Lifestyle vs baby: you can afford one, but not both

posted 11 months ago in Babies
Post # 2
9610 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

It’s all about priorities. To some people having a baby is absolutely worth cutting out all of that stuff, to some it’s not. I have friends who have multiple kids now and never go out or go on vacation but being a mother was more important to them. I see that and know that if I were in the same situation I’d be miserable but they are happy.

My husband and I have had many discussions about probably only having one kid because we don’t want to cut out vacations and going out occasionally or stop doing our various hobbies. If we didn’t think we’d be able to afford all that plus one kid we’d be reevaluating having kids or at least putting it off until our financial situation was better. That’s part of why we are putting off having kids until we are in our 30s too.

Post # 3
689 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

jamie9025 :  So, not exactly what you’re asking, but we didn’t have another baby because of this. I had a baby at 19 which was obviously not ideal, and I just made it work. My now Darling Husband had his daughter when he was 28 and had a great career and income so he was in a better place to have a baby. Now that we’re doing life together we have a great lifestyle with pretty free spending and lots of extras, and we decided against giving those things up for having a baby together. Other things also factored into our decision like our age and the age of our kids, but it was still a really tough decision and we both sometimes wish for a baby, but we know we made the right decision for us and our existing family. 

I do think, to some extent, that you just make it work after you have kids. You still find ways to treat yourself, eat out, have date nights, etc. I think becoming a parent is such a personal decision and obviously everyone has different priorities. Some may be willing to sacrafice owning a home for a baby, some would say NO WAY. There’s definitely not a one size fits all situation! Also, great discussion topic OP!


Post # 4
837 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2019 - City, State

Not a parent yet, but our household runs on a strict budget. We have multiple bank accounts (at the same and different institutions) to keep things separated. 

That being said, we are on track to having all debts paid off by the time we TTC. With that done, we will have enough income to still enjoy eating out, going to the movies, new clothes, in about the same amount as now, since (in theory) the expenses that a child would have us incur would be somewhat near our sum of outstanding debt payments. I would also be taking a dip in salary if I become a WAHM. 

Post # 5
9729 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

Short answer: for me personally, yes, my child did fulfill me in a way those other things couldn’t and I find that more valuable. 

I would be complete content to give up my hobbies for a few years to be with my kid. My husband on the other hand is the type of person who needs that “escape” on a regular basis. However what we’ve discovered is it really comes down to our personality types. I have always been a homebody, I don’t mind going out but I really don’t crave that sort of thing. I’m perfectly content and happy hanging out around the house. My husband on the other hand is someone who has always been on the go traveling, going to events, meeting up with people. When we had our baby we realized our personalities really didn’t change, I’m content to stay home and play with my baby and he would still like to occasionally (on a much less frequent basis) be able to go out and enjoy some “adult time” here and there. 

Neither one of us regret our choice. Our daughter has been the best decision we’ve ever made, even if it’s meant sacrificing for a while and my husband would agree. But we do strive to find a happy medium where he can still get out every now and then in and I try to join him as well (even if I’d rather stay home) to foster a good solid marriage. 

*** I wanted to add my opinion was 100% different pre-baby. I was convinced I wouldn’t change my lifestyle when I had kids and that I wouldn’t enjoy that sort of life. My views priorities changed as soon as my daughter came on the scene and I’ve had to eat crow.

Post # 6
269 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

jamie9025 :  are there options like higher paying jobs, cheaper hobbies, going back to school to specialize in something to get said higher paying jobs? I had a baby shortly after 22, certainly had no money and I had just graduated with a BA. Now he’s 14, and I have 2 master’s degrees and make well over 6 figures.

Sure, i am not in my 100% ideal field, but it pays the bills very well enough to have a great lifestyle, no regrets. Had to cut out a lot of those things you mentioned above, work a lot, study a lot, but it got done. 

Post # 7
5328 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

This is totally different for every person. If I remember the post you are talking about that poster made it seem like having a baby was the most important thing to her and she was devastated that she couldn’t afford one.  The replies were pretty much along the line of ‘if you’re so devastated don’t spend $600 a month in restaurants’. That wouldn’t be the advice to everyone, but if you want a baby that badly and the choice is between lifestyle and baby then you can pick the baby you are just choosing not to.

Personally I would hope to put off a baby until we have have both. The last thing I want is to be stuck with a young child and not be able to go out for lunch as a family, or day trips or little splurges here and there. Everyone has different priorities and that’s okay.

We will probably end up TTC slightly earlier than we would ideally like to financially. We want to sell our flat in the next year, but a house and start the renovations before we start trying. Ideally we would have all the renovations done but I have fertility problems so we are going to have to risk the baby happening we want to because the more likely scenario is that it will take a few years.

Post # 8
6403 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

We didn’t have a lot before we had children, so there wasn’t much to miss. We planned to TTC, so while I was working we put all of my earnings into savings to “practice” for me being a Stay-At-Home Mom. But we also knew that my Dh’s career was going places and that finances wouldn’t be as tight forever. So by the time the children have been able to remember, we have taken vacations and had money for extras, but that wasn’t the case for the first few years. It was worth it to us, but YMMV, of course. 

Post # 9
506 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Hubby and I were fence sitters for a while, but the financial side of kids helped plant us firmly as childfree. Neither of us make a ton of money (me as a writer and adjunt teacher, him as a park ranger), but we have great benefits through his job and just bought our first house. We are quite happy with our modest lifestyle, but even one kid would push us into a high-stress, paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle that just isn’t worth it to us. Our house only has two bedrooms, so we would be giving up the ability to host guests comfortably, any hope of future vacations, little luxuries like the occasional dinner-and-movie date, and our flexible work schedules that are so important to our time together. 

Parenthood is absolutely worth the sacrifices for many people, just not for us. I have a HUGE amount of respect for the parents who jump through hoops to make it work!

Post # 10
1494 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

As parents, we of course sacrifice for our kids, but I would stop short of martyring myself for my kids. By that I mean I would disagree that you have to forego all extras for yourself, out of the feeling that any extras you provide for yourself is taking away from being able to provide MORE extras for your kid, since there’s only so much money to go around.

In all things there is a balance. Personally I see nothing wrong with, if your family’s frills budget only allows for paying for a babysitter and a date night at a restaurant, or paying for your kid to go to a soccer meet, but not both, that you pick the date night once in a while.  Or if it’s between a latte for you or ice cream cone for your kid, you choose the latte once in a while.  

Because kids also benefit from having happy parents. These emotional extras can be just as if not even more beneficial than material extras. 

Post # 11
809 posts
Busy bee

In my experience it’s not one or the other, it’s compromise. What could be eating out whenever we feel like it, is instead limited to only once a week…what could’ve been a week long vacation to Europe, is instead an extended weekend at the nearest beach or cabin…what used to be a daily latte is now only an occasional splurge.  I don’t think most people have to completely cut out the things they enjoy, they just have to adjust their expectations and turn it down a notch. 

It’s true that relocating is a huge change, however your shot at having biological kids is limited…so I don’t think considering making a big change like that (which can be temporary) is necessarily irrational or too much to ask, if having kids is important to you. 

Post # 12
196 posts
Blushing bee

Being a mom is great but I don’t think I would have chosen it …it chose me haha

but what I can tell you is that while the first couple years feel restrictive and overwhelming (I nursed my daughter for 2 years), I have gotten back to me. I travel, I go out at least once per week, I am planning a trip to Germany for a wedding next year. 

Big vacations take about a year for me to plan now….but I still take one per year. 

For me…it was really important for me to have my life and still be ME and a mom. My daughter sees me get ready to go out, she knows my first name, I tell her about my adventures (I don’t party hard or get wasted so my stories are child safe) ….and I hope that this lets her know that women are more than moms. More than the caretakers….that women have dreams and careers and lives that fulfill them. 

You really can do both. Don’t be afraid. Make yourself, your relationship, and your child priorities and it will balance out. 

Best of luck!!

Post # 13
9729 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

kiram :  This. We can still do all the things we did before, we’ve just adjusted how frequently we do them.

Can we eat out every night between paychecks? No. Can we eat out a couple of times on the weekends? Yes. 

Post # 14
243 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

jamie9025 :  I’m so glad someone made this post. I was just having this conversation with one of my coworkers yesterday. If you are not already particularly well off, having kids means making so many sacrifices financially. And for women, these sacrifices can sometimes also extend to their careers. The friends my age (29+ years) that have started having children are continuing some semblance of a life outside of parenthood by accumulating more debts. One is from well-to-do families so her and her husband get so much financial help. Plus her mother does not work so she has guaranteed free childcare. She’s the exception and not the rule though.

It sounds almost counterintuitive but it seems having kids incredibly young (under the age of 22) is better in the long haul. At that age, you don’t have much and by the time you get to your thirties, you make so much more money, your kids are self reliant and your career/money stream doesn’t take a hit. I want children but I know that for the first 4-5 years, we’ll be living off a very tight budget and will be unable to splurge because of daycare costs. I want 2 kids but as we’re getting closer to TTC, I now understand why so many career women are “One and done” moms. 

It sounds so selfish to say but mothers really make so many sacrifices (unless they have a good support system and partners that make very good income). I wonder how many regret having kids even when they thought they had it all figured out… 

Post # 15
549 posts
Busy bee

Every person and couple looks at this a little differently. I know that I am not willing to give up my lifestyle. Simply not gonna do it. It’s not a money thing, but I can’t do what I want to do with a baby. When I give, I give 110%. So between work, community projects, boards I sit on, animals, travelling and music? I can’t give 110% to a child, also. But I have friends who do very similar things and they chose to have children and make it work for them. One took a less stressful job. One gave up her activities that didn’t have anything to do with her kids. One was lucky enough to be able to quit her job altogether. None of these women is upset or feels like they are missing out. They truly are getting some joy and benefit out of being moms that I simply don’t understand or have a need to feel. So short answer? I believe that a baby fills needs that you don’t even know you have and some of your other needs go away. I only know one woman, personally, and I know a lot, that actually regrets having a child. And she is an amazing mom. But she is stopping at one and she doesn’t enjoy it. 

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