A few weeks ago, a new reader, Lstodd left a great comment on one of my weekly spending posts. In short, he noticed that we have a kid but don’t really appear to be spending money on her. He also pointed out that we have a puppy fund, but it doesn’t look like we’re saving for our daughter’s college education. Here’s his comment:
Hi, I do enjoy seeing where the money goes, makes me look at my spending habits more closely. I’ve only been reading your blog for a short while, but I read that you have a daughter. If you don’t mind me asking, why don’t you list any money spent for your daughter? Do you have a college fund that you contribute too? I see that you have a puppy fund.
Isn’t that a great question, nobody has really said anything about that yet and I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years now. Wanna know what I said? Of course you do, here’s my reply:
Hi Lstodd, that is a very good question that I’ve never really addressed on here. The short answer is aside from groceries and vitamins, we don’t really spend much money on our daughter.
Let me see if I can get a post together to address the way and reasons we don’t. I’ll try to get it up within the next 2 weeks. It’s a great question, so I don’t want to leave anything out.
Weekly Spending Posts & Our Kid
Our weekly spending posts, otherwise known as Where Did The Dough Go?, show where every little bit of my husband’s paycheck goes. I don’t work, but I do make some money online now and then which is put into my luxury spending account. The money I earn online isn’t reported or tracked in our weekly spending posts.
We’ve only been tracking our spending for just over a year, so some things won’t work the same in the future. What money do we spend on our kid that is reported?
Groceries- Kids eat a lot. Thankfully, our kid loves healthy stuff, especially vegetables and fruit. She rarely eats candy and considers it a special treat when she does.
School Supplies- Last year, I had a ton of school supplies leftover from my extreme couponing days, so we only had to pick up a few things. We don’t have as much stuff left now because I had her bring in some extra supplies in case some of the kids in her class didn’t have enough money to buy all theirs. Still, there are always a lot of sales during the summer and I’m sure we can do pretty well for the upcoming school year.
Clothing (usually just socks and underwear)- This is where we get really lucky. My mom has a shopping addiction, so we never really have to buy our daughter clothes. When we do, I usually either use a gift card I earned online and pair it up with a store coupon and find something cute on sale. Grandma also buys our kid tons of shoes and accessories, even though I think it’s wasteful because kids just grow so quickly.
Vitamins- We make sure that our daughter takes a multi-vitamin every day and we also give her some of that Children’s DHA liquidstuff. The extra DHA might not be necessary, but I feel better with her having it. I’ve also convinced her that the DHA liquid MAKES her be good. She’s almost 10 and really smart, but very gullible –I’m not complaining though, it’s fixed 99% of her bad behavior.
Health & Beauty Items- Most of these items are free to us because of the huge stockpile I amassed back in my couponing days. New items are also purchased with sales, coupons and store rewards to help keep our costs low.
Christmas and Birthdays- Of course we buy our daughter Christmas presents, even though I was debating it last year. We don’t buy her a ton of stuff for Christmas, just a few things we know she’ll love. She also gets Christmas and birthday presents from her grandparents, so we don’t need to spend much.
Last year for her birthday, I had tons of gifts saved up from couponing and rebates to give her. The only thing we ended up paying for (aside from her party) was a 1 year subscription to National Geographic Kids magazine, she loves that magazine. I think I ended up paying for it with my luxury spending money because it was easier at the time. She’s a big reader and would much rather read and play Legos than anything else. We also get her a free subscription to Lego Club magazine.
Her birthday and Christmas are the only times we buy her toys and stuff. Most parents might think this is awful, but it makes her grateful for the things she does get. I’ve always tried my best to make sure she doesn’t turn out to be spoiled, like I was…and so far it’s working.
School Pictures- At our daughter’s school, they offer school pictures twice a year. I know a lot of the parents end up buying school pictures each time they are available, which can get expensive. I have a camera, so I can take pictures during the year and not miss out on a 2nd photo session. I usually go over all the options available and assess what our needs are at the time, even though I always end up with a bit more pictures than we really need.
Other Stuff- A portion of rent and bills, dining out and household items are some other things we spend money on for her. We use to give her an allowance, out of my luxury spending money, but quit doing that after she refused to clean her room. She’s gotten much better about lately, so we’ll probably start that up again soon.
Saving Money for College
Currently, we’re not really saving money for our daughter’s college education. Hold on, before you start freaking out…there’s a couple things you should know.
We have a Upromise account for our daughter setup with our grocery cards, debit and credit cards. There’s not a ton of money in it, but it all adds up.
Our daughter loves learning, reading, homework and school. We’ve always talked about how if she’s works hard in school, she can get scholarships to pay for college. She loves the idea of college and knows that we probably won’t be able to pay for it. She even saves some of her own money that she gets for gifts and helping out others in case she doesn’t get a big enough scholarship It’s really cute and it’s teaching her that things won’t be handed to her and that she needs to work for what she wants.
We barely have anything saved for retirement, we’re getting better little by little, but we’re nowhere close to where we should be. It might sound selfish, but that’s okay. We’re not going to save to pay for our daughter’s college education when we can’t even be sure we’ll be able to make ends meet when we’re really old. It’s not like she’s going to want to take care of us and pay our way. As parents, I feel that we need to make sure we’re at least where we should be before worrying about saving for college.
Worst case scenario our daughter could get a student loan. When we’re 60 or whatnot, nobody is going to loan us money to survive. I’m not assuming anybody is going to agree with me on this, but it’s just what I feel is best.
Kid’s Savings Account
I have been teaching our daughter about money since she was a baby and opened her a savings account right away. I would take her to cash in her piggy bank and deposit money into her savings account since she could talk. She loves saving money and seeing how much “free money” she gets (that’s what she calls interest) for keeping her money in the bank.
A few years back, the bank was offering really attractive rates on CDs and after explaining it to her, and explaining the difference between keeping her money in her savings…she decided put most of it in a CD. I even let her choose the term and everything.
I also set her up a Kid’s Savings Account with ING Direct, my favorite bank ever a year or two ago.
While it might not seem like we’re spending much money on our kid, she’s not really going without either. I know that there are some areas that that can be improved, but for the last few years things have pretty much remained the same. Will our spending and saving money for our kid change in the future? I’m fairly certain it will, but we’ll have to wait and see.
How much money do you spend on your kid?