You can’t turn on the news or open a newspaper without reading or hearing something about the economy. I’ll be honest, I normally tune out anything that deals with this topic, but allow me to discuss a new economic phenomenon I discovered this weekend…
This weekend I asked my husband to pull out some of our old computers, as I am a huge family historian and was curious if I had old pictures, or beloved emails from our dating years sitting on some hard drive tucked in our basement. My husband plugged in our old computer and we strolled down memory lane.
We started with a computer my husband and I had at our apartment together. As we were scrolling through documents, we stumbled upon several budgets. We opened them up…
And discovered Kidflation…
My husband and I moved in together in 2004. We lived in a fairly nice, small, 2 bedroom apartment. I was just a new associate, he had just landed a job at a huge local factory. But yet, our twenty-something selves were so nervous about our first real responsibility of living together that we sat down and wrote (several) budgets for ourselves.
My jaw literally dropped when I looked at the budgets. I couldn’t get over how cheap our expenses were, how much money we had left over. This was especially shocking considering we made significantly less back in our 20’s. But, yet…even though we thought at the time our money was tight we had so much money to spare.
We were amazed at what “tight” was for our 20 something selves. Our current expenses are about 5 times the amount of what that budget showed. Rent was ½ of our current mortgage payment, our small Saturn Ion didn’t hold a candle to our Grand Caravan’s payment, our $60 power bill probably wouldn’t heat or cool our house for a day yet alone a month.
Then of course there were the “laughables” in the budget…20 year old Todd and Mandi had such “now foreign concepts” entries in their budgets as entertainment and dining out. We had clothing budgets, and money set aside for tickets and trips. I even had an entry in my budget for hair appointments! Yes, 20 something Mandi had standing 8 week appointments to freshen up her blonde hair whereas 30 something Mandi has to dye her hair brown because dropping hundreds of dollars doesn’t sit well in the world of kidflation.
So why do we now pay about 5 times more than our 20 something selves?? Well, its simple kidflation. Since 2004, we entered the money-sucking world of parenting. For every child we added, our budget doubled or tripled itself…and our beloved entries were replaced with such “crowd pleasures” as: Life insurance, Co-Pays, Formula, Diapers, Activity Expenses. Entertainment expenses for Mommy and Daddy? Yeah right.
I love my children to no end, but when you see it in good old black and white, you really see just how much it costs to raise a child. I can remember being 25 sitting at my desk of the first law firm, thinking I was living pay check to pay check, and dreaming of the day when I would be a partner and enter the world of no money problems. I thought “Wow once I’m partner I’ll be swimming in money”….
Well, I didn’t factor in kidflation. Apparently kidflation is governed by one motto: The more money you make, the more money they take.
I really wonder what those two twenty-something year olds would have thought about the fact that their thirty-year old selves are paying for one month of daycare what they paid for their entire month of expenses.
Unfortunately like most expert economists, I don’t hold a great deal of optimism for improvement on kidflation. Seems like every year it grows and grows. One minute you are giddy with excitement that you don’t have to buy pricey formula anymore, only to find yourself five minutes later with $100.00 worth of snack foods in your cart at the grocery store for your hungry toddler. Finally get one out of diapers, only to replace that portion of your expenses with pricey dance classes or soccer teams. If it isn’t one thing its another. It never fails.
One morning my son asked me why I had to go to work….I smiled, chuckled and said “Look around H!” Yes, my three year is oblivious to reality and believes monster trucks and superheroes just grow magically from Wal-Mart bags. But yes, H, Mommy works because of one simple word…kidflation.
So buckle up parents for another fiscal year of inflation. And if you ever think you have it bad, just save your old budgets and checkbooks…I guarantee you in 5 years you will laugh realizing just how cheap you had it.