Question for people with kids - Post-kid in early 2020, the Incremental expense (mainly Nanny but also formula, diapers etc.) have dipped our monthly savings from ~$5k to under $2k (Dual income, HCOL). While the drop is anticipated, how do people adjust their budgets and find new savings to offset these child expenses to certain degree?

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We eat out less (no fun with young kids), but stress drink more. We buy less clothing for ourselves. No time to shop - we sleep instead if we have open time in our schedule. But seriously, we save the most on travel. No more fun, expensive trips. Just travel to see relatives or something. Traveling with really young kids just blows - not worth it to do it in an attempt to enjoy a new location or relax. Some parents can enjoy trips with kids, of course, but we can’t. We’re also not saving anywhere near the cost of the kids, of course, but that’s just not possible. But it’s amazing how your toddler properly eating with a fork and spoon can make you feel like a million bucks.

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Daycare instead of nanny

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Look at the overall budget and see if you have any opportunities. Naturally some area - diapers/for ula can't be touched but overall other personal expenses. Kids expenses only grow over time. Fewer toys but more expensive toys :-) But nothing replaces the joy of kids and memories that will be parents forever

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There are a lot of ways to offset. Possibly make food vs buying (we eat a lot of the same foods). Buy reusable items like pouches or jars and less re-buying over time. Shop sales. Change diapers if you want to cheaper. Instead of wipes could go to wash cloths and water. Use only baby detergent on everything. Or buy fragrance free that you can use on baby clothes. Get hand me downs. I’d also suggest saving separately for baby as a “misc exp” because when things happen, like diaper rash, you never know what’s going to work and that alone could cost a stupid amount of money to try 5+ products.

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Eating out when you have kids is the Biggest area to curb spending

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The saving is after you 401k and all other retirement?

Yes, maxing out both our 401k and my HSA

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Biggest place we found to save money is buying less clothes (with my first daughter I bought way too many cute outfits) and cooking/eating at home. We used to eat out 4x per week or more and now we try to keep it to 1 or 2. Other than that, kids are expensive especially if you want to give them a good life with tutors and sporting lessons and extracurricular activities.

Nanny is on top of the list for toddlers (top visible expense). It is a personal choice (healthier kids and more flexibility vs daycare until they are 2-3). From 3 to 5 is potentially the most expensive period (no local/state/federal program, everything will be on your nickel). Formal Pre-School (3-4) and Pre-Kinder (5) are foundational and a sea of difference vs. regular/basic DayCare programs. For K and Elementary period , the main saving strategy is finding a house in a top-tier school district (your cash flows go to your home equity that eventually will partially finance your retirenent). Otherwise, if you live nearby downtown, plan for $25k+ for decent private school (per kid). It seems yesterday when i was chaning deapers, mine are now 7 and 9. We have another one on the way, blaming WFH. Kids are worth every penny and more. Take into account that your income will increase too (and encourage spouse to hang in there and continue working, 2-5 period is more demanding physically, it takes 2…). As a eference we are in DC metro area (Arlington, VA).

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