Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cheapskate April: revisited. Five ways having kids can SAVE you money.

**DISCLAIMER: I love my son, and motherhood is my favorite job.  I just refuse to lose my sense of humor just because I became a parent.  In fact, I believe that in order to SURVIVE parenthood, you have to be able to laugh at yourself and whatever life throws at you… especially if it’s spaghetti or something else tomato-based.  I’m sure to offend some of you with this list, but that’s ok.    

I know I’ve talked a good game about deciphering between wants and needs, but let me tell you, nothing forces you to do it like adding a kid to the mix.  For those of you who don’t have kids, you probably think they’re pretty expensive.  You’re not necessarily wrong (diapers, formula, clothing, toys, etc. all adds up), but you’re not exactly right either.  I’ve put together a list of five ways off the top of my head that kids can actually save you money.

1.       You will no longer buy nice shoes.  Not only are they going to get messy (there’s a good chance they’ll be puked on, chewed on, colored on, and probably stomped around in by feet much smaller than yours), you’re going to be standing in them a lot more.  In the last year, the amount of time I’ve spent on my ass has dropped drastically, in direct correlation with O’s spiked mobile abilities.  Anytime I think it’s safe to sit down and relax, I hear a crash from O’s bedroom, or he’s calling for me so he can point out something really important (like that Dexter’s bed is not in the right spot, or that his pants are slightly twisted, or that there is dirt on the toe of his shoe).  Also, when you are on your feet, you’ll probably be carrying more weight than your own.  Goodbye, stilettos.  Hello house slippers and sneakers!  

2.       You will think twice about buying nice furniture.  Why spend the extra money on a leather couch when you know it’s just going to get muddy sneakers dragged across it, or popsicles buried in the cushions? Becoming a parent means you’ll think twice before buying that beautiful espresso coffee table. Gorgeous though it may be, it probably won’t hold up to the pen/pencil/crayon/marker abuse that’s certain to occur at some point in its residence in your home. 

3.       You can kiss your nice vehicle goodbye.  I’ll admit it: when I decided to become a mom, I swore that I wouldn’t have a “mom vehicle.” (19 months later, you can’t tell my messy truck apart from any other moms’).  You know what I’m talking about here.  You climb in and find soccer balls, paper towels, sippy cups, crumbs, and wrappers all over the backseat.  A closer look reveals boogers on the windows, scuff marks on the backs of the front seats, and pen marks that refuse to let you forget that one time you thought the risk of ink stains was worth a few minutes of a quiet drive (it wasn’t. It never is). Let’s not forget the telltale smell of a mom vehicle. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but it’s definitely not new car scent or fresh pines. Considering all of this, why in the world would you buy a nice vehicle? Save your money until your kid is old enough to drive.  Then, buy yourself a Corvette (that should align nicely with the appropriate age for a mid-life crisis anyway, right?) and make HIM drive the smelly mama wagon as his first car. 

4.       Your entertainment costs go WAY down. Mostly because you rarely leave the house. By the time Friday night rolls around, you and your honey are so tired, the only thing that sounds good is pizza, beer, and a Netflix movie (that you will make it half-way through before falling asleep).  On the days you do feel like going out, you’ll think twice because you’ll know it means you have to bring “them” with you, and that adds a whole new element of surprise and potential disaster.  This also drastically limits the venues you’ll consider going to, as they’ll all need to be kid-friendly.

5.       You spend less money on booze. This may only be true in my household.  When Tots and I were newlyweds, we always had a case of beer in the fridge and fancy alcohol in the cabinet.  It didn’t matter that we were eating mac & cheese for supper; we were drinking classy at dessert.  Once we had O, not only were we less interested in drinking, we were too exhausted to finish our drinks anyway. 

Parents, have I left anything out?  What would you add to the list?