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).
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!