Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Nickle and diming the kids

My son is a picky dresser.

I've not been allowed to pick out his clothing for at least two years. Yes, I supply him with enough neutral pants/shorts so he generally matches, but it is quite clear that I am not allowed to pick out his shirts. If he needs new clothes, then he is picking them out.
I'm not really all that fashionable to start with, and my only concern is that his clothes fit him well. To me, clothing choice is not a fight worth having. Sure, we are currently going through a Batman phase, where he owns a preposterous number of Batman-themed shirts, but overall, his clothes are inexpensive. (And it's cute when he tells me, "Mommy, I'm Batman!")

As he grows older, his choices may provoke an argument from me both over style and price tag. But, my friends tell me, his clothes will never be as expensive as girl's clothes.

All parents (and hopefully soon-to-be parents) know that children are expensive. But I've never considered which gender is more expensive. It turns out the answer depends on who you ask. Recent studies reveal conflicting information. Some claim that girls cost more because of their fashion needs (including clothes, shoes and makeup) and activities (like dance). Others claim that boys have higher bills because they tend to need replacement items (from wear and tear) and participate in more sports activities. Then you mix in things like food (which boys tend to consume more of during puberty) or college fees (more girls than boys currently aspire to college) and you can see how the bills grow as children get older.

Clearly, it depends on the family and the child. For me, I try not to worry about the bills but the bigger picture. I want to teach my son about the importance of money, but not to make him hyper-aware of it.

As always, it's that ever-elusive search for balance.

What about your family? Which of your children is more costly?

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