YOU'LL never quite understand how financially demanding children are, until you have your own bundle of joy and experience it for yourself. Indeed, no matter the advice that you may get from friends and family, it's the personal experience that will bring home the fact of just how much children cost, and that they're a lifetime commitment and investment that can put you in the poorhouse.
While the men below say they wouldn't change being dads for the world, they admit that their bundles of joy caused them to make huge financial adjustments – some which they weren't quite prepared for.
Lennox, 28, father of a one-year-old:
We bought a lot of things overseas before the birth and planned to buy what we needed in Jamaica in wholesales locally, and we felt prepared. But nothing could prepare us for the actual reality. Diapers are extremely expensive, so is formula, and other baby food – and this is basic stuff. I thought we would use a box of diapers for like three months, but one box of more than 100 diapers is lasting two weeks. And these boxes are almost $7,000! I've had to be taking on extra projects at work just to manage this expense, and we're not even talking about daycare and clothing and formula yet. We wanted to start a college fund, but that won't be possible until he is potty trained.
Kenneth, 35, father of a toddler and six-year-old:
Before having children I scoffed at the thought of going downtown – in fact, even after our first child the farthest I'd go was Cross Roads. But you know when reality thump you in the face and lick you to the ground? Last time we went to the paediatrician the bill was $33,000 and I decided there and then that things had to change. We switched to getting shots at the government clinic in our area, and every Saturday morning I'm at Coronation Market bawling down prices and buying fruits and vegetables. Then it's on to the Huggies store to buy diapers and formula. Parenthood will make you drop the airs fast, fast.
Luke, 33, father of a two year old:
The biggest financial adjustment I had to make? Selling my BMW and buying a Honda Stream. It just wasn't worth spending so much money on servicing costs, plus there were too many baby accidents on my plush seats. The Stream works well – I feel like a soccer mom sometimes, but ah so it go.
Emilio, 40, father of five-year-old twins:
I had to start budgeting for them, instead of myself. I sacrificed and bought an extra property – an investment property – so the rental could go towards their future. It's an upward financial adjustment, but without them being in the picture it's not something I would have considered taking on.
Patrick, 45, father of a 10-year-old:
I don't earn a lot, but I had to sacrifice to start a college fund after hearing horror stories about the Student's Loan Bureau. I started late – when she was seven – so my deductions are larger than many people's. It was a huge sacrifice, because it meant spending less money on practically everything, and denying myself a social life, but I don't want my child to struggle.
Vivian, 50, father of three teenagers:
They're all at different stages of high school, the last one will enter high school in September. I'd say the earlier years were cheaper, and when you think you've finally found your footing and are coming out of debt, another expense hits you. For example, I had to pay for CSEC [Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate] for my ninth grader, and I wasn't prepared for that, then my grade six daughter wants to go to a school with high auxiliary fees, so I have to budget for that, and all of them want to do fancy sports like lacrosse and water polo! Every minute I have to be sourcing funds, because I want the best for them, but I've had to sacrifice so much for myself it's not funny.