Hey Daddy, can I borrow the credit card?
Yeah, ok, so that happened. Maybe not this kid, but like I’ve said in the past, this ain’t my first rodeo. I’ve never made that good on the money front, sadly enough, engineers ain’t rich. Oh, the salary is pretty good, but the college was expensive and kids, well, they take up every bit of money you thought you had.
I’ve mentioned before that you can’t really plan your expenses. You have to take a “games theory” approach to your life. The final goal is an income higher than your out-go. When you have a kid you can’t really know expenses far in advance. So, reduce everything else. Sure, a bigger house gives advantages in storage and comfort, but a smaller house gives your a few hundred dollars a month, you’ll need em. Same with the car, the vacations, the hobbies. Sooner or later you cut your life down to the bone…and then you have to evaluate based on credit. Because the expenses are frequently things which require you to use the credit card. Yeah, 5000 here and a couple hundred there, sooner or later it looks like you’ve spent a lot of money.
Now, having no idea when one of those multiple kilobuck problems are going to show up, you have to work your credit downward and evaluate annually on how you are progressing. So, you probably have all that by yourself. If you didn’t well, you may or may not chose to believe me. In either case, what have I got to offer you?
Diapers: I evaluated several brands, oddly enough the “all natural” products actually performed better than most of the others. However, the cost basis (cost per diaper) was too high. Look, just because a diaper can hold twice as much as the competition, doesn’t mean you can leave them in place twice as long. You still have to change the wet ones. The store brands that I tried didn’t work. This involved leaks on the bed – major clean-up every morning.
What was our middle brand? Luvs, I think they managed the middle of the pack in price and quality. I have eliminated morning leaks at this time. (size 3 for my 1 year old.)
Baby Food: Try those Bunny Grahams – OMG I love those things. I give some of them to the kid. At 13 months, we are dropping out baby food. We make a big pot of oatmeal once a week and she gets daily re-heats of a cupfull. She’ll eat the veggies & chicken mom eats, but it has to be small cut. Chereeos are amazing.
The Bottle: Cheaper formula is usually fine, but get the kid off of it when they hit 1 year old. It is made of mostly sugar and while the baby needs the calories for the first few months, the toddler doesn’t.
Dr. Visits: Yeah, I wish I had a solution here. Insurance is expensive, hospital visits are very expensive. Turns out that it is cheaper to not have insurance 9 years out of 10. Its that 10th year that can ruin you. If you happen to be between insurances when you hit the hospital, work out a deal with the office to pre-pay. They’ll charge you about 1/5th what they charge the insurance agency. Like I said before, without insurance I was to be charged 6,000. With insurance, after they paid, I was charged 1,500. Doctor costs were a couple thousand on top of that, even after insurance.
Cameras: I know, $200 bucks you ain’t got. My first baby didn’t need it. Does this one? Well, a good monitor lets you sleep easier. You can look at the picture and see if she is getting up or not. Saves you the hike. With a good camera, you can hear her breathing, which is often the big worry…good reason or not. I recommend against the internet cameras – if you don’t know much about tech. They can be hacked. The cameras with dedicated monitor screens are pretty cool, give you very good pictures and can’t be remotely hacked. Get the cords away from the kids. Either pin the cords to the wall, or put the wall plugs 3′ up. The baby will reach through the crib bars to grab the cord and wrap it around her neck. Keep it out of the way and tight. (I keep the crib legs pushed up against the outlet.)
I’ll recommend that you get a big chair you can recline in, you’ll need something like that for putting the baby down and get plenty of excercise, you’ll need it. Yeah, spending money on kids is usually worth it. Makes the whole process more fun..however, you’ll never have enough money.