Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I'm slightly ashamed to say that money was one of the first things that got me thinking about not having kids. However, at this stage of the game, concern about money is absolutely one of my least important reasons for not wanting them. Nonetheless, I found the following analysis of my discretionary spending quite enlightening. Note that the percentages below are NOT percentages of my total gross income (I'd be homeless if they were!) They are instead percentage breakdowns of how I spend the money that is left over after I take care of rent, bills, savings, groceries and all that more important stuff.

36% eating out

25% clothes, shoes, and beauty products

14% cocktails

10% entertainment: concerts, ballgames, books, magazine subscriptions, songs and videos I buy on iTunes, etc.

8% pro manicures and pedicures

7% wine (meaning wine we buy for our home cellar, not wine I buy and drink while out; this is why "wine" is different from "cocktails.")

If I had children, almost all of the above budget categories would take severe hits, if not be wiped out entirely. And that just isn't something I want to contemplate. I had trouble recently when I was tweaking my personal budget, and wondering if I could really cut the cocktails back to $150 a month instead of $200 or so. (This is not as much as it sounds like; I live in a city where cocktails are often $15 a pop.) What if that cocktails budget suddenly went to zero, along with the time and opportunity to enjoy them?

Why would I do that to myself? I could see doing it if, say, I took a big pay cut to work in a job I'd enjoy more (like possibly teaching, as I discussed in my post of yesterday), but that's a personal tradeoff. Giving up all these things I enjoy solely for the benefit of a child is totally different, and it just isn't in me.

At the end of the day, the one BIG reason I don't want children is because I can't fathom handing my whole life over to someone else, and money is only one aspect of that.


Childfree Chick said...

You should harbor NO SHAME about being concerned with your money. Hell you work HARD for it and having kids bankrupts many a person.

Mentally as well as financially.

Mel said...

I definitely agree that if I had kids I'd be forced to give up many things that I enjoy and make me who I am. I can't afford to have both, so obviously, I'm "forced" (it's not a difficult decision really) to choose between having kids that I don't want anyway, and living my life for myself. If that makes me selfish, so be it.