|Image credit: cepn / 123RF Stock PhotoAdd caption|
I concluded that there were obvious areas where Mr. W. and I could reduce our spending if we needed to support little ones. This didn't come as much of a surprise; I already knew that we have a lot of "fluff" in our budget. We spend money on quite a few things that we don't need. Additionally, I realized that my parents did an excellent job of using financial perks that were offered to them. They're some savvy folks and I admire the ways they were able to live a comfortable, fulfilling life without spending beyond their means and without having a sky-high income.
- Discretionary Items: Each year, Mr. W. and I budget about $4,000 for discretionary spending. On a monthly basis, that breaks down to $100 for each of us and $150 for us to spend as a couple. I spend my discretionary funds primarily on clothing, cosmetics, and craft supplies. Mr. W. spends his on clothing, video games, and fitness-related stuff (protein powder). The $150 in joint discretionary funds is used towards activities, such as our 20-Dollar Dates, that we do together. These amounts don’t “feel” like a lot to me, but they add up over the course of the year. And our discretionary spending certainly feels high in comparison to that of my parents. My mom buys herself just a handful of new clothing items each year. She doesn’t wear makeup and she pays only $15 to have her hair cut. If pressed, Mr. W. and I could decrease our discretionary spending considerably.
All in all, I finally realized that I should avoid comparing myself to my parents. Yes, I should take lessons from their frugality. I should always appreciate how much they sacrificed and planned ahead to ensure that they could provide for our family. But, I also realized that my parents had access to some wonderful perks that Mr. W. and I simply don't have...and there's nothing either of us can change about that!
For those of you who are parents, how did children impact your finances? For those who might have children someday, do you currently feel financially prepared for children?