44 answers

What If You REALLY Can't Afford Another Kid?

We are considering kid #2 and I just did some math and it ain't pretty! We literally can't afford another kid because of day care costs. Even if I quit working, we'd be short. We are already fairly frugal and have a pretty modest lifestyle for where we live. Has anyone else ever had this happen to them? Did it stop you from having kids or did you work around it somehow?? I'm so sad to think that it would be money that would keep us from having another :( Or to have to wait until we were able to maybe move somewhere cheaper or something... I'm 37 and our first will be 4 in December, so the clock is ticking so to speak.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you! Wow, I’m overwhelmed with all the genuine and thoughtful responses. Overwhelmed in part because I hate to think of so many Americans stressing and struggling to afford a simple family of FOUR -- just not right.

Reading all the responses I think our best options include
1) getting creative with income
2) wait until our first is in kindergarten
3) MOVE (ideal option)
To address what many of you accurately commented on, we do live in a notoriously expensive place. Knowing that we aren’t ever going to be wealthy enough to “fit” here, last summer we decided to move to Oregon. Just a matter of finding work there in this economy.

Bottom line is that it would be difficult (and riskier from a fertility perspective) to wait for options 2 and/or 3 to happen, but certainly not the end of the world.

And I 100% agree and know all too well that you can do all the planning in the world but still can’t be protected from life’s unexpected, ugly curveballs. I have to say, even with having our first child “in the worst of times” – during a recession and right after my husband was laid-off (he’s been part-time and in school since) – it’s made me realize how much more fulfilling life is with a child in our lives.

Again, thanks to all – it’s the exact kind of input I needed. I’m grateful for the support even while I worry that there are so many people dealing with this.

Featured Answers

We simply stopped - it does not make sense to us as a couple to bring in a child we can not affoard, it was a fairly easy decision to come to for us.

7 moms found this helpful

We moved to a cheaper city and home and did it! Gave up eating out and just about everything else. I quit work and worked part-time on occasion to help.
After a couple of years my husbands career took off.

7 moms found this helpful

I think it's incredibly irresponsible to bring kids into the world if you know ahead of time that you can't adequately support them.

6 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Well, depends on how you look at it. Are you talking that you wouldn't be able to feed the child without govt. assistance or are you saying that you wouldn't be able to dress the child in Ralph Lauren Baby. If you can afford the basics...i.e. food, electricity, a place to live, then I say go for it.

10 moms found this helpful

You know what? I think the greatest gift you can give your child is a sibling. Even if that sibling has to wear hand-me-downs. A brother or sister support all through life, even when parents age and die. Family and support is so much more important than money and pretty dresses for school.

Even if you can't afford to send them to the private school of your choice, parents can give them just as good an education without the money. My children visit art galleries, the library, take beach excursions, learn to swim, play music etc all without money.

10 moms found this helpful

We always made them and then did the math. :p

I was already a stay at home so adding another to the mix didn't add much to the budget in the beginning.

If I was working day care would be a huge cost but then you can find people that watch kids out of their homes pretty darn cheap. Or you could watch other people's kids for an income supplement instead of your current job. Really there are so many options out there money shouldn't be a reason to not have a kid.

When my kids were younger I used to watch kids every now and then. God knows why but people trusted me with their kids more than some day cares. Either that or the money they saved caused them to turn a blind eye. Hum, I wonder how old my minions are now. :p

10 moms found this helpful

I would rather be able to care for the one I have, then have 2 and not be able to care for either.

In my opinion, we don't NEED children. We need food, shelter, opportunity, water, etc. People have this idea that we NEED more then one, our child NEEDS a sibling (I'm not close with any of my siblings and never have been, even though we were raised right. I definitely don't NEED them. There is no guarantee they will like each other.) I know only children who love being only children. I know some who hate it. I know some who hated having siblings, and some who love it. (To be very honest, I know MORE people who don't like their siblings and don't lean on them, then do.) What we should NEED to do, is provide for the children that exist...rather then pine for the ones we don't have, and can't provide for.

I have WANTED all kinds of things in my life. We all do. That doesn't mean any of those wants are needs. You might want a child, your body might. That's nowhere near a need. Just my .02

9 moms found this helpful

This is one of those questions that's just... I don't know. What exactly are you looking for? We had our children because we wanted them and were able to afford having children and then guess what happened? My husband lost his job. Right now, I'm a SAHM and my husband just lost his job while I was already looking for another. We can't afford any of our kids or our cats even though when we planned our family, we were able to afford everything.

We still manage and we're both still looking for jobs. That's life. We cope. We work around it. We budget.

8 moms found this helpful

We simply stopped - it does not make sense to us as a couple to bring in a child we can not affoard, it was a fairly easy decision to come to for us.

7 moms found this helpful

I have one child. I think it's irresponsible to bring children into the world without a plan to support them. Unless you can find a way to live more cheaply, or to make more income, you already have your answer, IMO.

7 moms found this helpful

Well, unplanned pregnancies do happen... That is just what this made me think of.

I have four kids. If we did the math beforehand, I doubt we'd have any. LOL. We have made it work... Since our first my husband has gone from working for someone to owning his own business and upping his price. I did work part-time, but quit cause I really wanted to be with the kids (I'm bad- my husband was home when I worked, and he's a great dad...). We get by, but barely. I sell paintings on the side, and at $500 bucks a pop, that isn't so bad, but happens infrequently. UMMM... We've just made it work. They weren't all "planned", but we knew we wanted a certain number (4), but just the timing was not particularly planned and such. We went by our desire to have more. My desire immediately stopped at the 4th child, so he had a vasectomy.

I say, you only live once, if you want a second child go for it. Money to me is so much less important than family. Necessary? Yes. But it seems like we have always found a way...

7 moms found this helpful

If everyone waited till they could really afford to have kids their would be no kids!

7 moms found this helpful

We moved to a cheaper city and home and did it! Gave up eating out and just about everything else. I quit work and worked part-time on occasion to help.
After a couple of years my husbands career took off.

7 moms found this helpful

We can NOT afford the two we have. Now, I am 9 months pregnant with a surprise baby #3. I stay at home bc childcare is too expensive. We live very frugally, I do sell some things online and entertain at birthday parties on weekends to help. I harass my husband regularly to apply for better paying jobs, but those are hard to find. In any case, it is very very difficult, but we make it work with zero credit card debt and no govt assistance. I can easily say that I am constantly stressed, we can't afford to put our kids in soccer or take them to the Zoo, but every now and then we find a great deal and go on a family outing. I know we will be better off in a few more years, so I am really looking forward to that. So, through all the difficulties, we are very happy with our family and wouldn't change a thing!

6 moms found this helpful

Honestly, if you REALLY can't afford it, I think it is not the time to try for another baby. It is sad to think about not being able to have another because of money, but I think you will all be happier if your'e not totally struggling just to get by and falling farther into debt.

6 moms found this helpful

I think it's incredibly irresponsible to bring kids into the world if you know ahead of time that you can't adequately support them.

6 moms found this helpful

I would much rather be able to provide for the child I have than have more that I could not afford. I am happy knowing that if DS gets into an expensive private college and wants to go - I can send him - and have money to retire. I LOVE having one child and do not in any way consider it a sacrifice not to have more. If you are considering day care costs - have you also calculated health care, college, retirement and the possibility that one of you may be unemployed at some point in time?

5 moms found this helpful

There are all sorts of families. Only you know what will make you happy. But I would add two things-
Children do not need siblings. An only child does fine. I have a 5 year old D. And I feel quite lucky. I have close friends who cannot conceive one child and I know another couple who has struggled to adopt one child.
And I know I missed the baby years. But baby #2 will soon grow out of the baby stage too.

5 moms found this helpful

Well, no, I haven't had that specific experience.

Just wanted to throw this concept out there....
People can ALWAYS cut expenses, lifestyle, debt, etc.
Even if it means moving to Podunk County, USA. I'm sure the cost of living in CA is higher than average.
Would moving be an option? Really an option?
Are you in debt?
Do you have credit card debt?
Car payments?
Car debt?
CAN/Will you cut lifestyle?
Zero debt (except the mortgage should be the goal.
Then money won't make these decisions for you.
Check out a Dave Ramsay book (for free!) at your library.
And no--I wouldn't like it if finances was the sole factor in determining the size of my family!
All the best!

5 moms found this helpful

I agree with those who say you just make it work when you have to. Look into alternative child care arrangements- family, friends, part-time, center, in-home, nanny, sitter, swap schedules with DH, etc.

As a side note, I am a little shocked and saddened by those who responded that they (basically) could do without their siblings, are not close, haven't talked in years, etc. I live in a different state from my family, I am not terribly close with my sister, but we are still family. I know she would be there if I needed her and vice versa. We don't have a big family, and we lost our mom when we were pretty young (27 and 25). Even though we are not super close, I am grateful for her and love her. If the relationship is not abusive or disfunctional, I don't understand these folks who seem to be indifferent (or even not like/care about) their siblings.

I thought it was important to give my son a sibling. Now, of course, I can't imagine any of our lives without lil brother. He is a darling and seeing him and big brother together is truly the highlight of my days. They do love each other. Even if they are not best friends as adults, they will have their childhood memories and, I am sure, always be there for one another. I am truly confident in that.

5 moms found this helpful

It is one of the main reasons we only had 1 child.

No regrets.. we are practically debt free, our child was able to attend the perfect college for her.. out of state. We will be able to retire on time..

Money was still tight, but we made it work,. We own our our won home.

But follow your mommy heart and brain.. No regrets.

5 moms found this helpful

we cant afford the one (our first) were having in july !! but we'll make the best of it.. im only 23 and fiance is 26.. we were so0 not ready for this but not letting it stop us or freak us out

if it makes u feel better your situation cant be worse then ours.. we're living with my parents - im not working at the moment - we're living paycheck to paychek and the babys not even here yet .. just remember someone always has it worse then u do.. i say if u really want another baby go for it.. youll figure it out

4 moms found this helpful

Nope, not alone. The insurance we have does not cover pregnancy. That's 15,000 right out of the box. Don't know many people who could come up with that. So our daughter is an only. SHe will also be four in Sept.

I am a little sad too, but that's life. If we financially ruin ourselves we won't be providing a good future for EITHER of our kids.

4 moms found this helpful

Because of medical complications, I was unable to have a third child, but I really wanted a third. We thought seriously about adopting. We had done a home study for adoption previously when we were going through infertility trying to get pregnant with our first child.

We crunched numbers, and determined that we could not afford a third child without going into debt. Because of that, we have only two.

Of course, if circumstances were different and I had gotten pregnant, we would have scrimped and saved, and found a way to make it work. I'm sure we would have incurred some debt as well, but we would have been happy to have another child, and we would have made it work. It's what people do. However, it was not a decision we were willing to make.

Now we live comfortably within our means, saving money each month (not wealthy by any means, but comfortable). Sometimes I still wish we had a third child, but I'm so thankful that our children are growing up without parents who are stressed out about money all the time.

4 moms found this helpful

Even if you do have another child planned or by accident, you will love that child. That is a no brainer.

But if you have another child, and you and your Husband will always be fretting over the financial aspects of it and be stressed, then is that worth it to you? And will it be a happy environment?

Most parents, make it somehow, even if they are not rich, through job losses, through changing jobs, through creative budget approaches.
They make it, because they are a family and it is survival.

If you and your Husband are on the same page about it, then that is important. If you and he are not on the same page about it, then it may cause a rift or problems or resentments.
Both spouses, have to agree to it and the concerns each other has.

I have 2 kids. We could have stopped at just 1 kid. We are not rich. I am a SAHM though. But we have always made it, somehow. Even if my Hubby as been laid off before.
We are glad, to have 2 kids. We both wanted, 2 kids.
But 2 kids, is where I stop.
And my kids adore each other. It is family.

4 moms found this helpful

Everything seems to always work out. You never know what will happen. I had to quit my job when I had premie twins and I was freaking out about day care and never ended up needing it until they were 18 mos. My husband switched professions temorarily until I was able to go back. Maybe consider avoiding day care if one of you works first shift and the other second. No day care costs then. We racked up credit card costs, but it was "temporary". I would not have changed it for the world! When our parents were young parents, they did not have a pot to pee in and they made it work. You might regret not having more. Also, you are 37, you can never get your age back. Very hard decision, i know. talk it over with you partner. I am not telling you to go into debt but things always work out the way they are supposed to. We were worse than paycheck to paycheck and 5 years later, we look back and wonder how we did it- well we did and we can actually afford a vacation these days. Good luck!!

4 moms found this helpful

Well, I didn't notice much of a difference financially , going to 2. We didn't have child care costs though ( worked opposite shifts). I did notice it more financially when we had our 3rd but we had a big age gap & basically started over & 1st 2 have school fees & extra cirriculars.

4 moms found this helpful

It's not THE factor, but it's ONE of the factors that's stopping us. I am not terribly inclined to have another child, but I think my husband would like to. And, if we could afford it, the chances that I could be persuaded would be much higher. However, we just don't have enough money, so it's not even something we can consider.

And I know it's hard for him, because I have two from my first marriage, so I've experienced what it's like to have more than one child whereas he probably won't get to. He treats my sons like his own, but he didn't come into their lives until they were a little older, and it's just not the same as if he had known/raised them since birth.

I don't know what you mean by "work around it somehow"... if the math doesn't work, it doesn't work, and I know that has got to suck.

You've received lots of suggestions that may or may not work for you - doing in-home day care, or working opposite shifts, etc. Not everyone is of the right temperament or has the right type of home to do in-home daycare. And I will tell you that my ex and I worked opposite shifts for years to avoid paying for daycare, and we barely ever saw each other. We also both took on extra work when we could, and then we saw each other even less. All of that plus constant worries about money put such a strain on our marriage. We went into having children figuring "it will all work out" and while there were many things that did, there were also some major things that didn't. It was one of the biggest factors in our divorce. Now, I am NOT saying that this will be the case for you or anyone else. But, I would encourage you to really think about what these alternate ways of "working around it" will mean. If, for example, you decided to try working opposite shifts, what will you do to ensure that you and your husband have enough time for each other?

In the end, what you really don't want to do is put yourself in a situation where you're constantly short and have to go into debt to support having another child. Is either you or your husband in a position to take a higher paying job or move into a different field that pays more?

Good luck and take care.

3 moms found this helpful

If you really want another child, it always works out.
Even when you didnt ask for another, it always works out.
I'm sure the majority of the population of our country were unplanned for the most part.
And ramen was invented ;)

3 moms found this helpful

I see you're in Silicon Valley and I know how incredibly expensive housing is there nevermind that public schools aren't that great. So I can imagine it's really a big concern to be able to afford another child. Can you move? That's a big deal of course but seriously, are you or your husband in such a niche type job that you couldnt get another one somewhere else? I've often wondered why people live in SV unless they're quite wealthy. I know the weather is great and it's beautiful and all (I lived in SF for years) but when it comes time to having a family, again unless you're really wealthy, it doesn't seem worth it. Taxes are so high yet so many public schools aren't very good. So maybe give moving a serious thought... The housing market in your area is very strong right now so if you own, you likely can sell easily and get a bargain easily somewhere else.

3 moms found this helpful

Well i didn't read everyone's comments but my 2 cents is this. Yes for a few more years it would be tight but once your 4 year old is in school that would cut out how much daycare you are paying for. And once they are both in school then you don't have to pay child care at all or maybe just a few hours after school. you could also find a cheaper daycare or a sitter. I am a stay at home mom and would love to watch a kid or two to make a little extra cash but I know I'm not as pricey as a daycare. I think you could make it work. cut out somethings here and there. It will change as they get older so if you could swing it for a few years then you can do it.

3 moms found this helpful

We're in the exact same boat. Crunched the numbers and can't pay the bills if I don't work, can't pay the daycare costs of 2 kids in daycare. We're doing our best currently to pay down all of our debt, putting all extra money towards it, and will have enough paid off to afford a new baby next year if (knock on wood) nothing happens to rack it back up. Our oldest starts Kindergarten in August and any money saved from her daycare going from full day to just before and after school will automatically go towards debt. Best case scenerio I can quit my job when #2 comes along, worst case I still work but we can afford the extra daycare.

It's been really hard on me lately because I really want another one, and this year every married cousin in my family is having a baby, including my sister, except for me. So all I hear from all the Grandmas (well, not my mom, but she hates kids) is "so when are you having another one?" It sucks, because I want one, but can't. Sometimes I hate being so responsible. My MIL is all "just get pregnant" but I am not one of those people who can do things without knowing how all of her bills will be paid.

3 moms found this helpful

Wait a year. K is free. Keeps the daycare costs to 1.

I couldn't afford daycare for my one and only (1600 a month was more than I made), so I went to school. If you don't have your degree that's another option. 10hrs of care v 50 hours of care.

2 moms found this helpful

I am sure you have all the advice needed to go either way. Too me, the Lord will provide . It is not a matter if you can it just will work out. It always does somehow, someway, sometime...........

2 moms found this helpful

If you want another child, you just make it work. You won't skimp on what your children need, but you will on everything else. There are many options to choose from. Working opposite of your husband; staying home and taking on an extra kid or two; staying home and working part time from home or opposite of hubby; finding cheaper day care --- maybe hiring a nanny (offer a room to a college student).

The real question is, "Can you afford not to have another child?" Mentally and emotionally speaking? Only you and your husband can answer that. Best of luck.

2 moms found this helpful

If we had figured up money wise how much we had to have to have children we would never have had one ( and the cost they tell you is not real either ). We had 8 and they were cared for and clothed and fed and loved. They wore hand me downs ( didn't hurt them ) they had few lessons ( also didn't hurt them ) and they are all grown and able to have families of their own. I wonder if anyone ever did a study on all the things kids have now and how much they even appreciate it. How many become ballerinas or football, soccer players? How many are into music other than for enjoyment? All those things are GREAT but not necessities. You can raise 2 or more and survive. It's up to you if you want a family of more than one child or not. I wouldn't have a child just for my other child to have a sibling though. I know kids that are only children who would really have liked to have had one brother or sister at least. Some came to our home and commented over and over how they wished for that and then I know others who don't get along with their brother/sister. I'm thankful for my brothers and sister though but I know my parents didn't have them for ME.

2 moms found this helpful

We worked around it. My hubby worked 6a-2:30p and I worked 5p-2a for MANY years while the kids were little so we didn't have daycare. I nursed so we didn't have to buy formula. I made baby food instead of buying it. I just couldn't do the cloth diapers tho - just grossed me out too much.

2 moms found this helpful

I feel for you. I am in the same boat except that we really wanted a third child. I'm 42 and my clock is close to stopping. I am already at home due to daycare costs. We have been through a pay freeze, a pay cut, are up for another paycut and our health insurance has doubled over the past 3 years. The budget is already tight. We cannot afford another child. I had an IUD put in so there are no "accidents". There really isn't any excuse for an " accident" child - it's just a way to try and get what you want without getting any flak from others for your choice. It really PISSES ME OFF that financial matters are deciding whether or not to have another child for us. However, the economy isn't going to to get any better any time soon or in time for me to have another child - that's a fact. It would be terribly unfair to the children I already have to stress their lives even more with severe financial difficulty.I need to what's best for the children I have now - they are the utmost priority. I do not wish to go on assistance. Even if I did, assistance money is getting cut too - it's not what is used to be. I still get angry watching all the people on assistance keep having 3,4,5,6 children with no concern-they'll still get some kind of money. After all it's my tax dollars that pay for them. (and yes when I was working I worked in an industry where I saw this regularly and up close).I am very thankful for the children I have and I am working on letting go of my anger regarding not getting to choose when to finish my family. I know not having another child the right thing to do which is some consolation, but that doesn't always make it easier emotionally.I will come to terms with it though and move on. As far as your situation goes, I know quite a few single child families. Most by choice, but a few not. They are just as happy as any other family. If you choose to stay with one child, please don't think your family will be any "less" of a family.Every persons family is unique and precious and in every way right for them, even if it wasn't created according to the plan they had in their minds.Good luck deciding what to do.

2 moms found this helpful

It is your call. We have 2 and I also conceived my second at 37. It is a struggle financially and probably will be for a few more years until the second one is in school. I hate the financial strain but I love my daughter so I made the choice I thought I could best live with.

2 moms found this helpful

Have you looked into using a home daycare? We pay less for children in a home daycare than some of my friends pay for one in a center. We are very fortunate that she is licensed, has done this for 14 years and teaches the children. If you look you can find good ones.

2 moms found this helpful

My son was 5 yrs. when my youngest was born because of daycare costs (among many other things); we HAD to wait until he was in kindergarden and didn't need daycare anymore. I was 38.

2 moms found this helpful

I am going through the same thing. I feel strongly things financially can get better but at the same time one can truly struggle to get through it. If you really desire the baby, try and find a way to make it work. for me, i dont think i can take on another baby with working full time and a 2.5 year old. I feel financially it would be too hard and things dont always just work out. There are so many families on assistance because they are struggling with kids they cant afford. Be very carefule with this decision because kids deserve good and not to be in a family struggling

2 moms found this helpful

I feel the same way! My boy will be 4 in June. I just hope that things do turn around for us. We bought our house at a really bad time and owe a lot more that it's worth. I'm hoping to refinance when the Attorney General's Remodification Program is available. Working full time (which I am) is so hard when you have a baby. So that is a factor too. I went back to work when my son was not even 3 months yet (12 weeks) and he didn't sleep through the night until 2. I'm not going to rush into having another and that means that my kids will either be really far apart in age or there will be no second child. My younger sister will probably not have any kids and it's mostly financial for her and her boyfriend. So, think of that and be happy for what you have. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My DH says we can't afford one more. On the one hand, I see his point (we have one leaving college, one entering college and one entering preschool). On the other, I feel like I would really like the opportunity to mother (really mother, and I'm sorry, but stepmothering all these years has not been the same) another child. I'm not willing to sacrifice DD's home and security for a sibling closer to her age but it's hard. My heart aches. I hate being the responsible one when his ex just popped out 2 kids "oops."

1 mom found this helpful

If your income is truly that low you should qualify for child care assistance. It is a great program and even some of my families where both parents were making over $10 per hour each they still only had a co-pay of a couple of hundred per month.

Getting assistance for child care is not a bad thing. It is there for a purpose, to keep you working and paying in tax dollars and being able to support your family and spend more money in the economy.

1 mom found this helpful

What about you offering in home day care while you're home with your infant?

1 mom found this helpful

Figure out how to afford it. Can your hubby get a new job? Switching jobs usually equates into a nice raise. Better yet, can he get a raise at his current job and then use that new salary to make more elsewhere?

1 mom found this helpful

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