Cohabitation, Student Debt Threaten Marriage
(11-22-2013, 12:27 PM)PrairieMom Wrote:
(11-22-2013, 01:29 AM)Akavit Wrote: It is certainly true that most professionals are expected to have cell phones.  Unfortunately, I had to get one when I went into business.  However, I still refused to pay $100 a month for a silly phone. 

I get the expectation thing - my husband has a phone that he uses primarily for work as while he's never "on call" (i.e. get standby pay), he's always on call in the sense that the on call guy will often call for a consult. He needs to be available.

But his phone? A hand-me down, off contract from a family member that was destined for the electronics dump. Pay-as-you-go talk and text plan. Costs us about $15 a month, if he gets a call and it's going to be more than 30 seconds he calls them back on our bottom-of-the-barrel VOIP land line. He has internet access at home (we have it at home for homeschooling, but when times are tough it's among the first to be downgraded or eliminated altogether) and work, so there's no need for a smart phone or data plan.

It often boils down to choices. "Expensive" babies are a good example. Again, I have family who recently had a baby, and they lament at the cost. But they chose to bottle-feed, use disposable diapers, accept no hand-me-downs and buy everything new. Mom gets a year off, with virtually full pay once maternity leave pays out and she gets her top-up from her employer. They're gonna flip out when they start having to pay child care to the tune of minimum $400 a month (and can run as high as $1000 in some centres).

A few months ago, a report came out here in Canada that claimed the cost of raising a child in the first year of life, meeting just basic needs, is about $5000 (not including child care), which when you consider that a very-low income earners could get between $2,500 and $4,000 tax free from the government in various child benefits benefits, would result in very little money out of pocket.

I was surprised it was that high! We have three children, so my costs with the 3rd were very little (I figured it to be about $400, only because I bought a few new cloth diapers to replenish my stash), but even when I sat down and figured out what I spent, it only averaged about $1000 per child. Why? We breastfed, baby ate our food when ready, cloth diapered, graciously accepted hand-me-downs (and passed them on when done with them), etc. We made conscious choices to keep our expenses down, we drive paid-for used vehicles, we don't have cable, we have never purchased a TV in our life (we have relied on other's cast-offs), buy things at yard sales, etc.

(11-22-2013, 01:09 AM)Chestertonian Wrote: Netflix is 9.99 a month. 

Yes. But how much is the internet connection needed to watch it on your laptop? Around here, you're looking at $40-50 a month to get a fast enough connection. That's $600. Add a Starbucks or two every day, a few drinks on the weekend, a smartphone, lululemon pants... it starts to add up fast.

Quote:I live in New York so $300k mortgage sounds cheap to me 

I can imagine! Around here, it's a fair chunk of change, the average house price is sitting at around $300,000 market, which is a lot considering wages. They are higher out west, but then again you can earn six figures in the oil patch. I always gasp in horror when I'm at my parents and House Hunters or something is on... a million bucks for a shack? Yikes!

I think that unfortunately, unless you are truly on the Prairie and can get away with the type of slow-paced, close-to-the-earth kind of lifestyle that urbanites like me tend to romanticize, you at the very least need an internet connection at home (and not *just* for Fisheaters).  I once was in church where the pastor was saying "If it didn't exist 100 years ago, you don't really need it."  100 years ago, I wouldn't have survived my first year of life so I can't buy that.  Technologies and economies change for better or worse... but unfortunately you need to exist in the society you exist in, and that means having the right tools for your trade.  You do not need a car where I life (NYC) because the city was designed for pedestrians.  We can get groceries two blocks away and there is a church 3 blocks away (not a TLM though).  The TLM is a subway ride away, as is everything else we need.  However, some cities are not designed for pedestrians but were designed for the car, especially the suburbs of those cities.  There are plenty of places in America where you simply can't live without a car (or at least a friend who has a car).  So even though I don't need one to live, I can see that other people do, even though they didn't exist 100 years ago.

As for the cost of having kids, I know lots of people who moved here to "find themselves", established a career, met someone of the opposite sex and got married... but as soon as the kids came, they left for the suburbs.  If my mother and relatives didn't live locally I would have fled to the suburbs too, where costs are cheaper (but not by that much).  When it comes to the costs of having a child, some costs you can choose and some you can't.  For our first child (who we lost) the C section and subsequent hospital stay cost us thousands of dollars, and we were still paying it off years later.  But my wife's unplanned home birth on the living room couch was free (although it scared the $#&@ out of me).  Some people have to bottle feed for one reason or another.  My wife used a breast pump which I think was very expensive... probably still cheaper than formula but not free either.  She also used cloth diapers and said they were cheaper but the upfront cost was more.  There are a lot of extraneous things people buy for their babies like those swings, bouncy seats, designer diaper bags and strollers (I can't believe anyone would spend $1000 on a stroller).  My son never liked the swing, he just wanted to be rocked by a real person and there is no substitute for that.  I also don't know why we spent hundreds on a crib when he co-slept with us almost every night.  It turned out to not be a necessity for us, but not everyone can co-sleep and thus a crib might be indispensable for someone else.

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Re: Cohabitation, Student Debt Threaten Marriage - by Chestertonian - 11-22-2013, 02:13 PM

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