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Kids are a drain on your resources.
That’s the popular perception, right?
Allow me to counter that argument while I snatch a break from my duties as a father of three (first daughter born in 2013, boy/girl twins arriving in 2014).
For a start, I’ve never drunk as little alcohol on the now-rare occasions I make it to the pub, as I have since my first-born appeared. Even less so once two more appeared in quick succession a couple of years back.
Those cosy meals out with the wife now become a contest to see who can stay awake longest.
Just the thought of being woken a few hours later at some unseemly hour by three toddlers is more than enough to put me off being tempted by that offer of ‘one for the road’.
Similarly, those cosy meals out with the wife now become a contest to see who can stay awake longest (it’s the fatigue, not the dry conversation, honest!) rather than who can win the race to the second bottle of wine.
And that’s not all our gallant young trio have pruned off the monthly budget…
Prior to April 2013 (when two became three) I was buying around five or six magazines per month and a book at least every other month.
With time at a premium, I’m down to two magazines a month and a book every six months – resulting in a saving of around £15 a month.
As the stay-at-home parent in this partnership, I don’t have a commute in which to indulge in a bit of ‘Me Time’ (not that I miss the delays, bumps, nudges and generously-shared music blaring out of various sets of headphones on any given London Underground carriage).
With time at a premium and concentration levels at an all-time low, I am currently down to two magazines a month and a book every six months – resulting in a saving of around £15 a month.
In addition (or should that be subtraction?), think of all the money I have saved on my own meals by merely hoovering up my kids’ leftovers at lunch and dinner times.
A box of tea bags has never lasted as long as it does in a time where a cuppa will be made at 8am and finally drained around 90 minutes later once I can be sure the kids are changed, fed, watered and placated (until the cycle begins again at 9.35).
I used to be a football season ticket holder and a regular cricket watcher…all of which has now largely fallen by the wayside. If you include purchases of food, drinks, programmes and the occasional souvenir at the games, that’s a yearly save in excess of £2000 (yes, I do most of my sports watching in London).
My kids even prefer the park furthest away from the shops, limiting my predilection for the restorative powers of an over-priced coffee and equally extortionate pastry (plus something for the little ones, of course).
Spending much of my time at home also does wonders for my phone bill as the home wi-fi takes the strain…credit must also go to Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom from time to time.
Reading all of this back it makes me wonder why we haven’t had more children…what fantastic money-saving devices they have proven to be!
In truth, children also sharpen the mind (in between the regular bouts of cerebral diminution) to make one realise many of the material crutches you once focused your life around were not, after all, as vital as you thought.
Less draining, more pruning – thanks kids!
As the stay-at-home parent of three young children, I have certainly placed more emphasis on keeping a watchful eye on money since the first was born in April 2013. I am a freelance writer and communications professional based in Essex.