What's the big deal about Young Living

An Open Letter to Suze Orman

My husband was furiously flipping channels, because he's a man and that's what he does, when he paused for a moment on your show.

We both watched as you were in the middle of counseling a young couple, 29 and 30 years old, who wondered if they could afford to have the wife quit her job and have another baby.

It's not that we expected you to actually encourage them to make cutbacks and sacrifice whatever was necessary to have the mother home with her child. I mean that would be NUTS, right?

But we were absolutely dumbfounded when you told them that their expenses would go up $700-1000 each month due to necessary baby items, like "diapers and this and that." (Diapers were the only actual expenses you came up with.)

Diapers? $700? A MONTH??? Really?

Because I buy diapers and I can pretty much guarantee they don't cost that much, at least here on Planet Earth, where I shop.

And neither do all the other baby related expenses all added up, even if we went hog wild and bought Pampers without a coupon.

You told the couple "sorry, you can't afford it," and there was "no way possible" for their plan to work.

No possible way? Really?

Suze, pardon me for saying so, but I don't think you know what you are talking about here.

You may not be aware of this, but babies are not that expensive, especially when it is not the first.

You see, families who are adding a second, third, or (insert freakishly high ordinal number here) child can actually re-use car seats, high chairs, baby beds, clothes, and all of the other stuff they spent way too much money on for the first kid.

If they are really interested in cutting expenses, they could breastfeed, cloth diaper, and skip preschool. Besides the very nominal start up cost of buying the cloth diapers, all those things are FREE.

What else does a baby need? Baby shampoo? Maybe. Dr. appointments? Occasionally. Baby food? Not really.

I know. It's a radical thought.

But, it can be done. A family can actually sacrifice luxuries for a greater cause. And for far, far less than $700 a month.

Babies take time. They take patience. And sacrifice. Lots of it. But not a lot of money.

I would wager that an additional baby can be added to a frugal-minded family for less than $70 a month. And if you've got God on your side, He will make a way. There are lots of people just like me who do the "impossible" every day.

I think you were way off base with that young, disappointed couple. And I think you should check out diaper prices next time you hit the local discount chain.

Please, see my follow-up post "Can We Afford Another Baby?".

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  1. i didn’t see that but i am angry too! i can’t believe this!! we should do something = we can’t let others believe this trash!

    • Suze, you are way, way off base on this one!
      NO ONE NEEDS to buy all the bells and whistles! That’s an “entitlement want” by an entitlement generation who wants it all and refuses to make any sacrifices! Children take enormous amounts of time, not money!
      Everyone has “baby stuff” they will share or give to you to clear out their attics or basements. I bought NO furniture, because I networked and told everyone I knew that I was in the market for their “left overs”! Hot soapy water and a good scrubbing is all that is needed for high chairs, cribs, changing tables, swings, car seats, strollers, toys, maternity and baby clothing etc. etc.
      Everyone knows someone who will be happy to give you “stuff” !
      There are always the Thrift Stores, much of it new with tags!

      Basically, I could well afford to buy this stuff but why would I?
      (I’d rather start a college account with that money!)
      You, of course, exercise due diligence to be sure the items are not on any recall list…and that costs nothing! A little non toxic paint makes
      everything new. Get a $25 blender and make your own baby food with fresh food when you cook for the rest of the family.If it is important to you to increase your family by having a baby, it’s eminently doable.
      Suze hasn’t a clue and is way off base on this one!!!

      • I’ve found the same thing. My husband and I are expecting our first and between garage sales and networking, we’ve spent under $200 on baby furniture. I’m not working after the baby is born, but we’re paying off debt and I’m learning skills to help make our lives more frugal. With God’s help, nothing is impossible and we’ve found so many doors just opening up for us and our coming little girl!

      • Suzy is NOT taking into account God! God promised to supply our NEEDS not our wants. Sometimes he supplies those too, but not always. Like you said, we live in an entitled society now. How sad that this young couple may actually make the decision to open themselves up to one of God’s greatest blessings based on such terrible advice! We too shop yard sales and thrift stores. Our children have nice brand name clothing, but I do NOT pay brand name prices. It’s nothing for me to find a $60 – $80 dress for like $1 at a yard sale. Now, we may not always get what we want when we want it, but if you shop yard sales and are patient, you can find all kinds of nice things without the expense.

  2. It makes me so sad that people believe this stuff. We just added our first, and out of frustration at these ‘a child will cost you $500,000’ figures, I did a rough sum of how much our baby has cost us. This is our first, and we are very grateful to family and friends for handmedowns, we have an abundance of clothes and toys.

    A few notes to our figure. We tried to cloth diaper and had issues because of our weather, our washing machine, our super hard errodes-taps-right-off-the-fixtures water, and the discount brand I used, so we moved to disposables. Of course baby inherited her mummys extreme sensitivity to EVERYTHING >_<. So we have to buy the second most expensive diaper brand.

    Due to stupid doctors and misleading infomation, I was unable to breastfeed, and bubs just so happened to be unable to handle cows milk formula. It's not an allergy, it just appears to have been too harsh for her digestive system which is, again, as sensitive as her mummys. We didn't want to use soy so went to goats milk. Of course there's only one goats milk brand out there, and it's two to three times the price of other formulas.

    And just to top it off, I buy organic baby food at twice the price of regular baby food because I'm just crunchy like that 😀

    Despite both of these rather costly setbacks, and my own costly preference, I did a guestimate in my head and I would say we've spent about $5000 Australian dollars in the past 10 months, total, for everything, furniture, toys, clothes and nappies, food and medicines.

    Now as if $500 a month for a high needs firstborn isn't low enough, that's australian ecconomy, but you're refering to american ecconomy. Australian grocery bills are higher, and our furniture and clothing is more expensive also, and well, basically everything here is more expensive (it evens itself out by you guys having to actually pay to see the doctor and other expenses you have that we don't) but for the items we're talking about, I would make a very vague estimate that it would translate in value to around $3000-$3500 for those 10 months.

    For a second child it really could be so much less than that, and it would be less for a newborn that didn't need $40-a-can formula (average formula here is $15-$20 a can) I wish there was a way to tell the world that this is the reality, not those blown up figures based on you buying clothes from a boutique, and the latest toys as they come out.

    • Abba12, you’re awesome! I loved you’re reply, because even with “everything” working against you, it still wasn’t as bad as what she was saying. Good for you!

      I know that now, with teens, the expenses have gone up a bit (5 teens = one really crazy grocery bill!!!) but we’re still making it on one income that hasn’t grown in 11 years….

  3. Well said, Smockity!
    Unfortunately, I think Suze is brainwashed like the rest of the population to believe that a family MUST spend money on the newest, bestest STUFF for baby. As you pointed out, we did spend far more on our first than we did on our second. Partially that was because we had to accumulate the big stuff, clothes, etc. that we then saved for our second (and maybe eventually our third). But it was also because during our oldest’s babyhood, we learned a LOT about what kind of family we wanted to be, and about what was really important. Our second child never ate store-bought baby food. I steamed, baked & purred it myself. Not a lot more time (maybe 2-3 hours week), but far less money. We bought secondhand baby clothes when we didn’talready have something stashed away. We significantly limited the toys (for both if the kids) and I made a lot of the baby &toddler toys. Do you know hoe happy a toddler can be with a big yogurt container and several smaller yogurt lids?
    Irate that our society discourages large fmailies because of the “expense,” and I’m very happy that you’ve spoken out about it.

  4. Thanks for the common sense! I agree wholeheartedly.

  5. Sheena Gossett says:

    Ever since we have had our two kids one of us has always been at home. We knew that being at home w/our kids was far more important and we could make whatever sacrifices were needed to make sure our kids knew they were loved and not a burden. Not every family can or wants to make this choice. But if it is important to you, you can do it. Thanks for speaking up.

  6. Good for you! What people dont get in this materialistic world, is that anyone can make that happen. People can sacrifice lavish living to raise a child, which is a much richer blessing. If being at home with your children is important to you, you can make it happen. I always say, even if my husband lost his job or had to get a pay cut or something that would in most peoples mind, force me to have to work outside the home full time, I would first sell our house and move to something affordable, go down to one car pawn jewelry etc etc etc. I would do what it takes before having to go to work. Then there is the “age old” factor of trusting in God for provision, which he always provides. Life isnt about stuff. Even if we were poor and living on soup and bread, there is no greater blessing than the gift of a child, and the priviledge of raising a little life to the glory of God. Its just sad that people are trusting in people like Suze Orman and not God. Thanks for sending this on. I hope it gets publicized so that people can see and realize that they can do this.

  7. Love your open letter to Suzie. I have always been a stay at home mom, at times it has been tight very tight. But with sacrifice it can be done. My babies furniture and items were alway used items from a second hand store. Same with clothes. Which by the way as they out grew I consigned back and was able to buy items needed as they grew. As for food breast feeding is free. I had to supplement one and you get all these coupons and free deals. I was lucky no special needs. As for my other that had lactose issue we used soy from carnation and agian with coupons. Diapers do not cost that much, biggest expense I had was desitine on one, only thing that worked and everything gave him a rash. I even had to make homemade wipes.
    It is with everything else you want it bad enough you will fi d a way to make it happen!
    Scarfice some don’t like that word but being a mom is that.

  8. I agree with all of the above. She also probably doesn’t realize things like baby showers happen, and you can register for the expensive things (car seats, pak’n’plays, high-chairs) and also anything else under the moon that you “want” instead of NEED. There are also 2nd-hand stores and consignment shops, yardsales and craigslist. Just off the top of my head, we bought TWO “big” items for our 1st baby: A new infant seat/stroller combo (which we had saved up for, used a coupon, discount code and everything else we could find to combine with a good sale and free S&H), and a chest of drawers off of craigslist that was the perfect height for me to use for a changing table and to double as baby’s dresser. Friends gave us their 20-some year old glider rocker they needed to pass on. Our crib was bought at a yardsale and used for all 4 of my SIL’s kids. Our baby bathtub was from a friends’ purge. Another friend gets gobs of hand-me-downs for her girl to grow in to, and lets me use them first.

    Yeah, we wouldn’t be able to afford a baby for that ridiculous price, either. We’d be living under a bridge in a cardboard box. But there is no way on earth we even come close to spending that a year, or even the 1st year (she’s almost 2) even counting our ins. deductible and medical costs!!

  9. Thank you so much for saying this!! Those kinds of shows always upset me.

    I don’t know why experts tell people they need to have a fortune and work two jobs and have investments, and lots of money saved? That just isn’t reality for most people. And frankly there are many of us who don’t even care about those things. Our children, our homes and our husbands are what we gladly invest everything into. – even if we humbly don’t have much.

    Can you imagine if Suze Orman read American history books and how the immigrants, pioneers and pilgrims managed?

    Mrs. White
    The Legacy of Home

  10. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for the great letter. Babies aren’t expensive. The parents that spend lavishly on a baby would spend that money even if they didn’t have a baby, but it would be on something else. We have 4 kids and I have found that we even need fewer clothes as we have more because laundry is done more often. We have switched to cloth diapers, I breastfeed, and the baby eats table food.

  11. RE: Suze’s advice to having another baby. I was shocked and astounded at the advice given I have only 2 children, but have 8 grndchildren and 3 great grandchildren. I strongly recommend use of yard sales and thrift stores (Goodwill, Clothes closet, etc) for good sturdy baby clothes – and as always wash before wearing just as you do from the high end stores. If you are low income, use WIC services for formula and foods for the first four years of life. For you people who don’t qualify for WIC, use powdered milk with polyvisol vitamin drops in the reconstituted milk. Make only the amount of milk that will be used, thus not wasting any. You can add water for reconstitution of the milk anywhere (airplanes, car, bus, office, etc). Begin using good quality foods by using a blender – use veggies first, NOT FRUIT!! Mix fruit with cereal, making it a wonderful food, and an excellent snack. As for diapers, I recommend disposable ones, using the store brand in place of the nationally advertised ones. If you are a couponer, you may be able to get a steal on diapers. Don’t overlook family and friends in the use of baby furniture. You don’t need a changing table or a baby bureau. A rocking chair for mother and child is good. Hand me downs are always excellent. In later years, you can hand down items to the next generation. YES, YOU CAN HAVE ANOTHER CHILD AT A LOW COST !! Perhaps Dad can do a better job at care than mother, consider that also. Good luck.

    • I believe that WIC should be used for those who truly need it due to the loss of job, disability, or in other extreme situations.

      It should not be used to supplement the costs of having another child.

  12. Wow! That was so sad! We live in the second most expensive city in our state and have 4 children. Our income is about $2000 less than that couples. Yet, we live in a 5 bedroom “old” house, send our kids to one of the best dance/theater studios in town, eat mostly organic, some family members eat a grain free diet (due to allergies), give to charity weekly, pay all of our bills on time, homeschool, and there will even be presents under the tree! I’ve been home for 12 years with our children. Is the budget tight? Yes, but so worth it to be a driving force in our children’s world. It is all about choices.

  13. She’s ludicrous. Maybe she is assuming the couple lives in N.Y. city and the baby has to learn 3 languages taught at a private school before the age of one. And, maybe she thinks a nanny is a necessity. And, strollers, cribs, and clothes must be bought brand new from a boutique. She obviously doesn’t live anywhere near the rest of us.

    She would have had a better news story about how to tuck away a few hundred a month for twelve years, cause when the child turns thirteen they begin to eat A LOT! That’s the advice I would have liked to have had sixteen years ago, 5 kids later. The only extra expense we’ve really incurred has been in the grocery bill, and that could have been prepared for. We could have stock piled, or couponed. : )

  14. so true!
    so glad we had our 8!
    altho I have been to the brink of insanity, and
    altho at 13-26 with 6 living at home they NEVER stop eating,
    I would do it again!

  15. Great letter, and good for you! I hope you sent a copy to Suze–she needs to hear it!

  16. *facepalm* Where did she get those numbers from? I mean did she go pricing baby clothes from Lord and Taylor or Dillards- who at the end of the season have killer deals on kids clothes as in like 90% off. We have five and have never spent that much a month on stuff for them. Yes we did have to buy a new crib and car seat with the newest baby since they had changed the laws for them. Otherwise we brought everything from good quality secondhand shops

  17. Colleen Walker says:

    Suzie Orman is wrong on a lot of things…I have six children and we live on my husband’s military check….she would be shocked that we own our own home, drive cars, and take vacations…..Furthermore, we don’t live outside of our means and we don’t finance anything we can’t pay for….Children are a gift from the Lord, not an expense to be delt with…

  18. Brilliant! I just posted your letter on our Facebook wall for our fans.

    So well said!

  19. GREAT post Connie!!! Preach it sista :)!

  20. Way to go Connie!! Love, love, love this post!

    Suze drives me crazy! I’m sure she means well, but she’s so wrong when it comes to this type of thing. Babies cost almost nothing for the first few years, especially if you have hand-me-downs from the previous (freakishly high number) babies. You’re exactly right about cloth diapering, breastfeeding, etc. The actual birth is the most expensive thing for us. Since our insurance doesn’t cover homebirth, we pray for about $2000 out of pocket for our midwife and related expenses…so we try to keep that much in our savings account…it’s called “budgeting-for-something-you-want”…I’m sure Suze knows all about that. 😉

    We’ve had our share of financial difficulties, and our money situation is far from perfect, but it’s probably no more “messed up” than the average family with 2 incomes, 2 cars, and 2 kids. The key is to live within your means–but I’m preaching to the choir here. 😀

    Thanks again for making my day! God Bless!

  21. I did not see the show – mainly because I honestly can’t stand Suze Orman -but I applaud you for posting this letter and I hope someone sees it and gives her a copy.

    Anything is pretty much possible if you want it too and are willing to sacrifice for it.

  22. Wow…that’s a pretty baseless statistic coming from a woman who doesn’t even have kids! Love this letter!

  23. It’s pretty rare that Suze Orman says anything that would in any way be construed as pro-family. I can’t help but think that she said that because of her extreme feminism, rather than based on any actual numbers she knows of. She just pasted her rationale right on top of her knee-jerk reaction and called it “financial” advice. She bashes men and encourages divorce on a regular basis. I doubt she’s ever been in favor of anything that would result in a woman actually *gasp* depending on a dirty old man to support her, no matter what the numbers work out to be.

    • I should note that I’ve never actually watched or listened to Suze Orman, so I’m just going by about a dozen blog posts and articles I’ve read over the last couple of years. It seems like every time I see her name, it’s because someone has noticed her giving morally questionable advice.

  24. How much baby costs is really beside the point. How much God provides is the key. “and my God shall supply ALL your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19
    Babies require different amounts of money, time and energy but we can trust God to provide us with all of our needs and baby’s needs. Who’s to say life without baby wont cost more than we think we can afford?
    May we all learn to trust Him more fully and to teach that to others.

  25. Wow. I must be on the short train to Crazytown since we have four children and live on a public school teacher’s salary. Yes, I do a lot of odd jobs to make ends meet but when I look at my children, I cannot imagine life without them. It is certainly worth any sacrifice I have to make.

    • Tabitha, I am the oldest of seven children supported by my father’s teaching salary. He works his feet off six days a week. And we were happy. (I’m married now, living in a travel trailer, expecting my 1st.) My six brothers are still supported by that salary, and they’re still happy. God will bless the person who sacrifices for His priorities. :-)

  26. Amen!
    And this may be slightly off topic, but I wanted to note that many people have large families and manage just fine- ON THEIR OWN. They aren’t depending on the government for aid, using foodstamps etc. Honestly, sometimes I think that is what is behind the comments Suze made about the cost of another child. I think it is fear. Fear that “you’ll be having all those babies, and I’ll end up paying for it”. I think media has a lot to do with that view. But that’s a whole other topic for another day:)

  27. Very well said! I just added up the cost of our 3rd baby…given dr. bills, buying cloth diapers to use (we had pay laundry with the other 2 so we didn’t cloth), and buying a new stroller that would fit in our car with the 3rd row up (so we can seat our whole family…we opted for a new stroller instead of a new car…) we’ve spent $2300 on baby 3 at five months old. Granted….$2000 was our deductable and even though I went med free we met it this time. We knew that was coming and saved it over the course of the time we were pregnant. I stay home, will make my own baby food and budget $10/month for baby items as needed…disposable diapers for long outings, baby soap, and other things. Of course our medical expenses can go up if baby is sick, but the joy she brings to our family FAR exceeds the cost.

    All I can think is maybe she’s figuring in college, weddings, future cars, activities over the course of the child’s life…and all I can say to that is…get what you can afford! We say “yes” to the things that we can do and “no” (a novel idea) to things that are not NEEDS that do not fit in our budget. This “NO” works for both our kids and us as parents…no vacations just the 2 of us, no new tv’s and computers on a whim, no unnecessary home improvements, no flashy cars…but as I said before, our kids are totally worth it!

    What is this world coming to that children are summed up to a dollar amount? What about the great good the next generation will do?

  28. DeCole Cody says:

    She gets paid by FICO to talk about keeping a great FICO score… She makes money keeping people in debt. This makes me livid! $700 month with daycare not with Mom at home maybe… She missed the mark on this one!

    • That figure IS outrageous if Mom is at home, but I would argue that daycare shoots the figure up even more. In my “reasonable” cost of living area, licensed daycare can easily run $850 to $1000 a month for one child. Cost of daycare = this Mama doesn’t work (even if I wanted to).

      Instead, I stay home with my sons and provide childcare for the infant child of a neighbor so that they can both work (she in a professional daycare). Irony.

  29. Gee, how have we managed having 6 children on one income? :)

    Love this letter, Connie! Well said!


  30. Way to tell it like it is! I hope you actually mailed that to her show/emailed/posted on her website….however you contact her!

  31. Wow. I have a few choice words for Suze. I don’t think it is right to call yourself a financial expert when you have no idea what things actually cost. It makes me think she accidentally added an extra zero onto her projected expenses. $70 to $100 per month? Sure. $700 to $1000? Maybe if you are Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

    Children are absolutely worth the financial sacrifice. I really hope that couple disregards Suze’s “expert” advice and goes for another child anyway!

  32. Well said. We have three and my husband supports all of us on a social worker’s income (some are surprised that those who work for the Board of DD don’t get six figures and they barely get five). I tire of people saying oh we can’t afford one let alone two – uh if you make more than my hubby you can afford it. When I had our first we ran into a husband of a woman that he works with and he was buying formula and was complaining that it’s a good thing she works too because they are barely making it because she couldn’t breastfeed, etc. I’m thinking she can breastfeed because you both have bought into the we need two incomes and so she can’t stay home. I looked at the prices of the formula he was buying (only top of the line for the little one of course) and quickly did the math he was going to pay $200 for the formula which he informed us was only for 1 week!!!!

    • The breastfeeding comment is not always true. There are any reasons why many women can’t breastfeed their child. But as far as that goes, there is help for formula when its one income, so thats still not a reason to have to go back to work if a mom chose not to.

  33. TwoDiffSocks says:

    Hi Ya’ll,
    I live in one of NYC’s Boroughs {Queens} and lived on my husband’s Porter/Concierge salary for 18 years. I’m a stay at home mom that work the last 5 years part-time, 1-5 days a week while raising two kids, 17 yr boy & 12 yr girl. Damn right its possible to have kids in NYC without having a million dollar salary. We use name brand diapers, name brand formula {i had bleeding nipples that didnt stop} & brand name baby food. We also used hand me downs for clothes, furniture & toys. Friends & Family helped us out with items but it was still possible, reasonable to raise kids in NYC. We use our smarts and the city & people would be amazed at the bounty NYC has to offer-a lot of things FREE: public education, parks, swim & tennis lessons, museums. On my block when i had my oldest, turns out that there were two other families having their own kids, the moms became friends & we shared everything tween the 3 families. I like Suze Orman but clearly, she isnt one to always think outside the box on raising kids.

  34. Crafty Mama says:

    That poor couple!! I hope they ignored Suze’s “advice” and had another baby anyway. We just had another baby and she hasn’t cost us a cent (well, okay, I did buy a “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ornament, but that was my choice 😉 ). There’s plenty of ways to get free or cheap things for babies. Suze is off her rocker.

  35. Go get ‘er, Connie! This makes me want to find that couple and encourage them to follow what God is obviously calling them to do and help them figure out how to do it! I’m a Dave Ramsey Financial Coach and I totally agree that $700-$1,000/month is completely RIDICULOUS!! Suze Orman is often so out of touch with reality that I think she needs to be taken off the air and deprogrammed before she can be “reprogrammed” on television.

    Thanks for standing up for those of us to DO make the sacrifices every day to invest in what REALLY matters!

    • Deanna, I was hoping someone would get on here and talk some reason like Dave Ramsey. Been wanting to get into some of Dave’s classes but not there yet. when I first saw Suze, I was ,well a fairly smart , attractive woman,,then come to find out she a degenerate immoral person (ie lesbian, sorry my Christianity showing) or in the words o f Leviticus “an abomination”.
      The more I listen the more I find she is just plain WRONG.
      Good luck to you and people you help and to Dave Ramsey.
      God Bless.

  36. I am not a mother of a large family and I don’t homeschool (we send them to private school) however, I am FULLY supportive of homeschool and I admire greatly those who do it. I did give birth to our three boys at home and without medication and have chosen some out of the norm ways to raise and nurture them. This post hit home because in every decision we make it seems that someone wants to correct it. It seems there is a deception among parents that causes them to believe that what is right for their child must be right for all, and if another family sees it differently, one of us must be wrong and it SURE isn’t me. :) I also believe any of us are in danger of falling into this deception if we rely solely on our own logic to make decisions for our families. “I think…” can get us into trouble. We MUST know His voice and obey it.

  37. The bottom line is this: Suze Orman is NOT a mom!! Enough said.

    Thank you for speaking truth, Connie!

  38. Connie, this breaks my heart. I cannot imagine missing out on my time with my 4 children. I worked for years because that is what the world said I must do, but the Lord changed our hearts and brought me home. Had He not I would have missed out on the love and joy of my two younger ones. You see we adopted them and I would not have if I had been working. But as a reward for my obedience the Lord granted us with 2 more beautiful children that rounded out our family. I get to stay home and educate them with the Word.
    I pray women will stumble across your site and be encouraged to step out in faith.

  39. Here, here Connie!
    I remember hearing the ‘you can’t afford another baby argument when I was pregnant with my sixth. I still had extra, new or barely used…EVERYTHING from my three other boys! Getting ready for my sixth involved picking up a nice car seat (because my other children were still using theirs), dragging the newborn box down from the attic, and buying an outfit to bring him home in! I still get the ‘how do you afford them all’ all the time and my answer is always the same lifestyles are expensive, children are not!

  40. Thanks for the fun read. I didn’t see the show but the mindset that we can’t afford another child isn’t unique to Ms. Orman. My husband is a financial planner and one of his biggest marketing features is that we have six kids and one income, his. When potential clients hear that he has six kids and allowed me to stay home to raise them, they know he’ll devise a plan that will work for them. He often tells people don’t decide your principles based on your pocket book but on THE BOOK. Children are a blessing and our social security. We take care of them when they’re young and they’ll take care of us when we’re old.

  41. I’d bet you can add a baby on for less than the expenses she has maintaining a job . . . the gas, the nicer wardrobe, the lunches out, the convenience meals bought because everyone’s too tired to worry about cooking, too . . .

  42. And when someone tells me they can’t afford to have that many children I always respond, I can’t afford not to.

  43. I completely agree! Babies are not that expensive. If they were, I wouldn’t have had 7 of them! Toys, furniture, clothing… for the most part, it can all be handed down.

  44. I saw the show. I think that Suze gave the couple this advice because they were already overspending and in debt. If this particular couple continued to live that way, they would be in thousands of dollars of debt. I agree that you can cut expenses, and, unless something horribly goes wrong or y0u have to pay for childcare, it wouldn’t cost that much to take care of a child. Suze actually gives excellent financial advice. It’s too bad that the government doesn’t take her advice.

  45. Three things popped into my head when I watched this the other night (as my hubs was turbo flipping channels too.)

    1. My Mom/Grandmother/Great Grandmother always told me the same thing “If you wait to afford having kids, you’ll never have kids”. It’s the truth!

    2. Did you see the look on the Mom’s face? I honestly thought she was going to break down into sobbing tears. Some person basically told her that her dream of staying home and raising her children wasn’t possible. Seriously? If they choose to have another child and she stay home then I’m sure some frugal living is going to happen. They obviously weren’t going into this with their eyes closed.

    3. I have “stair step kids”. The youngest is 4, oldest 6. I don’t remember spending that much for all 3 of my kids on any given month. This is including when one child was in a private preschool. There are ways to make it happen and a lot of it is with hope and a prayer. Those two things NEVER fail!

  46. Wow, makes me glad we don’t even own a television…

    I just want to add that if you are blessed with children, God does provide. We got pregnant unexpectedly while my husband was finishing school, working full time at Walmart and I was at a day care. I quit the day care and the next week Hubbahubba received a raise. Before the Bugs came, he had gotten another raise. Before she was two, we were blessed with her sister. While I was pregnant with her, Hubbahubba took a part time ministry at a church and worked full time at TJ Maxx which garnered another raise. Since then, the church downsized and we lived on under 20,000 a year for three years as we searched for another job. In that time we got rid of the extra car that needed work (at just the right time to meet a bill) paid off the “good car” (a Ford Focus) While Hubba had the two jobs, we were able to buy our house (cheaper than rent in our area). Through it all, we had what we needed. Food, shelter and utilities. We homeschool, plan out purchases and conserve money.

    It amazes me how little we truly need to thrive. Our nation and culture is spoiled rotten compared to the rest of the world. I don’t need a several hundred dollar stroller, new crib, expensive clothes for the girls. It just isn’t good stewardship on any level (economically, for the earth’s resources we’ve been intrusted with…)

    Children are such a blessing. I love our daughters and can’t imagine life without them (and any future siblings we may be blessed to give them)

  47. I didn’t see this episode, however I have seen Suzie Orman before. I think she also includes saving for college (which is a smart idea to start early) in her estimate of how much a child costs. Perhaps that’s why she seems so far off??

  48. Great letter Connie! I followed your link and watched the show…Ugh!! I’ve never seen her before and didn’t know what to expect, so I was shocked at her blatant disregard for the importance of a mother’s presence in her baby’s life. It was like she was almost mocking this poor mom for desiring to be home with her little ones. =-(
    I commented on the show there. I encourage others to do so as well. Maybe one of her fans will be blessed by another perspective.

  49. Oh, I am so glad we didn’t see that! 1, because I would have been so mad! But 2, because my husband is still in the Worried-About-How-In-The-World-We-Could-Ever-Afford-Another-Baby Camp (we already have 3, he’s a minister, and I stay home full-time, but I would LOVE to have more).

  50. We have diapers delivered automatically from Amazon every month. It’s about $60.

    Even 4 cans for formula a month can be had for around $100. My kid’s 2 years old now, her toddler meals are about $1 a piece…even at 3 meals a day (it’s not, she has quaker oatmeal for breakfast which is cheap) the most is $25 a week on food…the same $100 a month.

    Those are the most expensive, regular items I can think of. I couldn’t spend $700 a month on my kid if I tried.

    Suze’s way off base here. Of course I’d expect that since I don’t think she has ever had any kids.

  51. Dot Montgomery says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. We just had our 5th, and were actually asked why we would want another one? REALLY??? On top of that my hubby had just lost his job unexpectedly. Well I’m watching my 3 little boys playing together (9,7, and 9mths) right now and hearing all the laughter, well I just can’t imagine WHY I would even consider wanting yet another child. To top off the expence thing well I don’t know where Suze is buying her diapers but I certainly don’t spend more than 40 to 50 a month on them. A far cry from 700. Our little man also has to be in the highest priced formula on the market but by God’s grace we have gotten samples and coupons for the formula every month without fail. At most I have spent only 1.00 to .19 cents for a container of it. To put it on paper which is the only way some people can see things the cost is scary, but with a Mighty God who has unlimited resources that cost is nothing to him. Do we always have the latest high tech gaggit? NO do we miss it NO again. We homeschool our kids. I stretch every dollar we have but having my kids and being home with them is priceless (most days… just kidding) Bottom line if anyone waited to just the right time to have a baby the world would never reproduce or it would be a privilage only for the wealthy. Amazingly my hubby lost one job but the new job pays almost 30,000 more on the year. Hummm by chance I don’t think so. God is faithful and takes care of what is His including His children. It may not be how or what I want but I’m willing to have what he wants me to have, live where he wants me to live, wear what he wants me to wear, and drive what he wants me to drive. It is a faith decision, but one that I completely love and I’m so glad I was given the ability to have in my life.

  52. I am sure if you did some research you could find out who that couple was and talk with them personally…it is a proven fact that it cost more for a mom to work than to stay home and raise her own children.:)

  53. Several years ago, when we only had one child, my husband’s boss and one of his coworkers (both women) told my husband that it was a luxury for me to stay home. It made my blood boil! We made a conscious decision to invest our time into our children. We now have four, ages 9-3. We feel that the things many people consider necessary are in fact luxuries. We do not need a new car every few years. Our children will survive without trips to Disneyland. We are pleased to use handmedowns and second hand clothes for the kids. We do not have smart phones or cable tv, nor do we buy Nintendo ds. However, our children have had the opportunity to visit almost half of the states in the U. S., they have siblings to laugh and share ( and argue) with, and they have gymnastics and karate classes. Our home is almost paid for, even though we’ve only lived in it for 11 years, and we can
    afford to eat at restaurants occasionally. It is all about priorities and the luxuries you’re willing to do without. If you want to stay home with your children you may have to reframe your expectations!

  54. Totally agree with you ma’am! I was shocked at how little of an expense they really can be especially with number two. And also, like you said with God on your side… He always provides. My husband is a youth pastor and clearly we all know we don’t get paid the big bucks… I stay at home with our daughter and we have a son on his way come March. When I first got pregnant again, I worried at the cost increase. But literally every cost God has taken care of so far… I needed a double stroller and my mother in law went out of her way and bought one for us for Christmas. Several people in our church have given us clothing for a baby boy! We will be just fine come time for this baby to make his precious arrival! God is good all the time! ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD! :)

  55. I posted this to her FB wall in response.

    ‘I watched your show from Dec. 3rd and heard the advice that you gave to the couple who hoped to have another baby. Now, obviously, they are currently making some problematic financial decisions if they are making $5600/month and still not making ends meet. However, I was very disappointed in your response. The job of a financial advisor is to help people figure out how to do what they want to do. If you had gone through their expenses, helped them figure out what expenses they would be picking up and also dropping (such as daycare for their other child, work clothes, meals out, etc.) and then told them how short they were, that would have been more realistic and also more useful for those with the same question. Also, I don’t know where you possibly got the $700-1000 cost figure. We live in a high cost of living area, live on my husband’s $2800/month salary and just had our second baby who will cost us roughly $80/month for his first year if you prorate out the cost of paying for his birth, washing diapers and adding him to our insurance. I hope that the couple found someone else who could give them better help than you did.’

    Now, to be fair, she is right that, as things stand, they are already making so many poor financial decisions that taking away any income could truly be disastrous for them. However, her advice to not have another baby and keep working was ridiculously simplistic and didn’t address the real issue which was their overblown lifestyle.

  56. You tell her, Connie!

    You know what you are talking about, and obviously she doesn’t know what she is talking about!!

  57. Katena Dyser says:

    I am the mother of 6 boys. We wer able to reeuse a lot. Actually my baby boy right now is playing with his brother resuce heros they are 15 years old. We just last spring used the last pair of jean my oldest who is 18 wore and my 2 year wore them. They are still wearable. I don’t know where she gets her figures. My boys know we are a family and they are budget conscious. My oldest boys even have cell phones and ipods why because they work for them. We are a one income family with two cars and bills on top of that we are a military family. We just know how to do it. I have met families who are two incomes and can barely make it. Thanks Smockity for being our voice.

  58. Becky Leppard says:

    Love, love your comments!!!

  59. Besides all your excellent points, there is this one: children are the wealth of the poor! For the minimal investment in each baby, the family reaps the reward later with a treasure in heaven! And, there are often worldly advantages as well, such as help in the yard :)

  60. PERFECT post. I love your slightly snarky response to Orman’s ridiculous claim!!

  61. Nicole Auld says:

    Very well said Connie! Love it–Amen, Amen

  62. WOW. I didn’t see the show but as a former foster parent I think… REALLY!?!?! $700 a month?! I could take in a baby who comes with nothing but the clothes on her back and get her fully set up with a whole wardrobe, diapers, formula, and special blankie for under $350 (and that’s the first month, not the following ones where the biggest expenses are formula (totally covered by the WIC program for foster kids) and diapers (around $60 a month at WalMart.) Give me a break! If it cost $700 a month to raise a baby, NO ONE would consider being a foster parent.
    Of course, my expenses are based on the “second child” scenario where we use the crib, carseat, and high chair we already own, but still.

    But now that I am thinking about it… maybe she was talking about daycare? I know it can run more than that, but that’s the only way I could even think it would be possible to pay that much per month for a baby. (And we don’t go there, we raise our own kids–and foster kids.) Yikes.

    • That is the truth. We took a baby placement with nothing but a diaper. We did not have a thing and I think I spent $500 that first month FOR EVERYTHING. We have had several foster placements that arrieved with nothing and none of them cost anywhere near that to set up. Of course I am a stay at home mom and don’t need to worry about childcare.

  63. I think I’m probably money ahead with my second baby (a girl, and I had a boy first) thanks to things I can reuse and hand-me-downs from generous relatives and friends. The money ahead comes with the tax credit, hehe!

  64. I couldn’t agree with this post more. You are so correct, Connie. If this young mom stayed home, nursing is free (and better for baby). Second hand baby clothes are easy to come by, as well as high chair, cribs, and such. God always provided for us. We have seven children, and I have found that even food can be a lot cheaper if you make it yourself. I often go to the farmers or farmer groups to purchase veggies, cow, chickens, and such. Since I am home to make the meals, there is no need to buy boxed prepared foods (and the health benefits are huge). That poor couple that was told they couldn’t afford a baby must have been devestated to hear that, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. I am sorry, but that was arrogant for Suzie to come out and dash a woman’s heart like that without better checking into whether her opinion (Suzie’s) was well founded-poor advice.

  65. I just went back and watched the show. OH MY GOSH this woman makes me so mad! It’s tempting to look up the couple and email them. UGH.

  66. right on.

  67. Actually I do not disagree with Suze. Here is how it worked for my family in the midwest.

    When I worked outside the home, sending my 4yo and 1yo to daycare cost $675 every two weeks. I cloth diapered at home but my daycare center required disposables, plus wipes. This was at one of the least expensive childcares in my city of 1 million plus people.

    I breastfed so I pumped at work. The breast pump was $400. Each month I spent about $10 on milk storage bags. I re-used the pump for kid #2 but I did have to buy new nursing bras because I nursed my first for 37 months.

    Kid #2 got sick all the time during that first year. He had multiple ear infections and brought home germs to me. I also had PPD during his first year, which I was hospitalized for and had about $2k out of pocket on that. Yes that is a “baby” expense because you don’t get PPD if you don’t have a baby.

    For clothes I buy secondhand, but when I was working I didn’t have as much time for laundry, so I had about 10 outfits in each size for each kid due to diaper blowouts, spitups and whatnot.

    Suze is probably also accounting for increased housing and transportation costs for each additional child. My kids are one boy and one girl. They each have a separate bedroom. A 3 bedroom house usually costs more than a 2 bedroom.

    I quit working earlier this year. So I no longer pay $1350 every month in daycare. Kid #2 is sick less often. But we are paying for a few activities, more food (daycare fed them), more gas for the car (trips to the park, library, zoo, science museum and recreation center).

  68. I understand telling them that they can’t afford it – they were going into debt already – but saying that they were already at bare minimum and there was no way to cut back? Really? How much are they paying on rent/mortgage? 3K /month? If not, they can cut back. If they do, maybe it’s time to move. But the 700-1K/month? Wow. We’ve never made that much money, and our only debt is our house. Very disappointed in Suze, and you won’t see me taking financial advice from her. Someone tell me if I’m wrong, but I have a feeling that this would have been a very different discussion if they had asked the same question to Dave Ramsey.

    • Mandymomoffive says:

      As a regular listener to Dave Ramsey – I whole heartedly agree with you Kriswithmany. He would have told them to cut the expenses not the new baby.

      • Erica Johnson says:

        A friend posted the clip from the show on her facebook and I sickened me to hear what Suze had to say. I also said they needed to talk to Dave Ramsey. The problem is that the couple didn’t want to change their lifestyle. Suze validated it by saying that there wasn’t anything for them to give up. I’m sure her idea of “bare minimum” has nothing to do with NEEDS!

  69. What a much-needed post! Thanks so much for writing!

  70. I understand the point you are making, and if you buy diapers, wipes, etc at a bulk store, I bet that $70 mark would be easy to go under, especially if this wasn’t the first baby. But if you factor in the prenatal care, the hospital visit for the birth, and the post natal care, you could easily reach the $15K mark. I’d surely have to put that bill on payments, which would result in monthly $700 payments until the child is 2 yrs old.

    Maybe Suze is smarter than wegive her credit for.

  71. #3 joined our family about 10 months ago. Would you like to know how much he has cost us in 10 months? LESS THAN $250 … and that includes the GAS to get to our doctor (40 min each way), doctor bills, EVERYTHING. Now, we do cloth diaper, wear hand me downs, make our own baby food (or take what is passed on by people who have stock piled too much), and so on. Our first one added maybe $200 a month to our budget because we were silly and didn’t know any better, and our second added maybe $100 a month. I wonder how low we can go with #4??? 😉

    • Wait … there was a typo … #3 has cost us $450, not $250 … but ONLY because we bought a top of the line car seat for him and a new stroller (we gave the other one away). So $250 if we hadn’t passed on previous baby gear thinking we were done {silly us!}.


  72. I have friends that actually watched this show. We don’t have cable so we didn’t, obviously. However, my friends said that the couple was already living well beyond their means (like over $1000 per month) and they were more questioning whether she should stay at home or not. I believe the money mentioned by Suze Orman was to just get them out of debt and not to literally pay for a second child. I’m saying all of this to say, I”m not sure we all have the entire story if we didn’t see the show with the couple involved and that possibly the whole interview with the couple needs to be considered and not just her one statement.

    I do, however, agree completely with what you say. I’ve known several people who say they want to stay home with their children or have more but then quickly follow it up with, “But, we can’t afford it.” My thought is, well, get rid of your ridiculously large home and over priced vehicles and cut back on your spending and you can do it. People don’t want to make sacrifices to their selfish standard of living in order to provide for their children or welcome children as a blessing.

    Now, my guess is, that Ms. Orman did not suggest cutting back on anything or developing a plan to get out of the large debt they were acquiring each month to live whatever lifestyle they were living.

  73. Just tweeted this letter out to @SuzeOrmanShow. She needs to know she was way off base with her comments.

  74. We just had baby #3 and doctors bills are expected to be a little under $7000 with our high deductible plan. Hubby makes less than 30k, we are NOT on any assistance and God has enabled us to buy a home this past year. It’s God that provides, not a pay check I choose to trust Him. Because of our big medical expenses for year one this little one will easily cost around the $700 a month mark BUT we are making sacrifices in other areas (No cable, crazy cell phones, eating out etc.) so we can enjoy the things which are eternal.

  75. amen! We have two boys, and we have never spent more than $75 a month for them. I make my own baby food, buy diapers with coupons (or purchase the store brand), buy store brand formula once I quit breastfeeding at 6 months (personal choice), and we live on one income. People always question how we do it; we don’t have the nicest cars, we don’t have cable and we don’t have the fanciest cell phones. Yes, those are sacrifices. But you know what? We’re probably one of the happiest families I know. I think it’s all about perspective and priorities… if you have those in check, you can make it work!

  76. Psalm 1:1 KJ-“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…”

    • Rebecca L. says:

      Exactly! I was going to post this and some similar comments. No Christian should be taking advice from this woman. She is ultra liberal, massively against men, a feminist to the point of being a religion. She is not a mother, not married and last I heard, living with her girlfriend. Light and darkness cannot be walking here in harmony, unequally yoked. I understand the frustration of her comment though, as targeting the cost of a new baby at $700 or more per month. My teenage children don’t cost an extra $700 a month and in my opinion, they are about the most expensive age bracket. I never watch Orman, I flip it or turn it off. I’d rather watch grass grow. I do like Dave Ramsey and believe his advice is closer to what the Bible says, although I still don’t know if he would advocate having large families, I’ve never heard anything one way or the other about his stand there.

      • What hateful and un-Christian things to say.

        • Rebecca L. says:

          I have no idea what you mean by that……everything is true. Christians shouldn’t be taking advice from someone who is not a Christian. Sorry if my plain spokedness offended you. Not intended but I just speak plainly.

  77. Fair warning because this is likely to sound rude but she has absolutely no idea what she is talking about. Based on the segment I just watched I can guarantee that her “expert” opinion is anything but “expert”.

    I have four kids. One of them is only 22 months old so I very aware of current costs. I had to have an emergency c-section with him with an extended stay at the hospital for both of us and because of the complications I had (they were major) and the medicine I had to take for months after I could not breast feed. With all of that in mind the medical bills were less than $2000. We were able to pay that in one lump because hey… we saved because having a baby was important to us. Things like car seat, stroller and bottles were purchased on sale and with money I earned online. Even still it was less than $300.

    Other expenses like formula were about $100 a month, diapers from Amazon were about $45 a month, and since I pureed his food that was just the cost of fruits and veggies. I’ll go all out and say I spent $ 50 a month on organic produce.

    I will also add to that a clothing expense. I spend about $40 a month on clothes for my growing boy. We aren’t talking cheap, discount store clothing either. I buy Gymboree, Baby Gap, Osh Kosh, and the like because well… I know how to get good deals on it so why not? My baby has a closet full of clothes. So much, in fact, that I give away the clothes to 2-3 people when he outgrows them and that is enough for them to have a full wardrobe. I clothe my older boys the same way. It’s about sales, coupons, and shopping at the right time.

    Just for good measure we’ll tack on another $100 for unexpected expenses or anything I may have overlooked.

    Even with all of those expenses ($2300 up front and $335 a month) that still comes no where near her estimate. Any scenario I could come up with to justify that amount could be remedied by cutting back or spending smarter. This just blows my mind!

    She didn’t even suggest that MAYBE his insurance would be better or maybe she could work from home. This is just not smart. She stated they couldn’t cut back at all. Does that mean they couldn’t downsize? Cut out cable? Downgrade cell phone services? Pay off debt? How can there be nowhere that they can cut back?

    I do hope Suze reads this. I am just amazed by her response. I also hope that couple did not listen to her advice.

    And I won’t even get started on the daycare issue. I worked as director in two different ones and I did things by the book and more and still there was no way I’d be willing to put my children there. It is impossible for one person to give 3 babies the love, care, support, and interaction they need not to mention it isn’t healthy. Suze is all about suggesting the child is “fine” but studies show that children do not begin to experience the effects of daycare until around age 5. Ask a teacher…they can tell you which kids were in daycare and which weren’t. That should say something there.

    Great post by the way. 😉

    • Amy: you have VERY good medical insurance if you only owed $2000. We owed more than twice that for a normal birth — no complications.

      • Well I shared this with my husband last night and he reminded me that we did have to pay the obstetrician’s portion months in advance. I had forgotten about that. It was just over $800 but still…no where near Suze’s estimate. I understand she is using some estimate from another source but according to them we should all spend a designated percentage of our income on each child. That just isn’t realistic.

  78. Here, here!

    I have to show my son your picture above. He’s number 2 out of 5, all sisters.



  79. I totally agree with your post. I have always stayed home with my kids and even during the toughest times made it work. There were times we had to do cloth diapers, make my own laundry soap, bake my bread, hang everything on a clothesline and make my own ranch dressing. But it was fun, a learning experience and I was happy to find out just how much we could manage and manage very well during tough times. My husband always he makes the money and I save the money, offense defense, it works! We both have our jobs and focus all our energy on our own jobs. It is a beautiful thing.

  80. When watching the show the question was if she could quit work to have another baby. If they are not making their bills currently with 2 inclomes, how would they be able to do it with half of the income, even if they did not incur annther expenses? We do not hear the details of their finances, however Suze does mention that they are not living lavishly (and she usually does call people out when they are) so I have to believe that she may have to work. Fortunately it does seem that she is able to stay home with the kids during the day and he takes over at night.

  81. what a great post and comment stream… proving that the education of a university isn’t always superior to good common sense and experience.

    with 5 kids (ages 7-16) I am apparently in danger of being arrested for Child Abuse because my kid-related monthly expenses (all 5 combined) are barely $700… and that’s with dance lessons/instrument repair/food/gas/clothing/and a portion of our house & utilities…

    Yes, having children IS a sacrifice – it’s a choice to sacrifice things that matter so little for something that matters SO much.

    I worked for years at a day care – $220 a WEEK for infant care… and that was 15+ years ago… kids CAN be uber-expensive if that’s the route you take, but they don’t have to be.
    Suze may have a point that the couple was already spiraling into debt, but her responsibility as a financial advisor is to supply information about where to cut costs… not to supply information about a personal feminist agenda.

    • I’m not sure if it was her feminist agenda to not say not to have a child, the couple asked her if they were in a financial place for the wife to be able to stay at home- they did not ask her how they could cut costs. She answered it based on the information that they provided to her on their current financial state. No where does she say not to ever have any more children, she suggests that if she chooses to be a stay at home mom, it is better for them to wait until they can get their finances in order. I just don’t think that is bad advice. If they cannot plan and sacrifice when they have one child, how will they be able to do it for 2 children?

      • Smockity Frocks says:

        CC, She is not being realistic with her advice. $700-1000 A MONTH for an additional baby??? That is simply not an honest figure to give a couple who is obviously searching for answers.

        It CAN be done. They CAN have another baby and not go into debt. They just asked the wrong person how to do it.

  82. Wooo-hoo! Way to go Smockity!

  83. Amen!!!! Thank you for writing this!!!

  84. I agree, $700 may not be realistic, however even if they did not incur ANY additional expenses with a new babythey are still living $1000 above their means when they BOTH work. So they lost half of their inccome (due to her quitting her job) they would be living $3,000+ above their means. I agree it can be done- lots of people do it, however at this point in their lives they have not been able to.

    Again, we do not know the details of their expenses, (do they ahve exisisting student loans, a mortgage on a house they can’t sell, credit cards debt, cars they have not paid off?) we don’t know, but it is not irresposnisble to wait until you can cover the expenses that you have before you are blessed by a new baby.

  85. Amen sista!!

    I totally agree and have noticed that this isn’t the first time I’ve heard people grossly exaggerate the expense of having a baby. It is not that bad. Even with the first, if you are thrown a shower, is quite minimal. If you aren’t thrown a shower, you can let go of all the unnecessaries (Yes, I just made up a word 😉 ) and easily shop resale for your equipment/clothing needs. :)
    Love your letter, Great job!

  86. Lets be clear….She DOESN’T have children! I know this woman is big on saving (especially for education and “rainy” days) so may be that was part of the support for $700-1000/mo/child. I have read a lot of articles about and authored by her and she has always had an unrealistic approach to budgeting (in my opinion) and she has never been pro-child. Those pieces of information, including the fact that she does not have any dependents makes it very difficult for me as an educated (in life), one time CFA turned SAH Mom to listen to anything this woman says or writes. Keep up the good work everyone as only YOU know what is an appropriate budget for you and your families.

    • Oh and thank you Smockity Dots for writing this and for all of your work. It’s also information/discussions like this make many of us revisit our expenses/budgets to make sure we get the most from our money. So even though the consensus is that Suze is clearly off base with her projections, we all know what’s best for us with a little help from our online friends. Thanks again!

  87. I completely agree that babies are not anywhere near as expensive as Suze Orman thinks and it is up to the Lord whether children should be added to a family not finances. However I must say I did see this episode and this was a couple was already living way above their means and going into debt $700/mth. They could certainly add another baby and their expenses won’t change drastically but I don’t see how the mother could stay home when they are already not making their expenses with her working full time! I think having a 2nd baby isn’t a problem but her not working is which is so sad because being a stay at home is a wonderful blessing to a family.

    • I agree- it’s not adding a baby to the family that will change their financial situation that much, it is living above their means already and then cutting their income in half by her quitting her job…

  88. I don’t watch this woman and after reading this post don’t plan on it.

    My disappointment would be that if she’s a financial “adviser” – she didn’t advise them how to do it. Rather she pooped on their dreams. Why didn’t she give them a step by step plan to make that a possibility rather than tell them “no way possible”. I guess she’s not that creative at her job ??

  89. I disagree completely with Suze’s answer but thinking about just the costs for raising the child is not sufficient.
    In regards to birthing costs, I am unsure how many are aware of health insurance costs but with baby #2 on the way, a $5000 deductible for her birth is what we are faced with (if all goes perfectly). Add diapers and wipes and we are at least going to be paying $500/month for the first year. God is providing, but there is a reality of that expense. (BTW…noninsured births are $11,000-13,000 where I live!!)
    Most around me call me opinionated for stating this, but I think that taking care our own families expenses should be a top priority (and it sounds like most of you agree). I am surrounded by friends and family who have luxuries I do not (a month long vacation?!), who have quit their jobs to qualify for govt. assistance and had more children on Medicaid (great…now I am paying for not only MY baby but am forced to pay for YOURs too!). That was kind of off topic and harsh, but if this couple cannot manage finances well at this time, they need major help BEFORE they grow their family. Suze, help them with THAT!
    Although Suze is completely wrong, overspending, reliance on govt (and in extension, our neighbors) and poor habits and choices are a societal problem.

  90. I completely agree that 5,000 a month for a child is a wayyy far out there number. I would say, that with diapers ,formula, and other incidentals you are looking at about
    200 or so a month. If you are able to breastfeed and cloth diaper you will significantly cut down those numbers. Also, you can search for sales on diapers/formula and get them for cheap!!

    i do not agree, however that “god always provides” attitude. I think that parents have a responsibility to think about the future not just the present when you are bringing another life into the world. can you afford their pre-school, their tennis shoes and school clothes when they get to grade school? can you afford their school lunch, their cars when they need one? what about college? i think that these are all things you should consider when you are considering having a child, and it is your obligation and job as a parent to provide for your children, and make sure they have the best that they can. I stay at home, and happen to be a very thrifty mom and find used clothes/deals and cloth diaper, breast fed for 6 months. but still plan for the days that i have to increase my budget in groceries, school clothes, college, etc. I just encourage all parents to think long and hard about the financial aspects before having more children.

  91. Gina DeBruler says:

    I truly hope you tagged Ms. Suze Orman on facebook and linked her back to your post! If you haven’t, please do!

  92. You tell her mama!! Was she serious? I daresay she just doesn’t like the idea of a stay at home mom. Hopefully, this couple will discover Dave Ramsey.

  93. Well said, girl! You should totally email this to Ms. Orman!

  94. I am mommy to 4 young kids, I don’t know if we spend that much on all of them combined each month. Maybe, if everyone needs new shoes and goes through a growth spurt and…vacations in Europe? (OK, that would cost more, but it is FAR from a need!)

    What a different world view!


  95. Paul French says:

    I give my wife $60 per week. That’s all I can afford to give her. With it, she buys all the necessary non-food items. We have 5 kids, aged 2 – 11. Susie is a typical liberal lesbian hack making money off of people’s ignorance. My background is insurance, and most of everything she advises on insurance is wrong, but it sounds good to people and she like all the other so called financial gurus use insurance companies the way Hitler used the Jews to rally everyone behind her. Without insurance, no bank would loan you money for a car or a home. Can you afford to pay cash for these things? The problem with insurance is you cannot eat it, wear it, drive it, watch it, or play with it, so people resent paying money to provide for themselves, their children or their future when the typical liberal attitude today is that someone else should provide for me at no expense to myself.

  96. Wow, even my 12 and 13 year old boys who eat me out of house and home don’t cost an extra $1000 each a month! I have 9 kids and our monthly budget- for ALL 11 of us- is about $4k a month. Total. No foodstamps, welfare, etc. We live in a house. (We did make the super radical OMG step of only having one vehicle, though)

  97. This is so well written and such an important perspective. Children are a blessing and our society sadly does not seem to see them that way. Thank you for putting a voice to my thoughts on this.

    All of our family’s groceries, personal care supplies, and cleaning supplies cost us $600 a month and that is for 9 of us, so those must be some pretty designer diapers for $700 a month!!!

  98. Please don’t read this as a plea for people not to have kids (I believe they are indeed a gift from God) but actually Suze’s estimates were right on with research done by the USDA…In 2010 the average middle-income family with a husband and wife with two kids spent from $11,000-$13,800 last year (including housing, food, transportation, healthcare, clothing, childcare & education, and misc.). The average in the urban northeast ranged from $12,000-17,500 per child-which would show that Suze’s quote was actually low. People don’t consider the “hidden” costs. A small family can drive a small fuel efficient car, a family with three kids pretty much has to get a bigger, less fuel efficient car-just one example. Just saying people should do some research before flipping out at her (not that I agree with her but in this case it’s not as far fetched as some make it seem). Yes, a baby may not cost all that much but over 18 years of activities, needing more food, bigger spaces & vehicles, healthcare, insurance when they drive, and perhaps college if you help them will add up to quite a bit over the years. However, I live by my grandmother’s philosophy that if you wait till you can afford to have kids you’ll never have them 😉 God blessed us with kids right away and SOME how we’ve managed 😉 Just do a little research before blowing up at someone. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/CRC/crc2010.pdf

    • well said !

    • The USDA also vastly overestimates, IMO. I _have_ calculated hidden costs, and even attributing our entire car loan to our children, our entire grocery bill to our children and including all the other costs that having them incurs, we spend roughly $1250 a month on seven children. Our oldest five are in extracurricular activities that require my driving them, extra clothing/uniforms/costumes/equipment. If we “bill” our children for their share of the mortgage (on a small, three bedroom house, btw), it would be around $440. So, that brings the total to $1650. If we attribute our electricity entirely to our children, that adds an average of $100 a month to them. Now, we’re at $1750. Giving them all our electrical and grocery bill, attributing all of our car loan to them and prorating the mortgage for their share. That is $25o a month for each child. That amount includes curricula, because we homeschool, too, btw.

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      I wasn’t flipping out or blowing up at anyone. I actually HAVE 8 children so I have done plenty of research. It does NOT cost $700-1000 to add a baby to a family.

    • a family with 3 kids needs to drive a bigger car? not true. back when we had 3, we were able to fit all 5 of us in a 1998 nissan sentra. comfortable? not really. but it got us where we needed to go.

    • My first thought on this however, is that a person who wants to live in a 3 bedroom house, is going to live in a 3 bedroom house with or without children. Now, the key is, they will always have that mortgage, so breaking down mortgage in the amount per child makes me think that they would rather be living with a roommate who can pay, than have a child, who can’t pay the mortgage.
      Sorry but I find the children the better idea!
      As someone else wrote on here, Lifestyles are expensive, children are not!!

  99. GREAT letter! I’m so glad we have our 7, and they don’t cost that much!

  100. Connie,
    I grew up as the youngest of 16 (I’m 31 myself) and I currently have five kids. Thank you for pointing out to people that children do not cost anything that money can buy. Those of us who come from them understand this, but, sadly, many other people do not.
    Currently, my husband is unemployed, and I have always been a stay-at-home mom, and, even on unemployment insurance checks, we are managing. It all comes down to what you want to spend your money on. If it’s having kids, you really don’t need that much money.
    Thanks again for a great post!

  101. Man they went to the WRONG person to ask for advise! Next time they should try the Lord. He knows a whole lot more and likes kids. I can think of a time when we had one child and made things work without going into debt or being on welfare for about $1200 a month total income. And we weren’t totally stressed out or feeling deprived either!
    I have heard a lot of people talk about not having the money to have the mom stay home “and continue with their current lifestyle.” I always wonder what that means. To me there was never a question that some things about your lifestyle HAVE to change for you to be a good parent who is devoted to your child. I understand about not wanting your child to feel stressed, bu I guess that’s why we’re supposed to stay out of debt and live well within our means, so a mother can stay home with her child, the place where God wants her because small children need their mother. I think they need to pray, find out what they can change to make this a reality, check out some library books of frugal living and go for it!

  102. As a home-schooling mother of 7, I was so impressed with your well written letter that I quickly clicked “share to FB”. I am blessed to be in a circle of more than 25 similar families, with as few as 1 child to 13. We have all, over the years shared, clothes, beds, bikes, toys and school books. I feel tremendously blessed to have been a part of this new “radical” movement of letting God sweat the big and the small stuff and I have enjoyed riding along with Him. I had all of my kids by C-section and had the added battle of doctors telling me I couldn’t have anymore after #3. Praise God for finding me a midwife/doctor team that said…we will do everything we can to preserve your fertility. I honestly feel we ought to pray for that dear young couple.

  103. BRAVO!!!!!!!!!! Well said :-)

  104. I think Suze’s figures are way out of the field for most average people. Daycare is expensive, yes, but the couple wanted to find a way for the mother to stay home. My daycare opinions are spot on with those expressed by Amy Bayliss, so I won’t even go there.

    I stay home with my son who is now three. I have stayed home since I found out I was pregnant. Perhaps it is because frugal living has always been part of my life, or because I had a realistic grip on what a baby did and did not need, I can say I never spent that amount on my son, not even in the beginning when we needed big ticket items like cribs, car seats, strollers. I’ve scrounged yard sales and thrift stores, clearance sales, I have couponed, I’ve taken hand me downs. My child really lacks for nothing. Staying home and raising my child myself was a priority and I will continue to find ways that I can do that whether I only have one child or eight more.

  105. I was one of the lucky ones in the fact that my first pregnancy resulted in twins. Even with two kids instead of one, we didn’t spend anywhere near that amount. I wasn’t able to breastfeed so formula ran up to $200/month and that was only the first year. We also cloth diaper during the day. Wipes and diapers run us about $30/month. We got pretty much everything we needed and much of what we wanted. Now we buy clothes from consignment sales/clearance racks. It might cost us $40 per season. I wonder if she was including day care?

  106. Very well said! What a big fat lie. Did she misspeak and mean $70-100? That would be more like it! I hope your letter goes viral and this couple reads it and sees the light! Good for you! BEAUTIFUL family you have! God bless you!

  107. I usually watch Suze (and don’t always agree with her, especially on the can you afford it segments) but missed this one. I saw your post on twitter and came by to read it. I then watched the full show on iTunes to get Suze’s side.

    I definitely didn’t get what you did from her talk with them. First, she was compassionate and also asked questions like asking Brian (who appears to make less since their take home is equal, but all the health and 401K deductions come from Jill) if he would stay at home. He said no. She asked outright is they were making ends meet, and they are not- they overspend by about $700 every month on two incomes.

    Suze then said that if Jill quits, the deductions coming from Jill’s paycheck will come from Brian’s, leaving them with $2000 a month. Suze is very, very eager (sometimes too much!) to yell at people for complaining about money troubles when they overspend, but she specifically said she looked over this couples spending and said they don’t “live lavishly” and basically, they just work. She said there weren’t really places to cut. Obviously, childcare would be cut. I assume that she took that into consideration.

    Suze used a standard figure for how much children cost. She didn’t make up the numbers herself, she simply reported them. This doesn’t mean that many don’t spend less, but Suze was simply going by standard statistics, and it would be irresponsible for her to make up her own numbers.

    The couple also only has $6000 in emergency funds, which is a very small amount (Suze recommends 8 months). I also know Suze considers retirement planning key because she believes that you should not burden your children with your lack of financial planning. She also believes in saving for college for children. So I am sure she took all those into consideration because they are tenants of her financial beliefs; if they wanted to talk to someone who doesn’t believe in any of those things, then they should have contacted someone else. Suze is very upfront about her financial opinions.

    Most telling to me was Brian’s statement in the very beginning: We are not sure that Jill can quit her job and we can continue to live lifestyle we are now. (not direct quote- I couldn’t write fast enough.) They do not, or at least he doesn’t (and couples need to be on the same page for it to work) to change their lifestyle, and they currently overspend every month.

    In the end, Suze says, “Not now.” She explicitly tells them to save and work to cut back and continue to talk about it. You write as though she said they can never afford it, no way, no how, uh-huh. Which isn’t what Suze said. She said that from a financial standpoint, she would be in error to tell them that right now, they can afford for Jill to quit and stay home. Right now. And from everything she presented, I agree with her.

    Families can make it work. Brian and Jill should take Suze’s advice to save and cut back and continue to talk about how they can make their desire happen. Ultimately, too, it is their choice, and they can always choose to not follow Suze’s advice. They asked, and she answered based on facts and their financial standings. I didn’t see anything in her response that warranted this type of response, even if many disagree with her.

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      My main issue with her advice was the ridiculous amount she stated as the cost for adding a baby to a family. RIDICULOUS. I don’t know where she got the figures, but I stand by my assessment. It simply does NOT cost that much.

      Believe me. I know.

      • Again, she’s simply stating figures that are reported nationally by research agencies. To make up her own amounts without research would be irresponsible. Another post already cited the same place I found, the USDA: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/CRC/crc2010.pdf. They estimate that for a child in a twochild,
        husband-wife family, annual expenses ranged from $11,880 to $13,830 for households with before-tax income between $57,600 and
        $99,730, which is about where this couple would fall based on pre-tax, but it might be higher.

        Although that might have been your main issue, I responded to all of the post, not just that point. I think it’s great to disagree with people- I disagree with Suze quite often. But I also think that the comments being made aren’t taking into account exactly what she said, that’s all.

        I think it’s important to note that Suze told them to save, cut back, keep talking, and revisit the idea again. She said, “Not now.” That in no way means not ever, or even a couple months from now. I personally think Suze’s taking a lot of heat for comments taken completely out of context and cost figures she simply reported from the US Dept of Agriculture, not her own.

  108. Since the mother is an RN, she could EASILY take her maternity leave (paid), take a little extended leave, and then go on-call on weekend evenings. I am an NA-C and work just Saturday/Sunday eves on call and it works out perfectly for my family and my 5 kids! I can work (or NOT) when I want to, still have income, and still be home AND HOMESCHOOL my kids. This just irks me. I wonder if Suze has any kids at all? If she does they most likely grew up in daycare, since it seems like she is preoccupied with the STUFF and not the kids. Homes can be downsized, cars can be downsized or even gotten rid of in some cases, and it totally can be done.

  109. I loved your letter. If we had been looking through Suze’s point of view we wouldn’t have one child, let alone the seven that we have. And believe me, we are on a very limited income. Our culture doesn’t value frugality, and it certainly doesn’t value children the way God does. Our children are worth far more than anything we can imagine, but that doesn’t mean we have to spend far more than we should. Thanks for sharing.

  110. Susie represents this materialistic culture who worship the god of Self and seeking to please the mighty god of I. They know nothing of the joys of family and sacrifice. I grew up 1 of 10 children, my dad moved us into an abandoned public school building for over a year while he worked his fingers off to get us into an old farm house. We never missed a meal, we ate “goolash” alot, we had 2 babies while we lived in that schoolhouse. We are all successful, never have drawn a dime of welfare. We get together every year and there are over 75 of us now.
    We could tell Susie a story or two about the incredible joy of family and money was never an issue…….

  111. LOVE this, my first daughter was pretty pricey but most of her stuff was gifts from family and friends and hand me downs. when DH and i start planning another baby i plan on getting cloth diapers, hand me downs and breastfeeding. when my youngest started on more solid foods she got the same stuff i ate just in liquid form. i rarely had to buy baby food for her since almost everything is puree-able.

  112. Another Mom says:

    I was a breastfeeding, cloth diapering mom. I think many people overestimate the cost of babies. By relying on hand-me-downs, yard sales, and thrift stores, even a first baby can be provided for at minimal cost.

    That said, cloth diapers and breastfeeding are not “free.” Breastfeeding is certainly cheap, but it requires calories–about 500 a day. If you want those to be nutritious, that has some cost to it. Cloth diapers have to be washed, preferably in hot water, and they are stiff as shingles if they don’t go in the dryer. While the overall cost is less than disposable, water, gas/ electricity, and laundry soap are not insignificant costs. In addition, washing them requires more labor than simply picking up a package while one is already at the store, and cloth diapers have a higher tendency to leak, which in turn creates even more laundry. Our first kid was allergic to disposables, so we did it anyway, and then we were just in the habit, but I wouldn’t say the cost savings were huge.

    As for forgoing preschool, while this may work out for individual children in individual families, in the greater scheme of things, it’s not a good idea. Preschool is a great investment in a child’s future life and academic success–there is a huge body of research that supports the importance of preschool. You can play roulette with your kid if you want, but I wouldn’t. We did use a Parks and Rec school that was far cheaper than a private preschool. Some cities have free preschool, and co-ops can also be lower-cost alternatives. So it doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive, but I believe that in most cases, forgoing it is short-sighted and not in a child’s best interests.

    People here have also suggested downsizing one’s home. For many families, already cramped space is a primary reason for not feeling able to add another child. In addition, when considering a third child, the size of a car becomes a factor, as most regular cars cannot fit 3 car seats.

    Finally, quitting one’s job is not just a matter of reducing expenses over the short term–it’s a long-term issue. Leaving one’s job even temporarily can affect future wages for a lifetime. The job’s benefits may have great worth above the simple salary. And most people who leave find it difficult to save for retirement–and they are not earning toward Social Security either. I would find it selfish to place the burden of my retirement on my children.

    I also feel that if the husband is too selfish to be the one to take over primary childrearing responsibilities, even though this might make having the second child more feasible, that this family is not emotionally well-equipped to have a second child.

    • You state that “there is a huge body of research that supports the importance of preschool”. Is this really true? I find research that shows that only “at-risk” children showed any significant differences, and that even that was questionable.


      I’m fifty years old, and hardly anyone attended preschool when I was young, yet we succeeded academically and socially. None of my children attended preschool, yet they received academic scholarships to selective colleges, one received an appointment to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and one was a National Merit Finalist. (All home-schooled.) Russian roulette? Hardly. Any attentive parent who reads to, spends time playing with, working with & talking to their child, and takes them on normal outings and activities, gives them crayons and scissors and paper and lots of books will turn out a well-adjusted child who is able to learn. Preschool is another unnecessary expense that parents have been convinced they have to bear.

      • Another Mom says:

        Here is one example, which includes a number of reference to scientifically controlled studies of preschools benefits:

        If you simply type “preschool benefits” into a Google Scholar search, you will see the large body I refer to. Some is about lower-income children, as they are the group most likely to be considered “at risk” and are therefore the most likely to be studied. However, there is also a substantial body of research that shows that preschool offers a host of benefits to all kinds of children, some of which are not evident until adulthood.
        I acknowledged in my original post that it is possible for some to succeed without preschool. An anecdote about your family is not research that can be broadly applied. I could just as easily point out that my mother DID attend preschool in the 1940s and went on to get a PhD from one of the best universities in the country. I also attend preschool and earned a PhD from the same university as my mother. Her sister (my aunt) did not attend preschool and dropped out of college. My mother and I faithfully attend church, but my aunt does not. My mother and did not experiment with drugs, but my aunt did. My mother and I have had stable marriages and children we are proud of, but my aunt never married or had children. However, I would not advise that someone send a child to preschool based on the positive experiences of my family. I would suggest that they look at actual scientific evidence.

  113. First, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR STANDING UP TO SUZIE! I think so many people are scared of her, or just take her opinion as fact, and I agree with everything you said here. Second, YOU HAVE AN ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL FAMILY!!!!!

  114. jessica fields says:

    I agree, that price is a little outrageous! My husband and i have adopted three children, have adoption related monthly fees still and feed clothe and provide daycare for 3 children for about $1000 a month! that is for three children two of witch are still in diapers and breastfeeding was out of the question…lol! i understand that may sound a little high but we pay child care ,adoption fees(that are not paid off yet), and everything to take care of the kids. so anyone who says that it cost 700-1000 monthly to add another child is sadly mistaken!!!!! i am glad that there are others like myself that use coupons and hand me downs to make ends meet. and i am sure if you are all like me there is not much the children want for because we some how find a way to provide and do everything they want!

  115. You tell her! I’m going to be passing this on!

    So, often we hear, “How can you afford to have so many kids?! We would love to have a big family, but we just can’t afford it.” And they are talking to ME–who stays home full time, whose husband is a carpenter. Do they think we are independently wealthy? No! It just takes sacrifice and common sense! You save money where you can and focus on giving your children your love and attention and not every latest gadget and designer gear. And children don’t need to be overscheduled and carted all over the county t0 piano lessons, violin lessons, scouts, Mommy-and-Me yoga, soccer and playgroups! Children need time to PLAY! Play is the business of childhood.

    Many people, sadly, have their priorities out of order and so they buy their brand new car and take their yearly vacations rather than having a baby.

    –Mother of Seven

  116. Yup. She’s never had kids. Poor thing. Poor litttle Suze.

  117. thank you for writing this article! As someone who does not yet have kids, I think about the expense of it a lot and wonder if it is even feasible. It is refreshing to hear from people who say it is not the “end of a comfortable financial life” to have a child.

  118. My husband’s response to this was “What is she budgeting? Buying cloth diapers and using them as disposables?!?”

  119. She drives me absolutely bonkers! I just want to sic Dave Ramsey on her!

  120. She is crazy. She does not live in the real world any more. Sometimes I think she gets a mean ‘thrill’ out of shooting other people’s dreams down. I did not see this show, but I have watched her on Oprah before. It was just always the same, YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO STAY HOME, YOU CAN NOT AFFORD TO RETIRE, YOU CAN NOT AFFORD COLLEGE… I know that ‘where there is a WILL there is a way. With our Lord’s help all things are possible.

  121. If they aren’t making it NOW on their monthly income the advice should be to get their budget under control and make some sacrifices so that they can have that baby! The hubby said something about not being able to maintain their current lifestyle if his wife quit. Well, of course you can’t. You can’t live a two income lifestyle on a one income budget. Obviously you have to cut back.

    But they could totally have a baby if they were willing to compromise and make some changes. Isn’t a precious new little one worth it? I say it is, because later your electronics, furniture, car, vacations and clothes are not what you will be having precious memories of.

  122. Amen! I am always frustrated when I hear those statistics saying how much it cost to raise a child from birth to age 18. It’s ludicrous!!

  123. I did see the entire program. You stated you started watching in the middle of the interview. I think what you may have missed, was most important. The mom wanted to quit her job and stay at home with her child and have another. The problem with that is, that they don’t even have enough money to pay their bills with both of them working now. If she quit her job, they would be in the red for over 4 grand per month, even without another child.

    It really had nothing to do with diapers, food, etc. I think you only caught the last part of the interview. I do agree that Suze should start telling folks that using coupons is like “free” money, and she should start working that more into her program. I even wrote to her about it.

    I just ask not to get folks to “slam” her for her advice if you didn’t see the entire program. Her advice was dead on for this couple, even if they had no children. You can’t live in the red $4,000 every month and expect it not to catch up to you. On the other side of the coin, YOU are dead on, regarding another child. It doesn’t have to be expensive if you know what you’re doing and do it right. That part I definitely agree with. Your passion is in the right place, but without all of the facts in this case.

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      Susan, I did see the entire interview several times, so I do have all the facts. I even posted the link to the interview up there in my post so anyone who wants can watch the entire thing for themselves.

      I am not slamming anyone. I am simply stating the truth, which Suze Orman misrepresented.

      • To be fair, I watched it again via your link. First, I totally agree with you that Suze is way off base with the $700-$1,000 per month. With that said, after watching and hearing the numbers, this isn’t about the expenses of another child. These folks are already in deep. Now, without judging them (I have no idea of their circumstances), some people DO have many expenses that they can’t cut back on. As an example, my husband and I live frugally, but within the past 20 yrs, Everything has gone sky high. We live in a modest home, but our taxes have skyrocketed. Utilities have doubled. We don’t spend anything on ourselves. I suppose what I’m trying to convey is that they may seem to have a good income, but the money is already gone. Suze was wrong on only one point…….it wouldn’t cost them $700-$1,000 more a month for another child. They can’t afford what they have now. She was on point with everything else in that interview with the exception of the cost of another child. All the couponing in the world wouldn’t help them trim their budget. I only wish she told us if they had a huge home with a big mortgage. I’m guessing they don’t or she would have told them to get a smaller one that they could afford.

        When we were young and had very little income, our rent was $200.00 a month. With utilities, it came to $250.00 and we struggled with our children. I used coupons back then (they had no expiration dates!) and it was still a struggle. Of course, times have changed.

        I know what the process is for Suze helping people. It takes months of paper work sent to the producers for the, “How am I doing” segment over a year ago. I know, because Suze helped me and although I used her advice only as a guideline ( never take it all) it has help my husband and I to achieve our goal for retirement.

        Yes, she misrepresented what it could cost for a child. But the rest shouldn’t be ignored.

        Best wishes.

  124. Just a postscript; I believe I was in error when I stated $4,000. I believe that with the loss of her salary and the cost for medical insurance put on her husband, it was closer to $2,500 -$3,000. My apologies.

    • After watching the segment again, it would appear my original post was more accurate. For what it’s worth.

  125. oh. my. i did’t take the time to read many of the comments, but there seem to be many…. i coulnd’t even watch all of the link with suze whoever. ( we don’t have TV, so i don’t know who that is) that was a totally biased and uninformed and misleading “interview”. her questions were so leading to the wife. and how can they possibly not live comfortably on $5,6oo? that’s what i’d like to know. i just hope that she knows some frugal, large family homemakers like who read this blog ot give her the REAL info!

  126. This is ridiculous. Truly. $700-$1000 month for a baby??? Really?

    I had babies #4 and #5 sans father. In both cases he was away for the first 2 years of their lives and I was the sole supporter. In both cases, I was living on less than $900/month. If I could support FIVE kids by myself on $1000/month, surely one child alone doesn’t cost that much. Someone needs a math class PRONTO!

  127. A little background on the problem: http://www.amodernquest.com/suzeorman.html

    • People should always use their own judgement. I’ll be honest and tell you I only read a couple of sentences of the article you posted Cindy. I may just go back and watch it if I have the time.

      I don’t care who you are, what you do, or how famous you are. Everyone needs to take responsibility for themselves. Unless you are a child that depends on others, a person needs to take all advice with a grain of salt and not blame others for their failures. That seems so easy and commonplace these days.

      No one person can blame another, if they were so gullible without doing their own research. It’s easy to cast blame and have a “mob” mentality, as I feel this has been. I really love this website, but it seems that folks are jumping on a band wagon, simply because one woman (Suze Orman) said it cost more than it actually does to raise a child. That’s a shame.

      I am not ashamed to say that she has helped me and my husband. I wasn’t physically on her show, but on a taped segment via phone. It is a long and grueling process that takes months with the producers. All of the accounting sheets need to be in order and submitted. The outcome was that I listened, took what advice worked for me, and tossed what didn’t work for me. I used it as a guideline and it worked wonderfully!

      I have no agenda. I just wish folks wouldn’t post things they know nothing about, or experience with. Once you have, then I feel you can copy and paste a very old video that you know nothing about (including editing).

      God Bless and happy couponing!!

      • I apologize….your name is Candy. Please forgive me. I glanced at your link posted above. I recognized most of it, even by scanning. I take everyone by their merit. I did do much research years ago on Ms. Orman. I came across most (if not all) of what you posted.

        For every celebrity out there, if you look long and hard enough, you will find derogatory things about them. Obviously, that doesn’t mean anything. Gosh, if they wrote on bio on any of us, I’m sure they’d either use the good or the bad, depending upon their experience and the side they were on! We can all site things in our lives and make it look good or bad. Please keep an open mind in the future, when anything crosses your road. Heck, a coupon is most certainly accepted everywhere, unless your store won’t take it……we were told they would, but unfortunately that was wrong. Who will we blame then?

        • Ok, I haven’t been reading all the posts, but just happened to stop upon this one. I see where you are coming from when you say that everyone is jumping on her for this comment. But I’m not sure that many understand why.
          From first hand experience, I know someone who chose not to have children because of money. I have been looked down upon because of how many kids I have, (4) and this is by the one person who chose not to have more than two children, because that is what their budget would allow as he said. They’re not doing any better off than my husband and I, who have four happy, healthy, loving children.

          Now in regards to the 700-1000 more a month. Yes, it’s not realistic, especially for a newborn, and especially if you have everything. Even without coupons, it shouldn’t cost you 700 a month for diapers, unless you are changing your newborns diaper every five minutes. It really just isn’t realistic, but the advice they were given, and hopefully if they really want a bigger family, they choose not to listen to it, is not a fair way to give advice, and in the eyes of a huge amount of viewers, well, lets put it this way, there was a woman in Florida recently that tried to sell her baby for rent money. Where could that baby of ended up had the “sale” of been successful. While you could look at this situation more than one way, I would not have told that woman to sell her child, but given other suggestions as to how to overcome the situation. This is something this woman should have done. But again, as a person who is very family oriented, and willing to do all it takes for my kids, I will admit, they do cost more as they get older. But even still, I don’t spend 700-1000 on each or even all of the kids every month. For a family of 6 (7 currently as my mother lives with me) and even without couponing every item I get. I might possibly spend 700 a month in groceries,but honestly I doubt it’s even that much.And I’m not the best in budgets. The point is, give advice on HOW to plan the budget for it, not advice on having another child or not. They are really two different things.

  128. That’s crazy. Our recent addition, this past Sept, doesn’t even cost us the 70$ you cite. Frugality goes hand in hand with parenting. I don’t spend much because I spend my time at home with the kids. I don’t need entertainment because they entertain me (or exhaust me, at which point, sleep takes precedence over entertainment!)

  129. While I agree with what you’re saying, the first thing the father said is that he can’t see how they can continue their *lifestyle* while she’s a SAHM. It’s priorities. If they are currently exceeding their income by $800+ per month, they can’t afford to cut it in half without first altering their priorities and changing their lifestyle. It’s basic math. Can they keep living the way they are living with only half their income? No. However, are their areas where they can live more frugally in order to fulfill the dream of raising their children? Of course.

  130. I agree whole heartedly. But I think the real issue is not in the statistics, or maybe it is. Let me explain. The issue is not how much a child will cost you financially. The issue is that we live in a culture that views children as a burden when we know that they are a blessing. Regardless of how much it may cost you to meet an additional child’s physical needs we will not convince the secular world to change it’s view of children by showing them how to have children affordably. (this is not to say I don’t want to read your posts, cause I do) To me the issue is more about abortion statistics and what they say about how our country views children than about financial statistics. How do you convince a country who legalizes the killing of babies to value them and receive them as a blessing? We can’t. But I know someone who can. And I trust Him.

  131. I am one of 7 siblings…I know my parents don’t spend $700 a month on us, and we are teenagers now. Suze’s last name could very nearly be changed to Moron with a little typo (or a teenage text oops). Just sayin’

  132. I have two kids. By far the most expensive piece is the birth- covered by some level of insurance (or Medicaid / Medigap for others). But a Sam’s or discount club membership pays for itself in diapers. For the first two, we spent maybe $90 a month in diapers, $70 in formula, and then less than $100 in other items. Subtract the money saved by NOT going out to eat as often, impulse buying during shopping, entertainment and movies, and frivolous things bought with no kids and it breaks even.

    Also… I’m not sure where she’s getting her figures. So- if they aren’t rooted in reality, then they are commentary and conjecture. That being said, she’s doing folks a DISSERVICE by not being grounded in her advice. Then again, TV talk shows are entertainment- and I wouldn’t look to a performer for “life skills coaching” anyways no more than I’d look to the miscreants on ‘Jersey Shore’ to represent good role models.

  133. Great letter, Okay since other’s actually crunched numbers here are mine, baby is almost 10 months old, including med bills, new car seat, new crib, new stroller about $1200 spent.

  134. Amen, Sister! Well said!

  135. We formula feed (just switched to soy) and use disposable diapers and don’t spend NEAR $700/mo

    We are probably averaging over $700/mo right now because of the high hospital bill to have the baby (who is only 4 months old) but that will decrease every month as she gets older. Also childcare for an infant can be quite expensive and could make that number very realistic.

  136. So glad my husband and I didn’t ask for her advice over 19 years ago or we’d still be childless today!! My oldest is grown and in college and he doesn’t even cost me $700 now!

  137. I’m so proud of you. Amen! I’m sharing this post again and again.

    Big hugs.

  138. Thank you for bringing this to our attention: Apparenlty Suze Orman thinks having children costs 700 per month, per child!!
    WELL ….How about the COST of NOT having a BABY? Physically, breast cancer chances are HIGHLY increased and HOW many women REGRET NOT having made the choice to bless their husband and homes with children.

    I would like to list just SOME of the INVESTMENTS of being a wife & the joys of motherhood. I get to see something of JESUS love for me in the love of my wonderful husband and the blessing of a baby that HE planned for & knit together. When you feel the kick, the flutter, inside of your womb and KNOW that HE chose for this little one to grow, you get over your self….

    SEFLISH< pridefilled life. I honestly thought that I was NOT a selfish woman until I had children. BOY, did GOD grow me up.
    The cleaning of self for

    little ones….the laughing at their tiny minds grasping new concepts, their bowing of head and heart to the MASTER of the UNIVERSE, thier giving of their time to someone who can NOT give in return….their voices young and now teenaged, quoting scriptures and choosing HOLYness over HAPPiness…

    THESE things are PRICELESS….and THESE things are eternal….
    Yes, a child needs diapers and a child needs food, BUT we

    AMERICANS are MORE than capable of taking care of our families…We USED to have HUGE families and little houses….NOW we have HUGE houses and little famliies. BLESSED is the man whose quiver is FULL….not just a little…but FULL!!! As the youngest of six children ,
    I thank GOD for parents who didn't stop at one. : )

  139. So true and thank you for this wonderful letter. When my mom would be asked by others how she did it and how she was able to make the sacrifices necessary to be home with me she ALWAYS answered, “What sacrifices?” Now that I have my own, I feel the same way. As long as I can be home with my babies, then nothing is sacrificed. It would be the other way around. I would be sacrificing SO MUCH if I didn’t stay at home!

  140. I do find it funny when people say children are expensive… wouldn’t having more of these “expensive” children help boost the economy? If parents think they need the latest and greatest and bought those things…
    Oh wait, the powers that be think that building more malls and casinos, using money we don’t have, will boost the economy. :)

    • Oh yes- daycare IS expensive. If most working mom’s would realize all they’re doing in working to pay daycare costs- they wouldn’t have to work if they just stayed home and saved the fmaily some money. Plus, Daycare=Sick babies= more dr visits, more meds. It depends on the lifestyle you want too.

      • Another Mom says:

        When they are older, children who attend daycare get sick less often than children who did not. If a mother stays home, she loses out on raises and experience that will affect her wages for the rest of her life, and she loses benefits, including contributions to Social Security. If a parent wants to be home with children, that’s fine, but in a post about Orman’s misrepresentation of the facts, don’t make the same mistake in the other direction.

  141. Unfortunately she is a practicing lesbian.

  142. Excellent letter, Connie! We started hearing people’s cost apprehensions when I was pregnant with our third child – as I was shopping at an awesome thrift store! We now have 9 children and are so blessed to have turned a deaf ear to people’s concerns about how we could afford it. By God’s grace and provision, it CAN be done.

  143. Joyce Ackley says:

    I sort of stumbled upon this discussion and found it quite interesting. I’m retired, so I can’t really offer any information or advice on how to manage family finances to include another baby.

    However, in my opinion, I think this topic generated a lot of unfair, biased commentaries against Suze Orman. The name-calling is especially offensive.

    I watched the video. As best as I can determine – and I’m sure someone will disagree – the question was: Can this couple, Jill and Brian, live on one income so Jill can becaome a stay-at-home Mom?

    By their own financial records, their monthly bills exceeded their take-home pay, even with two paychecks coming in. If Brian had to assume all the insurance payments that were coming out of Jill’s paycheck, his pay would be even less.

    They are already about $700 short, with two paychecks. Their livestyle is not lavish. Suze attested to that after having examined their financial statements.

    Suze may be wr0ng about the a baby costing $700 -$1000 a month. That’s not the issue here. The truth is that this couple, in their current financial situation, couldn’t even shell out 1/10th of that amount to take care of another baby.

    Suze did advise them to continue talking about it. She said to “cut back” and “start saving.” She didn’t tell them how to do this. That’s not what they wanted to know.

    She told them, “Now is not the right time.” I think Dave Ramsey would tell them the exact same thing – “Now is not the right time.”

    I think people need to look at the whole picture instead of just compartmentalizing and generalizing without analyzing the situation in its entirety. Some who responded may not have even seen the segment or taken into account Suze Orman’s entire stance on this situation. She is a financial advisor. That’s what she did here, whether people agree or not.

    Thanks for letting me state my position.


    Homeschooling, SAHM to six

  145. Besides seeing her name on the channel list on the occasion that I flip through to see if anything is on (we generally don’t get past kid shows LOL), I have no idea who Suze Orman is. So I went to her site and there’s a button “Suze Believes” and this is the exact quote that comes up, so it says “Suze Believes”, then “People First, Then Money, Then Things.” I just found that a little entertaining, considering this post… :)

  146. First of all like everyone else here my eyebrows are up at the $700 remark. No, not even close. I don’t know where they get these figures but they are WAY off. Not even our first when I had to have child care cost us that much per month.

    Second, when God gives you a baby he also gives you 9 months to prepare for it. In those 9 months many many things can happen. Sell a car, get a different house, reduce other household expenses, get a second job (husband), pay off debt. Saying “I would like a baby” does not = baby tomorrow. So you have time to figure things out. Children are blessings from God and when God sends a blessing he also sends a way to provide for that child. We have watched God do this in our lives again and again (4 times now).

    Perhaps Suzie (whom I have seen a few times) should have told them to start preparing for a child so that they can be ready for one when it comes. That would have been much better advice.

  147. I haven’t been able to read all of the posts, but thought I would give my thoughts too…hopefully, I’m not being repetitive!

    I am a sahm to 6, soon to be 7 :) My husband and I made the decision before we were even married that I would stay home once our first child was born. It was the best decision we have ever made! I couldn’t imagine not doing what I do…..I love being a wife, mother, teacher, etc…it is what God has called me to do!

    When Suze began saying how much their costs would go up and how impossible it was, I couldn’t help but laugh at the comment! She never did address that their costs would go down as well. There would no longer be traveling expenses to and from day care, to and from work for mom, as well as lunches out, etc. There would no longer be day care costs either! She also didn’t address that once you are a stay at home mom, you are able to accomplish more, in terms of keeping your home and making dinner for your family. I would think that with both mom and dad working, they are getting take out at least 2-3 times a week for convenience sake. That would go away!

    Did you also notice how she diminished the importance of the mother here? She pretty much told this poor mom that her child was perfectly fine without her….that it would be a detriment for her child if she were to quit her job and stay at home. It made me feel so bad for this young mom!

    I would have at least expected her to present the clear facts on how much $$ it really takes to raise a child…the numbers she quoted were rediculous. Her argument is full of holes, and I appreciate your post coming out and saying exactly that!

  148. I have a unique perspective ladies – I work and my husband stays at home.

    One can always find very responsible reasons not to have children. When it started to come around that I would regret not having children should I die, it was then we seriously talked about having them. Life was handed to us in a way which required my husband to stay at home and I continued to work. I found myself pregnant shortly after that decision.

    When my son turned 2, I found I had cancer. I see now that previous thought was God planting the seed in my brain to begin our family. Now we are facing the possibility of no more children. Because my husband stays at home, and because our of 2 year old we were provided so many blessings I didn’t even know to expect: They can both travel with me to the other city for my cancer treatments. We get so caught up in packing the kid things I forget the trip is for my cancer treatments!

    My son reminds my husband and I of life – enjoy it – it is so precious. I pray every night asking God that if it is in his will, we would love to have another child. If it is not in his will to do so – to provide us strength to understand why.

    Let us not forget the fathers who stay at home with their children.

  149. I agree with the premise of most of the above ‘Amens’ to your letter. I also agree with your letter, but I do have to dissent a bit.
    Where we live, the laws are very stringent, so there is no practicing midwife within a 300 mile radius from us.
    The laws also virtually prohibit home births by their wordings.
    The social services are very hyper about anything that doesn’t fit their model.
    We have known two couples who ended up having home births – though they planned to go to the hospital – and took the baby to the hospital right away after, yet were charged with negligence (nothing wrong with baby or mother), fined, a ‘file’ done up on them, and were scrutinized by Social Services until the baby was 3 years old.
    All that to say, there are some of us who don’t have medical insurance and have to pay out of pocket for our babies, who have to be born in a hospital. Our last baby cost over 15K just for medical services – and yes, that was a routine birth with no drama, previous conditions, etc. That represents over half of my husband’s salary for the year. We are due in January and our estimated costs this time looks to be more like 20 grand. With the figures we are facing, it is true it will take around $700 a month in our situation. I have to note that this is still cheaper than paying for the insurance available, and no, we don’t get assistance of any type from the government – ie, you guys.
    Yet God has blessed us with these children and we love each one. He has provided for us, and we know He will continue to bless and provide as He deems fit. I am thankful for those who will speak up concerning the foolishness purported as fact by people who have bought into the lie that stuff is more important than people. We live in one of the richest countries on earth, yet our birth rate is steadily dropping even among Christian people. That is a shame. There are countries all over the world where the family collectively makes like $5 a day, and they still provide for their own, and have large, close knit families. I suppose they get together and gripe nightly about how they can’t afford the newest Wii games. Yea right, they are some of the most thankful people you will find. Greediness isn’t directly linked to dollar amounts – you can be poor and very greedy, yet it seems those who have the most yelp the most too. Thanks for your open letter!

    • Charlotte says:

      Could you shop around or ask for self-pay discounts? We don’t have health insurance and for our first child, the hospital bill and prenatal visits were around $6000 total. My ob gives a 10% discount for being self-pay. I am about to have our second and again if it is a routine birth, am figuring costs will be the same. I pre-pay the ob practice about $212 a month at my prenatal visits, and their total expense will be about $3000ish. Home births are not allowed in this state.

      • Good job digging up those discounts, Charlotte!
        Yes, we have asked for discounts and ‘the best they can do’ is to allow us to make payments. They take the posture like they are being compassionate to do so, because we are causing our own problems, in their eyes, by not applying for government assistance. We would shop around, but the hospital in our town is definitely a monopoly. It has little clinics all over the state. If we could be ok with driving an hour and a half we could go to a different hospital, but that isn’t really a practical option, especially during the unpredictable fierce winter weather around here, and that hospital is still somehow connected with our local one.
        Anyway, I hope I didn’t come across as griping, just saying that there are people who do have to sacrifice quite a bit to have their babies, and the monetary figure this woman came up with isn’t way out there for some.

  150. $700 a month?!?!? My husband is a police officer (in the south were they are very poorly paid) and we have 3 kids. I do not supply any income and we homeschool. I have bought a total of maybe 10 outfits for all 3. Through our church family we all pass around furniture, baby and maternity clothes, bottles, coupons, cloth diapers, prayer and support. Guess how many of us the Lord has NOT provided for. Zero would be correct. Living in a godly way has financial benefits too! Anything we have bought for ourselves is either consignment or clearance. We have had many hospital visits, surgeries, tumors and if we can do it anyone can. Put your credit card, sense of entitlment, and pride away and be happy with what the Lord has provided you. He will always provide. The one thing that has always helped us be creative with what we had is the internet! Worthwhile expense to us. If you can google it, you can make it yourself!

  151. I did not see this, but thanks for the open letter! I don’t understand why people listen to so called “experts” when they really have no creditentials to stand on. I appreciate you sowing this off.

  152. Agreed! I hear so many women say they can’t afford to quit their job to stay home with their children. My income was $24K when I quit my job to stay home with our firstborn and here we are, 9 years and two children down the road and because of God’s provision, we are blessed to still be doing it.

    It may not sound like much, when our income was decreased by $24K we felt it but we also learned to live a simple, satisfying life. If your spouse doesn’t make a lot of money, you will sacrifice but it is WORTH IT. Children so desperately need their parents when they are young. Daycare and preschool does not provide the love and nurturing they need.

    Suze Orman’s response doesn’t surprise me; she is a feminist. Perhaps she used the “high cost of diapers” argument so the woman would stay in her career instead of becoming a SAHM. Who knows what her motive was? SAHM’s are amazingly undervalued in our society.

    Have a blessed day.

    PS I think it’s awesome that dads stay home and take care of the children while mom works. Either way, the children have a parent at home to love and nurture them.

  153. PREACH IT, LADY!!!! As a homeschooling stay-at-home mom, I appreciate this so much! Thank you! =)

  154. The only thing I have to add is this…

    Hey Suze,
    My uncle is the President of Wealth management at a bank chain here in Wisconsin. He doesn’t ever listen to any of you “talking heads”, because as he says, “If they were right every once and a while….they’d be sitting on a beach somewhere, giving financial advice, and busy being retired.”

    P.S. You’re in FICO’s bed anyway, so…explain why I should listen again? yep, that’s what I thought.

  155. Oh my goodness! I feel so bad for that couple! Everybody says babies are so expensive but we have not found that! Other than a high amount to give birth on our insurance plan, we hardly have to spend much on anything! She must think that thy need to change their kid every hour, even at night! Even then I doubt it would add up that much! Also, the whole shampoo, etc is really rarely needed to be bought! Ours lasted two years for our daughter! as someone who has been yearning to be home, I would be completely devastated! Fortunately, I know better and I would have told her that she obviously does not know how to budget well!

  156. I saw a similar money show, Til Debt Do Us Part, where host Gail Vax-Ozlade told the couple, who were in their late 30s, that they should pay off debt before they even thought of having a child.

    I was really dismayed, because at that age, you can’t afford to wait. If you want children, you’ve got have them. Too often we think first about money, and we don’t realize that everything is a choice. Your lifestyle is a choice. And kids don’t have to be expensive!

    Sheila from To Love, Honor and Vacuum!

  157. Wow that’s sad. I wonder if her figure includes the cost of daycare? In our area I believe it’s around $400-$500/month for daycare for just one child. Maybe she didn’t subtract daycare expenses from her total. That’s the only way it would make any sense at all.

    We live on one very low income with 4 children and we’re doing just fine! And two of those kids have significant special needs. When we adopted our 4th child in February we probably only added $150/month in expenses to purchase formula and disposable diapers. If I had been able to breast feed and if I’d been brave enough for cloth diapers, there would have been virtually no expense at all! It’s so sad that our culture sees children as a costly “extra” instead of a true blessing and heritage from God!

  158. This is why I love you. XOXOXOXOXO

  159. PS – Doesn’t Suze only have one child? Hmmm. Food for thought :)

    • I don’t believe she has any children as she is a lesbian.

      • LOL Meghan – that sounds horrible. Lesbians can have children. They just need “help” or they adopt 😉 I thought I remembered her talking about her daughter on one show but I seached and cannot find any info about it so I must have been mistaken. I think you’re right in that she doesn’t have any.

        One thing I know for sure – I would not take advice about kids from someone who’s never had any. Why does she think she’s even qualified to speak to it? Experience counts for a lot in my book.

        But I’m not a multi millionaire so what do I know? 😉 <—sarcasm

  160. Ridiculous. I was unable to nurse my babies, so even formula feeding, I always estimated about $50 a month was spent on baby, especially with coupons. I made their baby food in the blender and cloth diapered them, so money on kids was not my greatest concern when considering whether or not to expand more!

  161. RG I don’t know where you live so I can’t be of great help. However I have heard of insurance plans that would cover a good deal of the cost for much less than 20K a year. Additionally I have heard of people literally hospital shopping where they find out the costs from one hospital to another and can sometimes negotiate better deals. If there is only one hospital in your area you might be out of luck, but I know that sometimes (especially if you have no reason to suspect trouble) you can go to a smaller country hospital and get better rates. 20K for a routine birth is insane btw–my first birth (which was only a few years ago) in total was 21K and that was with all sorts of nonsense happening and was not straight forward by any stretch of the imagination. So I think you are getting hosed big time.

  162. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I think a big problem here is that our society has such a negative view of children, and not only that, but society has a negative view of actually raising our children. We are lead to believe that someone else is more qualified to teach and care for our kids. It’s the biggest lie ever.

    When we had our daughter, I got so much stuff given to me or at thrift stores that we hardly spent any money. We cloth diapered for a while, and I made wipes also. I made a lot of the baby food we used. It didn’t cost us much at all. My husband is in the military and we don’t make much money, but we made it work. Our daughter wears yard sale clothes (and always looks ridiculously cute, thank you very much!). Even when she out-grew a lot of the baby stuff, we were able to give it away to people who needed it. That’s hard to do when you spend $500 on a crib, but when it’s free or close to free anyway, it’s easy.

    Suze is way off base and – like a lot of “elites” – completely out of touch with reality. I hope that this couple has some good friends who will encourage them. Babies only stay small for a short time – do everything you can to be there for them!

  163. I was just telling a friend this morning what my mom always said that if she waited until she could afford each child (by what others said), she would never have had any of her children.

    I have seen the estimates on how much it supposedly cost to raise a child. So silly, they assume you not only buy the kids a lot but everything is to of the line (designer?) and they will all go to Harvard through graduate school.

    My daughter has five children and she often has other women tell her they can’t afford to stay at home. She admits her husband makes a good salary but they stay on a budget and she knows how to buy second hand (well, except for diapers, of course). 😉

    I once had a woman tell me (long ago) I was stupid because I homeschooled my second child (my surprise kid, born twelve years after his sister) instead of working outside the home. She said it was a terrible financial decision.

    I think of that once in awhile as that boy who was told in the public schools in first grade that he was stupid and couldn’t learn is now a top computer science student at a major university. I’d say that was a wonderful investment of my time but she would not understand that.

  164. I saw the episode and I also was surprised and disappointed with her answer to that couple. However in Suze’s defense, she was also talking about the expense of something going wrong. I had my twins prematurely and they spent one month in the NICU (I spent 3 weeks in the hospital before that) and the cost was about $7,000 per day just for “room and board.” After that was the specialized care like heart monitors and extra doctor visits, not to mention the $1,000 per pop RSV shots they each received Sept-April which were NOT covered by insurance. But, I still totally stayed home with them! We may be really poor right now but I wouldn’t trade this time for anything! P.S. I am going back to a PT job soon :)

  165. Here here! We’re expecting our first baby this spring and really think it will only cost us $100 or less each month, most of that being in extra laundry costs since we have to use a coin operated washer and dryer. We’re registering for cloth diapers, so hopefully we’ll be able to avoid the high start-up costs for cloth diapering and buying gender-neutral baby clothes from thrift stores. A friend has already offered to lend us their outgrown infant carseat, and really you need very little else. Based on my observations, the toys children want to play with usually come out of the recycle bin or from nature…thus are free. I wish people would stop perpetuating this “children are exhorbitantly expensive” myth. It just promotes consumerism and makes parents who aren’t raising (or aren’t planning to raise) their children feel bad, like they’re denying them essentials.

  166. I love your open letter. Too often we assume that because someone is on TV that they are truly informed about every question that comes at them and that is just isn’t logical. If you need answers to a question like this ASK A MOM WHO IS DOING IT ALREADY, not a silly person on TV.

  167. Most of the folks responding to this need to actually watch the clip. The cost of the child wasn’t really the point of the conversation. This is a dual income couple with similar incomes who were already deficit spending. Mom wanted to quit and have another child. Their financial position is already very poor, and her quitting would be devastating to the couple. Mom wanted to quite but had given no thought to how they would manage that financially.

    Watch the clip. Suze’s advice was spot on.

  168. Awesome! We agree 100%. Diapers are less than $35 a month. We tried cloth, but the laundry soap was $20 a month so it just wasn’t worth it. Regaurdless, I worked in a daycare while in college and was appalled at the relative morality that was being taught to infants. “It’s okay that he hit. It is not a bad thing. He is just having a bad day,” BARF!

    I WAS STAYING HOME. So I did, and we never had that second income to even consider. Humans adapt well to their circumstances. It really isn’t that hard. But it is that much GREATER!

  169. Well said! Bravo!

  170. My husband and I just had our sixth baby. We paid $1350 to a midwife for home delivery, $50 for my birth kit, $8 for a package of blankets, $3 for gas drops and $5 for a toy to keep baby in the loop with a Christmas gift.

    I had the diapers, wipes, clothes, car seat, and bed for baby already. Our budget for kids – food, clothes, everything – is $100 a month. I stay at home, breastfeed, cloth diaper, and we haven’t had to change our budget one bit. Granted, as baby grows expenses will increase – but slowly. Homeschooling will require purchasing a few books. But mainly, it’s groceries. And it’s certainly not $700 a month! With lots of stuff homemade, handmade, and handed down, it is possible. And so very worth it.

  171. Git it, girl! As a woman who put off quitting her job for far too long (in part because of know-it-all naysayers like this one), I can wholeheartedly say, “preach it, Smockity Frocks!”
    Honestly. Couples hoping to make this kind of change need to hear it’s hard, it’s kind of scary and it’s a big change (and yes, they need to examine the numbers), but more than anything they need support and encouragement, and to know that this world needs more people like them.
    Not that I have an opinion.
    Well said. I truly hope Ms. Orman sees your letter and responds. Priceless!

  172. Carrie Konig says:

    My heart was breaking for that mom Suze was speaking to especially! Who does she thinks she is asking her why she wants another baby right now or telling her that it is impossible to stay home! There are ways, there are strategies, but they aren’t from Suze O., they are from the Lord and God himself can download those strategies on how to make it work and He will provide!!

  173. We are one of those families that is totally “irresponsible”–we have 15 children. No, we cannot afford them–we never have been able to afford them. But what is impossible with man is possible with God. They are our treasures; blessings to us, blessings to God, blessings to the world.

    We do not worship at the church of the “bottom line”–we serve a God who is Eternal–and live for the kingdom to come.

  174. Julie Campbell says:

    Thank you for this great post! My husband and I are both college grads–he has his Master’s in Actuarial Science (Math). We sometimes marvel at the “budget” in America for raising children too. We have five children, I am a stay at home mother who quit teaching Sixth grade when my first little lady was born. At projected costs, we will supposedly have spent close to three million to raise these children.
    Babies, like others have mentioned, need TIME, patience, love, and nurturing but NOT excessive money. Isn’t that a way to spoil a child–give him/her little time and lots of money!?
    We have almost always shopped at second hand stores, loaned and borrowed out to others in between children, and collected great deals at garage and library surplus sales. I found that my babies did not really even care for the expensive crib (with gorgeous, new bedding), baby bath tub (they like the clean sink with a wash cloth and my arm supporting them), and other “gadgets.”
    If I were to do it over again–have my first baby, I wish I would have relaxed, bought some NB inexpensive diapers, some white Onsies, several soft sleepers and invested in great books on labor, breast feeding, and child development (not by “experts” but by happy mothers or Dr. Sears and wife who have a healthy, happy large family with “one of every child.”) Attended more of the free LLL Mtgs. (La Leche League, mother-to-mother breastfeed support groups) and met friends with children and interest similar to my own. There are many things for “free” to be enjoyed: parks, libraries, concerts, etc.

  175. I’m a firm believer in living well within your means, recycling, reusing, mending, thrifting. That said — just because you can live on next to nothing, doesn’t mean you should. Suze may have overshot the estimate, but she’s playing it safe and smart, which is why her advice is sound. It isn’t as much about the cost of entertaining and clothing a child, as it is about planning for a long-term dependent and the possibility of unexpected expenses.

    A lot of folks are pounding the food and diapers thing — yes, you can (and should!) slice those costs if you nurse and use cloth diapers, but what about dependent health insurance costs? Unexpected medical expenses? A fund for higher education? If you’re smart enough to have a prudent reserve of several months expenses, you’re smart enough to realize that every child increases household expenses, however small the amount, and you’ll need to bulk up the savings accordingly if you want to be truly solid.

  176. Suze obviously over-estimated the cost of a second child (assuming the new baby is born completely healthy) ; however the focus of the interview was “could the young woman stop working and stay home with the kids?”. The couple was already spending more money each month than they brought in. Suze did give them financial advice, save more and cut back. This couple barely had an emergency fund of 1 month! The mom didn’t seem to have a plan or even an awareness of how they would have to sacrifice for her to stay at home. Suze’s usual advice includes try living on the reduced amount of income and see how hard/easy it would be, while saving that money in your EF.

  177. Love this post!!

    I don’t know what Suze is talking about. Working cost me more then staying at home. However, I guess if the mom had a very high-paying job, then I could see how taking that huge pay cut may be quite difficult.
    But…what she didn’t discuss is the expense of raising children and working.
    Gas – daily commutes to drop off/pick up child/ren from daycare and then to your job and back
    Lunch – typically the grocery bill goes up when mom has to pack a lunch each day, and can’t just eat whatever is in the cupboards at home 😉
    Clothing/accessories – depending on mom’s job, there probably is some sort of work attire needed (such as nice office attire, shoes, accessories, etc).
    And let’s not forget the cost of daycare…which depending on your area can easily be in upwards of over $1,000/month for ONE child.
    Then add in all the other expenses taken out of your paycheck- taxes, etc. and how much is really left at the end of the day?

    I thought it would be difficult to cut our income in half when I quit my job to become a stay at home mom. Our daycare provider was moving and I couldn’t find another trustworthy place with four openings- so it was a bit of a forced decision. Imagine our surprise when we saw how we really weren’t any worse off with me not working. In some ways we were saving money. We’ve gone on to have two more children since I’ve become a stay-at-home mom.

    I think instead of Suze just telling them how expensive babies are (which isn’t true) and not to quit her day job…perhaps she should help them figure out how to make it work if mom wants to be a stay-at-home mom. She should be focusing on how they can make cut-backs at home, budget better, find better deals shopping, etc. etc…

  178. I do not know of the person you are talking about or the programme you mean but I do know that the media seems to place a very low value on children.

    This isn’t a new thing. I have written before about how the media is constantly portraying children as a negative. How children will burden a couple financially, emotionally, physically. This is found in all forms, be they newspaper articles, magazine features or on television.

    The worrying this is that these media entities have so much influence over society. Is it any wonder that children are no longer viewed as blessings by society, when they aren’t questioning these “facts” that the media are constantly feeding them?

  179. I was a former teacher, now stay-at-home mom to two beautiful girls, ages 2 years old and 4 months. Without detailing all of the sacrifices we have made to be able to have me at home, (the house and one car is all that’s left and we are working on those!) the Lord has provided!

    Although I also don’t agree with the 700-1000/month figure, I do think Suze was right in that the family needs to figure out how they will pay all of their bills on one income before the mom quits her job. No financial planner (or rational person) would recommend cutting income when a family is already adding to their debt monthly. Yes, the Lord provides and we have seen that in wonderful measure, but He also calls us to steward what He gives us well.

    Part of how we make it work is working from home. I run a daycare in my home and am the one receiving that childcare expense that working moms pay. I still am able to play with my daughters, be there for them, do fun things, and raise them as I want. We get the added bonus of playmates and learning to share. It has been a blessing. I would not be able to stay at home without this–the numbers just don’t add up (believe me, we figured every possible way). Part of that is attributed to two private college educations and resulting loans–which was before we got smart about money! We also take on any odd jobs we can find—especially ones we can do as a family/couple. All of my husband and my dates now are either free or making us money.

    Bottom line, it can be done…. it’s a matter of what you are willing to give up and/or do to make it happen. However, a family does have to do the math and either creatively decrease expenses or add income if it doesn’t work out. Being with your children and being the one to raise them is SO worth it!

  180. Laura Tullis says:

    Love your article. Good for you. I have 9 kids, so I quite understand the financial burden.
    The following may explain Suze’s inability to understand parenting economics 101.

    Q: Do you have kids? What’s the number one thing we should do to provide for our kids?
    A: I don’t have children of my own. As for providing for yours….

    I’m sorry….I stopped reading. :) ‘Nuff said. Suze is telling how to provide for them, Oprah is telling us how to raise them…don’t sit on your millions, childless, and tell me how to parent. Just saying.

    (the quote was taken from this website-)

  181. Well, that is like taking parenting classes from someone who has never had children. Suze Orman likes to hear herself talk. Much like her buddy Oprah, who also thinks because she had a show she is the epitome of all wisdom. When will people stop basing their life decisions on the opinions of others??

  182. I do not know who “Suze Orman” is, where she comes from, how she became a topic of discussion, or why she is occupying anyone’s time, but the stated fact that she is up-front “a lesbian”, and somehow in a position to dispense advice to people too un-informed and/or too illiterate to know better than to solicit her “advice”, tells it all to begin with. A product of the “entertainment industry” (anyone who considers this entertainment is an idiot) that will promote anything and anyone, no matter how idiotic, that will produce revenue, and take from the poor to give to the rich, is the obvious answer. How can anyone with an I.Q. above 50 ask for advice from someone with an obvious I.Q. BELOW 50? Caveat Emptor.

  183. Good for you! I applaud you for making such a BOLD statement, as some would see it. I just see it as speaking the truth. Thank you for sharing! :)

  184. Perhaps the fact that Suze Orman’s a LESBIAN might have colored her perspective in some way?

  185. Connie, do you moderate comments? Because maybe you should. There are some really hateful homophobic things here, not the sort of thing I would want my children exposed to. Thanks.

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      Lisa, Suze Orman is an admitted lesbian in a “marriage” with another woman. I’m not sure how it’s homophobic to state that. I try to keep this site family friendly, but there may occasionally be content that is not suitable for children. Use your own judgement as to what you want your children reading.

      • To put the word marriage in quotes when talking about a lesbian couple is pretty homophobic if you ask me, as if to suggest that it’s not a real marriage.

  186. Esther Hawkins says:

    Thanks for sharing this. We just had our 3rd and live on one modest income. It has been a sacrifice but the return on being there for my children 24 hours a day is worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way :)

  187. Controversial Statement: Sometimes NOT having a child, is the bigger, more UNselfish thing to do in life (I’ll explain in a moment). I don’t believe for one second that God will love you any less if you are either unable to have children due to physical reasons or financial reasons (and believe me, I work for a Physician who is an adoption specialist and it is not financially possible for most folks to adopt a child even with all the really great cutbacks a family can definitely make – if you’re already financially at your limit there isn’t much more to do sometimes after that). I have seen families where only the husband works, Mom stays home and they raise 5 darling well behaved children. This particular families Father works for my dear friend who employs them at his company. He has known the husband and wife for almost 20 years and pays this Husband and Father a pretty darn good wage and provides full health coverage for the family. He’s helped them a few times in the last decade in large ways. I feel they have been fortunate to have my friend in their lives as they do not attend a church with members who have much money themselves and no family that can help or support. In my friends opinion, it would have been more fair to their first couple of children if they had not continued to have three more – especially since they have an extremely hard time supporting the family. The children wear second hand clothing that is too small for them and often Mom is meding their shoes with super glue. Kidos don’t get to participate in activities that they’d like to that other kids are able to (ballet, piano, art classes, baseball) because they all cost money to join/participate and gas to get to and from (plus they only have one car that dad has to use to get to work so that he doesn’t have to get up at 4am to ride the bus to work. They often have needed to utilize energy assistance programs to pay their power bill and depend on food boxes from multiple churches throughout the year. The biological need that people feel to reproduce a child, does not necessarily mean they should go ahead and do it. Sometimes having a child just because you want one, can be a rather selfish thing. It should be thoughtful, thought out and planned (when possible of course, because God does like to send unexpected suprises). The unborn children’s welfare should be thought of well in advance of having them come to be with us here on Earth. THAT is love and THAT is unselfish. I spoke to one of the children (young boy of 12) one day when I was visiting my friend at his office for lunch. He looked so sad. I said “what’s wrong today?” and he proceeded to tell me he was so tired of kids picking on him at school for his shoes that were falling apart and that he was teased for his jacket becuase it had holes that his Mother had to repair over and over. I remained neutral and told him to try and ignore those children and remember whats really important which is not clothing and shoes and that if he kept his grades up he could go to a great college after highschool and never have to worry about those kinds of things. I sadi “you might even want to help out folks when he’s all grown up, because helping out people is really a great reward. I said that those kids would probably feel a whole lot better if they learned to do that than make fun of people. I think he felt a little better, but I was still sad. It doesn’t matter that materialism is a sad thing, it really does effect younger children, especially teen youth, whether we want to admit it or not. Some kids don’t care at all – in fact, my best girlfriends little sister was ashamed of her parents wealth in highschool and we caught her pretending to be a homeless teen and she was panhandling! Nevertheless, this is NOT usually the case.
    I can really understand these things and I can understand a portion of what Ms. Orman was trying to explain, because I grew up in a very underprivelged household with my younger brother. We grew up in church and it was still an extreme struggle which my brother and I felt on a daily basis and often went hungry. I am glad that my mother was at home because I was a very strong-willed and freedom loving child and I’m not sure what would have happened if she hadn’t been there to keep tabs on me. My grades were terrible due to my parents constant arguing about money and how to pay bills. I was picked on and teased for my clothing which caused me to skip class sometimes to avoid it. Again, this does not happen with all children, but I did see many very poor children during those 7 years of school going hungry, sometimes being taken from their abusive and neglectful homes into foster care, not getting proper medical care and so on. Humans in general are expensive, and most of the time a struggling household, while it can provide love, is not capable of preparing their children with proper teaching in life responsibilities or life preparation. Because of my upbringing, I did have some life difficulties which were very hard to square away until I was about 26. I have put myself through medical assisting school and now have a pretty darn good paying job with health insurance and I don’t struggle to pay bills or eat. I do not live frivolously at all. I DO shop at second hand stores and vintage shops and I buy my groceries at discount grocery stores. If I married a man who made my wages and I quit work, we would not be able to properly cloth, feed, and shelter another human being and ourselves. I can clearly see inside of my bank account – and I know this to be true. I would like to have children someday, but know I’ll make the better choice to hold off on my biological urges to think about the human that I’ll be bringing into the world and plan for it to the best of my ability so there will be enough love, support, food and clothing (and hopefully college money) for this tiny person who doesn’t have a choice in the matter.
    God Bless!

  188. I know from experience since I have 8; yes, children can be expensive…. (although probably not quite as expensive as Suzie Orman says.) However, they are the best buy around! My late husband often alluded to the fact that they are one of the few things (“things” is not the best word here, sorry) someone can take to heaven with them. They also last longer than most anything else you can spend your hard earned money on. What a bargain!

  189. If you have the money to properly feed, cloth, and shelter 8 children you are truly blessed! Instead of having many children myself, I’d like to maybe have one or two and help out other families in serious need that are having a hard time supporting their children. What a gift to be able to help out those that are less fortunate. It’s nice to know that there are parents who keep their childrens welfare in mind above their own. To be a truly good parent is to know you can properly take care of them, and if you have finances left over, instead of having more – why not help out a child that’s already here and in need? I wish all families could be as blessed as you to be able to properly take care of so many children.

  190. I saw this show as well, when i was up feeding our fifth baby. I was shocked not only that someone actually called/wrote in about it, but also that she came up with a ridiculous amount they would need. And if I am correct, Suze doesn’t have any children.

  191. I have not read all the comments below, so I apologize if I’m repeating things. However, I watched that episode as well, and I think you’re missing the point. That couple, living on 2 incomes, was already spending more than they made every month. Even if you assume that adding a second child would add no expenses due to breast-feeding, cloth diapers, etc… they simply cannot afford to cut their monthly income in half. They weren’t making ends meet on both incomes– how would they suddenly pay all their bills if they cut it down to 1?

    The bottom line is that they need to get their finances in order before they can go down to 1 income (and probably before adding a second child).

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      Megan, The point of my post is that it does not have to cost $700-1000 to add a second baby to a family.

      I am not addressing whether the couple is responsible or not, whether they are good parents, whether their debt is excessive, or any other subject.

      I was simply trying to inform anyone interested that a second baby doesn’t have to cost a small fortune.

      • I get that! I hope my comment did not come across as rude.
        I was simply trying to make the point that your post is a little misleading as to what that segment on the show was discussing and what was really going on with that couple’s finances that colored Suze’s advice.

  192. Especially since we were older parents when our first baby was born (so we had a lot of older relatives really eager for a baby to shower attention on, and a lot of friends whose kids had just finished with baby clothes), between presents from relatives and friends and hand-me-downs from EVERYBODY, plus tax writeoffs, we figure our first baby was actually a net asset that first year, possibly even including the cost of the (home) birth. Now we have three, and other than a few pairs of underwear and about 5 pairs of jeans, we still haven’t bought kids clothes for 6 years now! I can’t see how we’re spending $70 a month for anything except maybe the 6-year-old’s food, but few kids eat like he does. It’s partly because of our timing in having kids at a very good time in life for getting everybody else’s leftovers, but the only real expense we’ve had so far is doctor/midwife costs of actually getting them born…everything else has been negligible.

  193. Thank you for your clear concise rebuttal. I know God blesses you through your children, something Miss Suze never thought of. Keep up the good work!

  194. I am so jealous of how you are able to find free items for your children. I requested 7 months in advance for baby items. I didn’t get any responses on my facebook or freecycle. Yard sales in my area are pretty high per item. This year each baby shirt was marked $1+. Diapers, wipes, lotions, and soaps are $50 a week. Our baby takes goats milk. That is $4 a carton. She eats a carton a day. We don’t have cell phones, cable tv, no subscriptions, or pay internet (city wifi). We have the smallest home bearable at 1300sq. ft. for 8ppl. We don’t have car payments. We bought the van we could afford. We don’t eat out or buy gadgets. I have to homeschool our children because clothing them for a school year would be impossible. I took in my brothers/sil four when they passed in a car accident (we have bio 3). Our food bill is $1500 a month, but we have to portion that out carefully. My hub works two jobs. He sleeps four hours on his work days and 12 on his off day. We have to plan for how to pay the monthly bills to survive (doctor bills wait) and buying the children winter shoes, hats, and coats. My family is not around. My mother’s advice was to send the children to state, then afford everything we wanted. I have poured over a dozen frugal blogs, but nothing seems to help. We don’t buy anything you don’t need to survive. I make laundry detergent. When the towels/clothes get old we use them for wipes (bleach washing). I habitually turn the lights off. We turn the thermostat up or down and bundle up/dress down. I am down to two outfits for the week. My hub and I eat dinner together, but the rest of the food must be for the kids. He does not pack a lunch or grab a sandwich on the go. He takes the same 15 year old thermos to work with ice water or coffee depending on the season.
    I check the crafty blogs, but by the time you get materials, costs for diy are sky high. We made a pallet bed for ourselves. We had fuel costs gathering pallets, hardware costs, and paint costs. Supposed free bed ended at about $80. I know repurposing is cheaper than new, but it was a strain. I looked into learning how to sew clothing, but the start up cost put that on the back burner. I couldn’t believe what they wanted per foot. The machines are outrageous for a basic model.
    I am not sure Orman is so off base. I’m not her fan and caught her on a.m. radio only twice. Our musts every month are $3211. That breaks down to $401.37 per person in my house. I use coupons like crazy. I take one shopping trip in the car each month to conserve fuel. I do NOT go ANYWHERE else. I think one might consider costs in different areas of the country. Sorry to post on an old topic! I hope this is taken as another side of the coin, instead of an insult to the letter writer.

  195. I think what Suze Orman means when “babies cost money” is that children, over time, cost money (added food costs, clothes, field trips, piano lessons, etc) and eventually those children will become teenagers who will go to college. I’m not saying that parents must pay for all of their children’ college expenses, but I would like to be able to have enough money by the time my children go off to college to help pay for four years of college at a state college, so they can start out their post-college life debt-free.

    Also, I don’t know where you live, but around here (Boston) average day care costs are about $400 per week per baby. We cannot afford to just live off of one income (again, the Boston area has a high cost of living) so both of us must work. Having more children would mean a significant amount of money would go towards daycare. It would be foolish for us not to consider the added costs of daycare, diapers, clothes, and eventually college for each additional child that we have. I think this is the point that Suze Orman was trying to make.


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