that cost them 35k. They made it work, but they had to cut a lot of corners and really save- no vacations, no date nights, frugal grocery shopping and no new clothes etc aside from the baby who wore all second hand or donated items (including car seats and strollers etc). If they had had more than just one child, I think they would have really struggled- in particular if they had added school expenses or any additional unexpected expenses.  So, just up to you. Maybe start with 1 and see how it goes 😄

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