The best time to save is between car seats and cars

Of course, the earlier you start saving the better. However, I believe that some periods of life are better suited for saving than are others. The ideal time is not based on your age, but the age of your children (if you don’t have children, you are probably better rested than I am and this blog post probably won’t mean much to you).

A 2007 report by the US Department of Agriculture claims that the amount of money it takes to raise a child from birth to age 17 doesn’t fluctuate much per year. They estimate that families earning between $45,800 and $77,100 annually will spend $11,000 to $12,000 per year until age 17 for a total of $204,060. I am sure this type of information plays an important role in determining child support and foster care payments. However, as a practical family budgeter, I don’t buy it.

As all parents know, babies are expensive. Medical bills, childcare costs, time off work and baby supplies all add up. This is especially true if one spouse decides to leave their job to care for the children. Older children are also costly. Cars, college, and weddings are some of the larger ticket items you can look forward to. And this is assuming they don’t move back in with you!

Fortunately, I have discovered that there is a period of time between where the childcare costs end and the college tuition begins. This is your big chance! According to the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, parents of school-age children pay up to $8,600 a year for part-time care. When this ends or at least diminishes, start saving the amount you were paying in childcare into a savings account to prepare for retirement or the gobs of tuition that is looming on the horizon.

Don’t let this time pass you by or you’ll find yourself playing catch-up in your golden years.

We are so exicted to one of the sponsors for the upcoming Mom 2.0 Summit in Houston. In honor of the event, this week's Blogging For Change posts will be by moms and for moms (& dads too)!


Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

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