This is part of the series Enjoy Small Space Living, With a Family! Here are all the articles in the series:
- How to Eliminate the #1 Cost of Kids
- How 6 of Us Live in 2 Rooms, and Love It!
- 8 Ways Small Space Living Saves Big Money
- Creative Ways to Fit the Whole Family into a Small Home
- 5 Ways to Make Any Room Bigger
By Shira Boss
Zero Cost Kids
What if I offered you a coupon for more than $100,000 off the cost of raising two kids to age 18? Wouldn’t that be pretty exciting?
Well here it is! You can save that much and more by following the advice in this article and eliminating the #1 cost of kids.
The #1 Cost of Raising a Child
You’ve heard the stat: it costs about $250,000 to raise each child to age 18 – that’s not including any college!
But not to worry. It’s not that it COSTS that much to raise a child, it’s that American families SPEND that much, on average. That doesn’t mean you have to!
When I looked at the actual USDA data, far and away the biggest part of the cost of children is housing. Specifically, MORE HOUSE.
Every time a child is added to the family, housing expenses tend to go up at least $3,000 per year (even more for families making more than $62,000).
Put Down Roots
Want to eliminate the biggest expense of having kids? Don’t move to a bigger place. Make it work where you are now. This is doable! I know this because we are doing it ourselves.
Children don’t each need their own room, own bathroom, own playroom, own wing of the house… in fact I believe they’re better off with less space – and more togetherness.
Six of Us in a 1-Bedroom Apartment
My husband and I, two boys and two dogs live in two rooms – less than 650 square feet. It’s a one-bedroom apartment and the only door is to the bathroom. We don’t plan on moving – ever. It works, and we’re determined to make it keep working. Here’s why:
*Money –Working more to make more money to pay for more house and more things in it doesn’t fit our goal of spending as much time as possible with our children while they’re growing up.
I’m certain young children want you more than space. Teens might be another story, but we have plans for that stage! See the article “Creative Ways to Fit the Whole Family into a Small Home” later in this series to learn some of our ideas.
What’s top priority for you? Is moving to a larger place worth whatever sacrifice (time, money, maintenance, organizing more stuff, the stress of moving…) you’ll have to make to spread into more space?
*Togetherness – Kids thrive on it! A friend who has an amazing, grand home had to go to a hotel for a few days during a power outage. What did she say about going from having a huge house to their all living in one room? That it was EASIER to keep an eye on her daughter and that the child was HAPPIER being closer to her parents.
Don’t assume that a bigger home makes life easier or that the kids will be happier with more space.
*Neighborhood – Location really is more important than the size of your home.
We love where we live (Manhattan). Many, many couples here when they have children move to New Jersey, where you can get a whole house and yard for less than the cost of a small apartment here.
But is more space worth the tradeoff to move to the suburbs? Not for us. We’d rather stay here in walking distance from the parks, playgrounds, museums, free concerts, and so many kinds of people.
If your neighborhood isn’t family-friendly, consider changing scenes but keeping your housing payment the same – even if it means choosing a smaller home instead of a larger one. Buck the system. You can make it work!
*Full Nest, Empty Nest – Right now we share our little home with our children. But guess what? After a few cramped years, the kids will be grown up and gone… and Bob and I still want to live right here in our cozy nook.
We don’t want to spend time and money maintaining, organizing and cleaning a big house now, and we sure don’t want to do that when we’re 20 years older!
Please think hard before automatically upsizing because everybody does it. It’s not just the monthly payment that goes up for more space – other budget areas will balloon, too! See the article “8 Ways Small Space Living Saves Big Money” later in this series for things to consider.
Do you love where you live but feel there’s just not enough room? There is. It’s doable!
I have many creative ideas for making a (very) small space work with a family. You and your kids can not only survive but thrive in a smaller home. Check out the rest of the series to learn how you too can enjoy small space living, with a family!
You can do this!