Is it Selfish to Not Have Kids?

Happy CoupleThis is DC from Young Adult Money. While Cat is away on maternity leave I’m filling in and talking about the benefits of, well, not having kids! Don’t worry, I made sure this topic was okay with Cat beforehand ;)

My wife and I are a “DINK” couple – Dual Income No Kids. While we have many (many) friends having children these days, especially those a few years older than us, we are happy being a DINK couple and are both on the same page. We might want kids down the road, but for now we are happy reaping the benefits that come with the DINK lifestyle.

What benefits, you ask? Well without further delay, here are just a few of the benefits of being a DINK:

1) Time to get finances in order

Let’s face it: children are expensive. It just takes simple math to realize that not having children will save you money. Therefore, not having children means you have extra money to save, invest, or spend.

While there is never a “right” time to have kids, it’s hard to argue that putting off having kids is bad for you financially. In this “pre-children” time period you can focus on a number of things:

  • Build up your savings
  • Buy a House
  • Pay down debt (consumer, student loans, mortgage)
  • Add to your investments

Yes you can (and will) do all these things while you have children, but if you don’t have children you will have access to funds for getting your finances in order that otherwise would have gone towards all the expenses that children come with.

2) Time for your spouse

I’m willing to admit something: I don’t make enough time for my wife. Between working a 9-5 full-time job, pursuing my side hustles, working out, and all those small time-consuming things that come with “life” I simply don’t give her the time she deserves. If we were to have children right now I would certainly have to cut back on my side hustle pursuits, even though they are helping us reach our long-term goals.

Because I already feel like I don’t give my wife the time she deserves I can’t even imagine throwing kids into the mix! I think all parents would agree that when you have kids you need to sacrifice things. Unfortunately I can only imagine that includes sacrificing some of the time you used to give towards your spouse. If you live in a DINK household, though, you can (more) easily dedicate your free time to your spouse.

3) Ability to focus on your career

One time I was interviewing for a job and I asked the interviewer about his experience getting his MBA. He told me he finished a part-time MBA in a very short period of time because they had their first child.

A pastor I knew told us getting his phd resulted in a few years being a ‘blur’ and that his wife and children suffered the most.

These stories reveal an obvious truth: it’s easier to focus on your career when you don’t have children. It’s hard enough to sacrifice your evenings and weekends going to grad school if you are single or married, but if you have children it’s a whole new form of sacrifice.

There is only so much time in a day and if you want to move up in your career, build your business, or get that advanced degree it’s going to take a time sacrifice. It’s easier to make that sacrifice when you don’t have children.

4) Freedom to Travel

Traveling is something that almost everyone I know wants to do. Not having the time or money for it is usually the reason why people don’t travel. Adding children to the equation not only limits your time and money but also brings in a whole new variable. From now on every time you travel you have to think about whether your children will go with. If they are going with, you have to make sure you are doing child-safe activities. If they aren’t going with you have to make arrangements for them to be taken care of.

Beyond time and responsibility, you will have to think about how your financial responsibilities to your children will impact your ability to travel. Yes, there are creative ways to pay for travel but it’s simply easier to find money for travel if you don’t have kids.
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Yes, I realize you can get your finances in order, spend time with your spouse, focus on your career, and travel while having kids. I’m not ignorant of that fact. If you don’t have kids, though, these things become easier.

Ultimately I think it all comes down to being on the same page with your significant other. If you both want children, that’s great! If you both want to put off having children for a few years (or not have children at all), that’s perfectly fine as well.

Just please don’t call me selfish for not having kids like one person did a while back :)

Are you or have you ever been a DINK household? If you have kids now, how has it impacted your finances, time, etc.?

Editor’s Note: Thanks so much, DC! I have to agree with the above. Having kids has really changed everything, and the hubs and I are so glad that we traveled and saved some moolah before they got here!
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Photo by Gareth Williams

How to Serve a Frugal Easter Dinner

frugal easter dinnerPlease welcome back the Laurie of The Frugal Farmer. She was so sweet to submit two posts for my maternity leave, and I really, really appreciate it!! In case you didn’t read her last post, Laurie is an awesome mama, blogger, and debt repayment queen. You’ll love her tips on how to serve a frugal Easter dinner. Thanks again, Laurie!

We in the Frugal Farmer family love, love, love to have people over and serve them a nice big meal, especially on holidays.  However, feeding a big group of people on a budget can get tricky.  We love to show kindness to others by preparing a meal for them, but we’re also on a tight budget as we work toward debt freedom.  Over the years, we’ve learned tricks and tips for hosting holiday meal gatherings and yet still keeping the costs reasonable.  Here are some of our tips:

Know When to Choose Homemade and When to Choose Store-Bought

Homemade foods are nearly always cheaper, especially when it comes to things like breads, desserts and side dishes, but sometimes store-bought is the better way to go.  For instance, last Thanksgiving, I toyed with making homemade bread rolls to serve to our group of twenty, but when the generic brown n’ serves went on sale for a buck a bag, I knew this was the way to go.  The cost comparison was similar to the homemade version, and the work it would save me was priceless. J  Another thing we did differently on Thanksgiving this year was that we made our stuffing with bread crumbs from home instead of store-bought bread crumbs.  I’d learned a tip on another blog about saving the ends (or crusts) of your bread loaves in a freezer bag and freezing them in the weeks before Thanksgiving and using those as your bread stuffing base.  So, instead of paying $3 a bag (we usually buy at least two bags) for store-bought bread crumbs, we used our bread loaf ends, which we had been throwing away, and had likely the best stuffing we’ve ever served.   Having a good idea of what foods cost in their raw state and what a comparable processed item would cost will help you to make quick and wise decisions about which option will be more cost effective.

Go Potluck

People, in general, love to contribute to a big meal, so don’t be afraid to ask your guests if they’ll bring a thing or two.  We’ve done this at our Easter and other holiday dinners for years now, and it not only saves on cost, but it adds a bit of fun to the festivities as we get to taste the cooking creations of others.  I usually try and pick out the more expensive items, and dole out one to each family that joins us on holidays, leaving the hard work and more inexpensive items to us.

Be Choosy About Serving Alcohol

On Easter and other holidays, serving alcohol for 20-30 people can get expensive real quick.  We handle this one of two ways: we either just serve pop and milk, inviting guests to bring anything else they might like on their own dime, or, we’ll pick up a more inexpensive 12-pack of beer and/or a cheaper bottle of wine, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.  The rule though, at our house, is to never let spending on drinks of any kind get out of hand, as this can be a huge budget-breaker

Plan Frugal Activities

With Easter specifically, the activities generally center around the kids.  We always buy a couple of bags of the cheap plastic Easter eggs, throw in some inexpensive candies and a few pennies, and the kids have a blast searching our large yard for the Easter eggs in their assigned color (this assures that everyone gets the same amount of eggs).  You can also plan other outdoor games, depending on the weather, such as badminton/volleyball, croquet, or simply send the kids out for a good old-fashioned game of hide and seek.  For winter holidays, choose activities like group games, family video slide shows, or fun movies to watch that fit the holiday you’re celebrating.

For the adults we make sure the sports options are available for them too, but mostly they’re quite happy simply sitting around and chatting.

With a little ingenuity, Easter dinner and other holiday dinners can be fun and entertaining without breaking the bank.

What are your favorite Easter and other holiday traditions?