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

posted 10 months ago in Babies
Post # 31
Member
2533 posts
Sugar bee

Darling Husband and I have a very… simple “lifestyle.” Neither of us likes to go out and party or rage anymore. We’re both in our 30’s, afterall. Anything we do now (mostly dinner at friends’ places with a glass or two of wine and some games?) we can do with a child. 

Neither of us is into expensive brands, or constantly taking extravagent trips. Sure, we each splurge on nice things here and there, but it’s just that – a splurge, not a lifestyle.

We live in a place where tourists frequently come, so we don’t feel a HUGE need to travel a lot. 

We live in a HCOL area now, but we don’t take advantage of it at all, and it’s actually an impedement to the outdoorsy lifestyle we each prefer. So we are actually looking forward to moving out to the ‘burbs and being so much closer to outdoor destinations for camping/hiking/skiing/hiking etc.

Basically, our natural lifestyle preferences align perfectly with being parents. Our idea of paradise is taking the dogs and a toddler/child camping and hiking most weekends, and spending the rest of the weekends playing in the creek in the backyard, having living-room get-togethers with friends, play dates, etc. We both love nurturing and being as simplistic as possible with life. I’m glad we don’t feel a need to choose one or the other. 

I should mention – I also do not feel obligated to put money away for college, as most parents do. I grew up in the foster system and put myself through college with jobs and scholarships. Sure, I will put aside what is easily possible for my kids’ future educational goals, but I feel 0% obligated to pay their way. 

So I do not plan to feel guilty about taking me-time, putting work in on my novel, or spending my hard-earned money on myself.

Post # 32
Member
1392 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2020

While we are years away from trying for kids, my husband and I are already planning to live a lifestyle condusive for having them, and one where we live more modest on some things that we’d like, but where we can still travel and keep our indentities. 

I think it’s fine to choose a lifestyle over kids, if that’s what you want. I can also understand how a HCOL area would make it difficult for having children, or delay them. For us, we’re willing and in a good area to be able to make a lifestyle cut back for a few years to have children. To us, they will be worth the sacrifice, and more valuable than any “thing” we could buy. Even if we did live in a HCOL area or moved to one before kids, we would make a plan to be sure we could afford kids, because it’s a priority to us.

Prioritize what you want to. I would choose kids, others would choose lifestyle. There’s no right or wrong answers here – just different ones, and we can’t say what’s going to be right for you personally. 

Post # 33
Member
2485 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

I’m more concerned with giving up sleep opposed to material things or going out. My going out always consists of lunch and dinner dates and the occasional baby showers, birthdays,  and weddings. Dh and I are both very frugal and already limit how much we eat out and spend on frivolous things. I buy all of our clothes on sale as it is, even name brand stuff. We go against pretty much every societal standard and save and spend responsibly. As it stands right now our lives wouldn’t change much besides actually adding another human to our life. We wouldn’t be giving up anything else really besides 100% freedom, sleep, and time. But those things aren’t an issue to me. Even caring for my dog is a responsibility that doesn’t leave us carefree to do whatever we want 100% of the time. If we go on vacation we have to pay a dogsitter even if it’s local but over night. We have to take him to the vet, buy expensive dog food, take him on walks, entertain him, etc. Not as hard as a baby but we don’t have a 100% carefree life as it is and I’m okay with that.

Post # 34
Member
909 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

For me, becoming a mom was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. Nothing that I gave up matters by comparison.

Choice isn’t as clear cut as having to cut out a lot that adds value to your life. People who are really good at saving and handling money don’t necessarily feel like they are doing without. I remember planning a vacation, bringing food along for some meals, getting passes from the library that gave us free or reduced entry into several attractions, and getting a great hotel deal on an online booking site. We chose to drive to a city in our own state that is a tourist destination — no plane fare. We had a great time and it did not feel like a sacrifice, just some planning and inguenuity.

But I lived like this before becoming a mom — cutting corners — and it made my life a lot easier even without kids. I would go to second hand clothing stores in affluent communities (where people donate what were originally quite expensive outfits). Many of the items were good enough to wear to work and no one knew, judging from compliments I would get. My husband and I sometimes order  take out from restaurants and eat it at home, skipping the tip and cost of drinks. It is actually more pleasant to eat in the quiet of our home, so again it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice.

You start out by still trying to get/do what you want but spending less money on them. Once you see how quickly the savings add up, you become more willing to make actual cuts because you start to like having money more than some of the stuff money can buy.

As for an expensive home in  an upscale neighborhood, the financial burden of such a home should be weighed carefully whether you have kids or not.  Taxes  and your mortgage will be high and there is a keep-up-with-theJoneses affect. I  recommend reading a book called  The Millionaire Next Door to find out more about the affect of a neighborhood on wealth accumulation.

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