The Insane Cost of Raising Kids Makes Me Rethink Them

kid with moneyWaiting to hear the pitter patter of little feet? There's another sound you need to brace yourself to hear as well along the lines of: Ka-ching, ka-ching. Raising kids is crazy expensive, and getting pricier by the minute.

According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost of raising a child from the time he is born until age 18 for a middle-income two-parent family is $226,920. That's about $12,000 a year per child, and that doesn't even include college!

Can you imagine what you'd do with an extra $24,000 a year (give or take $12,000 depending on how many children you have -- I have two). I can, oh yes, I can. Here are five things I imagine I'd spend my thousands on if I didn't have children.

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1. Vacation, vacation, vacation. Luxurious resorts, exotic locales, and first-class plane tickets with no one recoiling in fear as I sit down next to them.

2. Beautiful clothing. All white beautiful clothing that I didn't live in fear of ruining with sticky little hands and runny noses rubbed all over it. And shoes, gorgeous shoes, not necessarily those designed for sprinting after runaway toddlers.

3. Artwork. I love my children's hand-print art, truly I do, but some real art from amazing artists would be nice too.

4. Food. Fancy restaurants, fine wines, and no worries as to if there's a kids' menu. I might even dine after 6 p.m. again.

5. A little sports car. No minivan for me, I'd zip around in a sporty little number and zip right past the school car lines.

Alright, end of fantasy, and honestly, even dreaming up all these things I'd spend the money on made me sad. It's not that I wouldn't jump for joy if someone added an extra $24,000 to our annual income (oh, I would jump high), it's that while I was thinking of all the things I'd want to do with the money, all I could think about were things I'd want to do with it with and for my children.

While at one point in my life I thought those things were extremely important to me, since having children, my priorities have shifted. I truly can't think of anything I'd rather spend my money on than raising them. And frankly, black yoga clothes are comfortable, and I love my minivan. I can say with all honesty -- as cheesy as it may be -- that the cash my kids cost me comes with a million-fold return and a satisfaction that no sports car nor pair of shoes could ever provide. At least not many pairs of shoes ...

What would you spend money on if you didn't have children?


Image via billy verdin/Flickr

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