Post # 1
I’ve had overwhelming support in my whole wedding drama, but I think it’s finally behind me (or at least, I’m finally ignoring people who keep dredging it up). But now, I have a new question regarding the next step: kids.
We aren’t trying, but we aren’t preventing right now either. However, I recently read an article that said Maryland is the fifth most expensive state in the country for childcare (costs more than college – link: http://patch.com/maryland/annapolis/daycare-more-expensive-college-maryland-study-finds), and I started looking into it – and freaking out now. Perhaps I was naive, but I had no idea!
I’m debating going back on birth control because there’s no way we could afford day care at an average of $1100/month – not in addition to our mortgage and student loans. We both work for the county schools, and make a decent living, so I’m very much at a loss as to how people afford having young children. We’ve considered adoption, but now I’m wondering if we should insist on a school-age child (that sounds terrible, but at the same time, those kids need love and family as much as the babies and toddlers up for adoption). I know that that comes with its own costs as well, though.
The heartbreaking part is that we had finally decided that we want kids and it was about time… and now I feel like we have to give that up because we just live somewhere too expensive on teacher salaries. We don’t have credit card debt; our only major expenses are the mortgage (for a modest townhome) and student loans – and yet, this choice may be made for us regardless. I’ve done the math over and over and over again, even with tax breaks for dependents, seeing what would happen if either of us went part-time or stay-at-home… nothing works. Moving somewhere else isn’t an option.
Please – am I missing something? How do people afford to have young children? Thanks as always!
This topic was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by sushiroll84.
Post # 2
I feel you. I love in NOVA in one of the most expensive counties in the region. My neighbors have told me they spend approximately $3k per month on childcare, and I found out by talking to other friends/colleagues with kids that the $3k figure is a rough estimate, but pretty accurate as a median.
We have a mortgage and student loans as well. We both have good salaries, but I’m at a loss for how someone affords childcare. I think that’s why most of my neighbors and friends with kids didn’t have them until mid-30s…because it’s honestly an enormous financial burden for someone in this area to juggle along with student loans and other responsibilities.
I have no real advice for you, but wanted to share a commiserating experience.
Post # 3
Wel lived in Vancouver, which has a crazy high cost of living. And I wanted to be a Stay-At-Home Mom, so we moved. I know you say it isn’t an option, but it is always an option. There was no way I was not having kids just because of money. Do I LOVE where we live now? No. But I like it, and my kids love it, lol. And we can afford to live here on one salary.
That said, kids are bloody epensive! When they aren’t in daycare they are in extra-curricular things that cost a lot, and around that time they start to care about clothes, and constantly need new shoes, and dental appointments, and you want to take them to the zoo or camping… and it really just never stops. So how do people do it? I am not sure, but my husband and I buy very select things for oursleves or go out to eat. And we have not gone on a vacation that we fly to in 5 years. Who would want to take 3 kids on a plan though anyway, lol.
Post # 4
Moving is not an option for us. My husband won’t leave this area, so if I wanted to move I would be doing it on my own, which would negate the whole having children option in the first place. There are many reasons he won’t leave – predominantly his family and work situation (which would take too long to explain here but suffice to say that if we moved, it would be highly unlikely that he could find a similar position in regards to salary and benefits). I personally don’t love it here, and I’ve moved around my entire life. But I do love him and our relationship, so if he can’t move, then I can’t move.
Post # 5
Home daycares are sometimes a little less, or if you have friends with children maybe you could nanny share? But yeah, child care costs suck. If your DH won’t leave the area I guess that it would be time for some hard conversations.
Post # 6
Also keep in mind that while kids add some expenses they also mean you’ll be giving some up. You’ll be eating out less, vacationing less, you can cancel cable since you don’t have time for it anyways, and probably a few other things. I’m in Boston and our friends spend more on daycare than their mortgage and none of us are wealthy.
Also remember babies don’t need as much as marketers would want you to believe and MANY things can be found in great used condition for a low cost (or even free) if you tap your networks and community.
Post # 7
How old are you? Do either of your jobs have opportunity for pay increases? Can you wait and save up for a few years?
Post # 8
How much do you owe on your student loans? Is it possible to accerlate payments to get rid of them faster?
Also, if you cannot afford child care, my guess is that adoption would be out of the question, given it is so expensive (unless you do foster-adopt).
If you aren’t willing to move, then I would suggest considering the following:
- Both getting second jobs to stock pile as much money as possible for 1-2 years
- Cut your budget as much as possible to save 6-12 months of child care expenses before event starting TTC
- Changing careers to make more money (or asking for raises)
- Looking in nanny shares to save on child care–or consider becoming a nanny so you can make money and watch your child at the same time
- Ask if family members or friends can maybe help a few days a week with lower cost child care
- Selling your current home and moving to a cheaper place (or keeping first place as a rental if possible)
- Refinancing your student loans to get a lower interest rate or payment
Also, take into account that there are some “start up expenses” depending on your insurance. For example, out of pocket max and birth expenses. For my plan, the estimate is $2,700 out of pocket (after a $500 deductible).
FWIW, child care in our area cost about $900-$1,200 a month. Our plan is to save up $5,000 before we even TTC. That will cover out of pocket max, nursery and for some child care.
Post # 9
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
There is a reason why the average age to have a first child in this area is 30-35. People agressively pay down student loans and put off having kids until that bill has been eliminated.
We live in the DC area and pay $1700 per month for infant care.
Post # 10
Well, if you can’t lower your expenses, the other option is to try to make more money. Can you take on some tutoring after school or summer work to supplement your income and build up a nest egg? Is there a cheaper area in your general region where you could move, maybe a little further out?
Have you looked into actual daycares in your area—not just prices quoted in an article, but what are the actual costs quoted by providers you might use? Since his family is close, could they help out with childcare?
Post # 11
We both already work two jobs. I owe about $60,000 still on student loans between undergrad, graduate, and my Ph.D. -he owes significantly less (About 5K). Switching jobs would essentially mean that my doctorate was a waste of time – I need to stay in education to make it worthwhile, plus I really just genuinely enjoy my job. I can’t ask for a raise as a public servant – in fact, the Board of Ed recently voted to not give us our raises this year but to give themselves a 17% raise. I have tried to refinance loans, and they keep telling me they can’t help me until I have a child.
We just bought the house two years ago, and we need to stay for at least five years because we’re first time homeowners and our loan stipulates that. A cheaper house in this area would be hard to find though.
The good news with adoption in Maryland – at least as far as I’ve read and researched – is that the costs can go down significantly if we adopt from Maryland foster homes (not private adoption) and ask for an older child.
Post # 12
All of his family in the area works the same hours that we do. My family is 3000 miles away. We both work two jobs already, as well as sponsor activities at our schools that collect a stipend. On an average day, I tend to work 14-16 hours – I’m trying to get my student loans paid off as quickly as I can. But I just don’t see how that schedule would be possible to maintain if also trying to raise a child. I work in the summer and all school year. The longest break I’ve had since I started teaching is four days over last winter break to visit my brother in Seattle. Otherwise I’m doing what I can to supplement income to pay off loans and mortgage. Today is actually my last day off until August 3. The last day I took off was my wedding day – April 1. I’m not sure what else I can do to bring income in because the hours in the day just aren’t there.
And yes, I’ve looked into actual day cares. In fact, our next door neighbor runs a day care out of her house which would be amazing in terms of convenience but we couldn’t afford her.
Post # 13
We’re both 32 – and not looking to wait too much longer if we decide to have kids. I don’t want to be pregnant in my late thirties/early forties.
Our jobs get raises when the county we work in decides we get them. I’ve been teaching for ten years with three bachelor degrees, two masters, and a doctorate – but I’m paid like a third-year teacher because the Board of Ed voted not to give us cost of living raises or step increases. The only way I’ve seen an increase in my paycheck is to move “lanes” – which is part of why I have so many degrees (as well as the hope to eventually teach at a university – but most starting professors make even less than I do right now, so I haven’t tried to move jobs). The flip side to that is that my student loans are racked up, and my county will only pay back money for tuition “as needed” – and I’ve been predominantly regarded as “unneeded.”
Post # 14
What type of student loans do you have? Federal or private? I have never heard of them doing anything different when you have children. It is usually all income based. You can usually refinance through private sources or through the government, or apply for an income based repayment plan.
Do you teach K-12? If so, you should look into loan forgiveness programs if you teach in Title 1 schools or certain subjects (math, science, SPED). Also, I am genuinely curious, why did you get so many degrees to teach? I hire lots of teachers at our school and have never seen someone with that many degrees.
Also, if you are working 14 hour days now, from a logistics and practicality stand point, when would you have time to raise a child? Do you both work that much? I say this as someone who runs a school and works 14-16 hour days, but my husband plans to lower his work hours to balance things when we have a child. You cannot leave a child in daycare for more than 12 hours (if it’s at a licensed facility).
Lastly, here are the facts:
If you arent willing to move, change jobs or save up money for a few years or make other compromises…then nothing is going to help you. You made the choice (for better or worse) to pursue multiple degrees and enter a lower paying field. Do teachers deserve higher pay? Absolutely (I fight that battle daily), but the reality is that it isn’t there yet. You are also choosing to live in a certain location. So you are defining your destiny.
You either have to make a drastic change (financially, living wise, etc) or not have children. You could just, have a kid and figure it out, but if that means taking on more debt, that doesn’t seem to be a very good choice…but you could do it.
Post # 15
I have both federal and private loans, and the last time I spoke to someone, he said, word for word, “Ma’am, I could help you if you had a dependent, but there’s nothing I can do for you right now.”
And yes, the logistics of working a 14 hour day are a concern, as I think I said in another reply post – it wouldn’t be fair to the child, both in terms of being at work for that long, and in the lost income from not working both jobs – which is what led to my original question: How do people afford having kids in this area?
Honestly, after reading everyone’s replies, I think it’s just time for a hard conversation. Kids might just not be in the cards for us, because I refuse to bring a child into this world that I can’t appropriately care for.