Now Reading
What’s your child’s standard of living like?

What’s your child’s standard of living like?

Do they have cable TV, high-speed internet access, a cell phone, an iPod + regular access to iTunes, along with nice clothes to wear, a fridge full of food & soft drinks, & pocket money? Plus regular meals out, trips to the movies, and vacations? Maybe a pool to swim in too if you live in a warmer climate?

None of the things I mentioned are all that unusual. They’re actually pretty typical, and I’m aware of kids with all of the above, plus more. Between his two houses, my own son has every single one of those things too, and that’s what worries me a little.

You see, I remember when I moved out of my parents’ house. Suddenly I had to buy my own food & soft drinks, which I could barely afford. Weekly trips to the movies & dinners out became completely out of the question, unless my mom invited me. The same went for vacations. It was a tiny bit of a shock to me back then, and I didn’t have all of that technology to miss out on either. (OK, so we had cable TV, but I never watched it anyway. And I could still go swim in the pool.)

I really wonder now what we’re setting our kids up for. What’s cable TV cost? $60 a month? Internet access adds another $40, plus $35 or so for a cell phone. iTunes cards will probably go on the back burner. Clothes could still be gifts. Food? Maybe a couple of hundred for that each month. That’s $335 per month at a bare minimum, before they get to actual necessities like shelter, and they still won’t be close to their previous standard of living.

See Also

I know it’s natural to want to give your child things that they would enjoy. And it’s kinda silly if you’ve got high-speed internet already not to share. But there has to be a way to help kids understand that this stuff isn’t normal. That it takes time to earn enough to be able to afford all that while living within (or ideally below!) your means. The only trouble is, it IS normal for them, because it’s what they grew up with. I’ll have to think on this more. What do you think?

View Comments (5)
  • My kids’ standard of living is probably too high. We have 100+ channels and they get to watch about 2 hours a day. We have DVR and my 3 year old daughter gets very frustrated when stuck watching commercials. We have medium-speed internet and she gets 15-30 minutes a day on educational sites.

    We always have fully stocked kitchen and go on 2 vacations a year. They have many more toys than they need (relatives fault, they are the youngest of the generation).

    We do go cheap on the cloths and don’t eat out much. But, we have a house that is above a typical starter home and I am going to get my dream home on about 5 years. It will definitely be considered “High middle class”.

  • This is something that worries Darling and me quite a bit, and we don’t even have kids yet! Actually, I think it might be reversed: we’ll be raising our children with what will be considered a very low standard of living. I’m worried that our lack of cell phones, televisions (DVR?), and i-pods (what are i-tunes?) will have us raising technological Neanderthals.

  • Hard choices!

    I just moved, and as I’m yet again turning on the cable, cell phones, etc., I’m stunned at how insidiously these computing and communication services have camped “on top of” the true necessities in an ordinary budget. I dumped the regular landline phone service and minimized the cable selection, at least, but I have no young children to tell me how uncool I am.

    I most definitely DO NOT envy young parents today. If you try to withhold these things from your children, the kids will quickly discover the 100 channels and picture phones their friends have.

    When did we cross over from thousands of years of human struggle against scarcity to today’s problems of glut? Across the board, it really is all much now–too big, too pricey. Consider the huge SUVs, sprawling houses, and thousands of excess calories Americans now regard as “normal” commuting, housing, and eating.

    No wonder there’s now such a thing as voluntary simplicity and a cottage industry helping people deal with “clutter”.

  • When you mention many of these items, you have to keep in mind that not only are they common now, but many people need them for their jobs. Here is a breaddown of what my family had:
    — Internet — beginning with dial up, later to high speed. Through it, I got involved with online journalism and then, later on, actual journalism work, along with Web design and other layout design.
    — satellite cable — unnecessary, I say.
    — cell phones for all family members, beginning when I was about 15 or 16. How necessary this is is arguable. Because so many people have cell phones, they took out pay phones, and some businesses refuse to let you use their phones. One of my friends was in an accident in the middle of no where, and because her cell phone worked, she was able to get help. (It was a rollover accident.)
    — iPod. This is a one-time purchase, so I don’t see the long-term issues money-wise. If anything, it saves money because you charge it through the cpu or wall rather than constantly purchasing new batteries. I didn’t get one until last year, in my junior year of college.

    Anyway, the point is that now I live on my own, but because I’m a journalist, I have to have high-speed Internet constantly and also a cell phone (I don’t use a home phone) so I am accessible anywhere. Cable I do without. Fancy clothes I do without, and I was raised buying thrift. I think kids who have more luxurious tastes (all designer clothing, frequent clothing shoppers, only highest brand food, etc.) are the ones who will see serious issues.

  • College may further complicate the problem. My college offers free cable and high speed internet (actually, REALLY high speed, one of the fastest in the US) in every dorm room and all of the on-campus apartments. And everyone had iPods and cell phones – I felt a little cheap when I got my iPod shuffle because it wasn’t one the flashier ones. And anyone without a cell phone is considered “that weird person that’s difficult to get a hold of” and is often left out of social activities just because we have trouble tracking them down.

    In other words, kids can leave the nest, and then it only gets worse. And then after college we have to pay for all these things ourselves? Eek!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2020 BLUNTMONEY. All Rights Reserved | Disclaimer

Scroll To Top