Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Let's Talk About The Kid Changes...part 1

This is probably going to be a 2-parter.  There is so much kid stuff to think about right now, I could write a novella.  So I think part one is going to be the financial stuff.....part two will be the more "personal" stuff.

We always had the miscellaneous stuff.....birthday parties, movie night, etc.  And we were fine with all of this.....but this all seems to have changed recently.  As they are getting older, we are discovering that their activities are getting more expensive.

Previously, we always had the summer camp expense (about $1000 for both kids, which includes 7 weeks of 5-day a week camp, and 2 weeks of "extended" camp, 3-days a week).  This covers all but the last week of the summer, and we rearrange stuff for that last week to make it all work.   As our work schedules and obligations have changed,we can't rearrange things as easily.  They aren't quite old enough to stay alone, so we have to get coverage when there wasn't school.  In the past 4 months we have spent:

  • Winter Vacation camp was $80.
  • Spring Vacation Camp was $150.
  • Dog Class (that is enrichment) was $100.
  • Summer Vacation Camp will be $1000 (or more....wait for it).
 All of the non-summer spending came from the camp savings account, which means that it will take us longer to save for Summer.  Which also puts off our savings for Christmas.  Typically we have a month or so that we don't save for either....and we have already used that up.

Bossy just "crossed over" from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.  That required a new shirt (removing his Cub patches from his other shirt would have ruined the shirt), new patches, and new pants.  And a new book.  We still need to get the pants (at $30+ ), but the other stuff ran us $57. As he becomes more involved (and right now, he is shooting for Eagle!) there will be more expenses (if he starts camping, he needs gear; as he works on badges, we may need supplies, small trips, etc).  At some point (maybe next summer), he MAY go to Scout camp, which will allow him to really get the scout experience and work on alot of requirements that we can't help him with (archery anyone??)  Scout camp is pricey.....

Sassy is becoming a Cadet scout....that will also require a new vest (cost unknown right now).  No idea how much more will be required there...but I am sure we will find out soon.

Sassy is very interested in art (and always has been), and she will tell you she wants to be an artist when she grows up (when she was little, it was "nature photographer" or "fireman").  There is an art enrichment camp we would love to send her to....but that is $165 a week (if she goes, it would replace the extended camp they go to at the end of the summer).  That is more than double what we pay now. 

We have some wonderful art programs available in our town (when you live in a town with a very large liberal arts school, and many grassroots organizations....this is what you get!).  But they are expensive, or at least they are to us.  We want to be able to foster her interest and abilities, but this will have to be tempered with the cost of it.

Bossy has few interests.  Scouts is his main one right now (see above)

Add in little things here and there....and they are getting to be quite expensive!! Now, I know this appears at first glance that we are just trying to spoil our kids with lavish experiences.  Honestly, most of this is "child care" but we figure we might as well foster their abilities at the same time.

And then we get to the other kid growing up stuff.

It hasn't quite happened yet, but we know that the days of eating like it is going out of style will happen.  Growing kids need food!  There are already days where I look at a bag and say "didn't we JUST buy this???"

We know that Bossy needs them, but because he is slow at losing his teeth, our dentist hasn't referred us to the orthodontist yet.  But it WILL happen.  He has an underbite, and a cross bite.  Apparently this is a very bad and expensive combination.

We have checked into additional dental overage that would help with orthodontics, but until we get the consult, we aren't doing anything.  I really don't think that we will get the coverage at this point.  I already figured out that the coverage will cost about $9,000, and that only will get us 50% coverage on the braces, up to a max of $3,500.  So there is a chance we would have to pay over $12,000.  So why do we need the insurance????

So....the bottom line is we need to save more for the kid stuff.  There will be some things that we won't be able to do (like art camp might have to wait).  There will be things we have no choice about (braces).  Anyway you slice it, they are requiring more money, on a more regular basis.

I am trying to rework our budget to account for this stuff, but it isn't easy.  We are just budgeting for more, on less money (between taxes, which here in CT will probably be going up again, no overtime, etc).  Amazing how I got a small raise, and it already got sucked up.

Stay tuned for part 2....the "personal" stuff!


  1. For the boy scout stuff, ask around in the troop to try to buy things that don't fit the older scouts. You could try setting up a "uniform exchange" in the troop so everyone can benefit, too (or look on ebay). The uniform pieces usually get worn very little, so the used ones are often in great shape, but not very useful for non-scout events.

  2. I did inquire about a uniform exchange, and they don't do it. I was told that most things get pretty worn, so really wouldn't help. When he out grows his shirt, we will remove the patches so we don't have to repurchase. By that point his shirt will be too small anyway.

    I will check ebay too. Thanks.

  3. I don't know how you have attached the patches in the past, but I hand sew all my sons patches on, so they are easy to remove. Also, consider looking at thrift stores for scout uniforms. Does he really need the pants?
    Also, about the camping equipment: please buy him a great sleeping bag and winter boots. As a wife of a scout leader of boys who camp EVERY SINGLE MONTH of the year, I know that good sleeping bags and winter boots are vital for boys to have a fun, safe time while camping. Look into buying used-but make sure it's high quality stuff. (k-mart sleeping bags are only great for living room sleepovers. (grin))
    We LOVE scouts, but it certainly is an expensive activity.

  4. My husband worked for the gov't also (just retired) and we never got the extra dental insurance. Make sure you shop around for orothodontics. My daughter had a very difficult combination also. In our area, orthodontists give no interest loans. You pay a certain amount up front and they just split the rest into payments. But don't wait too long. If they need a pallette expander, it's better to do it when they are younger.

    My older son has cognitive delays and fine motor skill delays and braces were a very difficult proposition. He had a very difficult time keeping them clean and he couldn't put on the elastic bands. He never did wear the retainers. He got an upper and a lower retainer when his braces came off, but he couldn't adjust.

    I know your kids have some health issues. If they also have cognitive/sensory issues, make sure to address that with the ortho up front. Ask him/her if they have ever had a patient with those issues and how they addressed them.

  5. There has to be children from older groups in scouts that no longer have the needed shirt, or are looking for a smaller uniform for a sibling. Someone out there more than likely needs to trade. This would be a great option. How about beginning a "scout closet" for those who are in need?? This would help you out and pose an interesting swap with other parents who may not want everyone to know their situations.

  6. Wow girl! I am with you on how expensive kids are and wanting them experiment with their curiosities. However, you are under way more stress.

    Wish there was something I could do.

    As for the braces, I am bracing myself! LOL Seriously though, one is going in them as we speak and it was right at $4,000.

    My other, younger child is in bad need of braces, teeth pulled, etc. and he has sensory issues as well. Our ortho finances for two years with monthly payments. It is like another car note, but at least you can manage it.

    My heart goes out to you and wish I had more words of wisdom. It is an against the current swim for sure.

  7. Can I give you a suggestion for Sassy? Have you guys heard of http://www.diy.org ? If you haven't, you really must go there right now and show it to her. Get her signed up. This will most likely get her fired up for art more than any camp ever can. It's kid-safe and has the most amazing things, plus her being a scout will translate really well into their own patch system. Bossy might enjoy it too but if Sassy's into art, this is the place for her for sure.

  8. For Bossy when he needs a backpack for camping go to Walmart and at some of their stores you can find a Coleman Max Elate 65L (L is for liter) They are $74.88 but work just as well as the $156 from REI that was recommended to us. My husband and son just came back from their first Boy Scout camp out and my husband said the backpack worked great. About the uniform call your Council office and see if they have any uniforms - or see if they are planning any sales. Also you could put a listing on craigslist that you are looking for one. Lots of kids sign up for Boy Scouts and then drop out.