Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s & Complaining

I have observed that I live in a society obsessed with having the newest and presumably the best.  Many people live trying to keep up with their neighbours and some even try to live like the Kardashian Family (I should point out, I have never once watched this show as we do not have cable tv), when they simply cannot afford to.  In fact, I read recently that in 2014 the average Canadian had $28,853 of consumer debt + a mortgage (source), so I suspect most of people are living well beyond their means.

So, here’s the thing about Mr. MPB and I.  We work hard for our money and we appreciate that it is not limitless.  We have always made sound financial decisions like buying a home that we could afford on only one income and unless we have the cash we simply don’t buy something no matter what it is.  For example, let’s look at our household stuff: I like to think my house is beautifully decorated, but we also wait for the right pieces at the right price.  Our favourite price is free, which includes many hand-me-down pieces of furniture that we received when we moved out on our own, or pieces of furniture that were given to us when people moved and were getting rid of things.  We also like to buy second hand when we can – in fact my favourite spot to write is in a chair we recently bought for $70 used on kijiji, and my beautiful Crate and Barrel wine shelf was also bought second hand for a fraction of the retail price.  And, we’ve even refinished a hutch that I bought at an antique sale for a great deal.  We thought it was a little too country for our style when I first bought it, but now that we’ve refinished it, it’s one of our favourite pieces.

This isn’t to say we don’t splurge, every now and again we do buy retail, but we wait for the right sale (i.e. our bed – I am not willing to buy a bed used!).  And by keeping our physical wants in check and spending wisely, we have also been able to spend money on travel adventures in the last few years – Thailand, Cambodia, Peru, Scandinavia, New York, Whistler, Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge Amphitheater.

While I just realized I am starting to write a piece on home decoration and travel, that’s not my point.  The point is that we are conservative with our money, we always saw it as our responsibility to be able to save money and provide for our future children.  We see this as responsible, yet others have accused us of being cheap.  In fact, Mr. MPB’s mom once told us she is sad that are so financially conservative just like her husband.  Who knew this would be seen as a bad thing?

But of course, today we are reaping the benefits of our cheapness.  Today, our cheapness has meant that in the last 2 years we could make hard decisions that were based on our families needs, not our income needs.  When we made the decision that I would stop working we did so without too much concern because we had been financially responsible.  Heck, this is largely why we are able to go out of country to adopt, which we feel is a much better process for us.

So, here’s the thing. While we are able to meet our needs right now, I’m frustrated.  I’m frustrated because we cannot do everything we want to do.  We are determined to live within our means and not go into debt, that’s not changing.  But, as Mr. MPB has recently told me, I want my cake and I want to eat it too.

Having children is expensive, and it is particularly expensive when you cannot do it the “normal” way.  We’ve already spent money to fly across the continent to see a recurrent pregnancy loss specialist in New York City and now we are pursing USA International Adoption which will probably cost us about $40,000-$50,000 USD.  It is our dream to be parents, and now we will do so through international adoption.  So, while this is our decision to make, and our choice, we will also live with the consequences.

For us, the consequences now means that our plans to do a month long road trip this summer to Alaska and Northern Canada are cancelled.  It’s a trip we really wanted to do before kids, because not many little kids would enjoy spending a month in a car seat. I’m sad and frustrated that we are now changing our lifestyle just to be able to afford to have children.  This is my complaint, and maybe the point of today’s post.  This is bullshit!  The cost of having children the non-traditional way just sucks!  While we live in Canada with a “free” public health care system and yet we have still shelled out cash to see the right medical specialists out of country as they were not available to us here.  And, while we are absolutely fortunate to be able to afford international adoption (and part of me feels bad for complaining about it), we are also cursed enough that in order to do it we have to compromise our lives in ways that normal fertile people don’t even need to consider.

I’m frustrated because no longer is our cheap lifestyle affording us the ability to have savings for when we do want something we saw as a little more extravagant.  While I do not want to keep up with the Kardashian’s, I am finding that my want list is getting bigger by the day and I hate feeling this way.  I’m not about to break our rule of living beyond our means, but man, I am starting to miss our old lifestyle.

Sure, we could have chosen not to seek specialized medical treatment and we could choose not to adopt, neither of these were valid options in our minds.  Heck, we could have chosen for me to continue to work full-time in a high stress industry against the advice of mental health professionals. Yes, there are ways to have the old lifestyle back, but none of them sound very appealing.

We want children, we want to grow our family, and so we will live with the consequences.  But honestly, at times, the cost of this is very overwhelming.  Really, it just sucks!

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44 Comments on “Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s & Complaining

  1. I hear this 100% and it sucks!!!! Like you, we’ve had to pay £££££££s to see a private recurrent miscarriage specialist and will need to keep paying for treatment (if it works!!), I’m now only working part time, as the appointments and the general stress of all of this made it hard for me to work full time, and we have to plan for me not working at all in the future, in case I need to do that in order to carry a baby! Arrrrggh!!!

    If only we could have just got drunk and fallen pregnant eh!? What a pain. Im so sorry you have to cancel your trip – things like that are what allow us to still feel ‘normal’ in all of this and have something good to look forward to. I really hope you can find something else to fill that trip xx

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    • I hate that you understand my complaining so well! And thank you for understanding my disappointment about giving up things we are used to, even if they might seem like unnecessary things. You are right, it’s more about not being able to do normal things.
      Wouldn’t is be wonderful to be one of those I “accidentally” got pregnant one night after drinking too much? Heck, I’ve even tried the ever successful get drunk and pregnant strategy and that was one of the few months we didn’t get pregnant! 🙂
      P.S. I am working on vacation plan B – I just have to get Mr. MPB on board with the idea.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good for you on vacation plan B – I know that it might seem like a luxury, but I really think that with the stress of all of this its one thing which really helps you and Mr MPB feel better. Cant wait to hear where you decide to go! xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Glad you’re working on a vacation plan B. I know that it might seem like a luxury, but with the stress of all of this I really think it’s important for both of you to have a break. Can’t wait to hear where you’re going to go! Xx

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      • Well, before we can actually go, I have to get Mr. MPB to agree! Between the two of us, he’s the more financially responsible one. Here’s to hoping I’m able to get him to jump on board. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, I agree, it is frustrating. We don’t live extravagantly either, but we do have credit card debt. We’ve been working our butts off to pay it off, but just in the last year alone we’ve had to spend 13K on dental work for me, none of which was optional (only 2k of that was reimbursed by our crappy dental insurance). So now just like that we have 13k back on our credit card. We tried to live within our means, but my health kicked us in the ass. And then when I think about trying to afford adoption on top of that? It gives me heart palpitations. We do have some stock we could sell, but that’s like our last safety net, so it makes me nervous to even think about selling it. Anyway, I’m sorry I just went on a rant about my own situation. I guess I’m just trying to say that I hear you loud and clear!

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    • I am sorry you understand this all too well! I hate that infertility, adoption and dental care are all so expensive! And it’s so frustrating because clearly you guys (and us) are trying to do things responsibly and are working so hard to save for our futures and afford or families today!
      P.S. I love your rant on your own situation! Feel free to rant anytime! 🙂

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  3. I totally agree that it sucks to have to pay so much for something that many don’t even think about. Like you, I live in a country where there is a health care system in place that made treatments affordable, but they still cost! I think you have a right to feel a bit resentful, upset and disgruntled. It’s life! No one ever said it would be fair, but…
    You can always save the Alaskan road trip for when your kid(s) is a bit older and will enjoy it too.

    I think there is nothing wrong with thrifty!! It’s not like you don’t spend any money at all, nor buy cheap stuff, you just watch what you spend. I like that…and strive to be even better at it!

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    • I adore you perspective of saving the road trip for a family vacation – you sound just like Mr. MPB who keeps telling me Alaska is not going anywhere so we can go another year. 🙂

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  4. Oh my friend i feel your pain! My husband and I were very similar to you whereby we had savings in our home loan account for a rainy day, and this kept our expenses to a level whereby we could get by on one salary… Especially as my salary is never stable…. Well, all those savings are now gone and so has a level of peace of mind that we used to have when it comes to money… Some days I am so deeply grateful we had the money to spend and other days I am so deeply resentful that we have had to spend itxx

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    • Yes, to everything you said here! I particularly appreciate and relate to your last sentence – “Some days I am so deeply grateful we had the money to spend and other days I am so deeply resentful that we have had to spend it”

      Like

  5. Sing it, sister. We complain about this a lot too. Because we don’t have sperm on hand, we have to jump through many financial and logistical hoops to attempt to have kids. The idea of having sex and making a baby sounds like some fairytale dream!

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    • Wouldn’t it be great if it were just as simple as having sex like all those fertile people out there?! I’m glad I’m not alone in my complaining about the costs of everything, thanks for understanding!

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  6. My family: “That’s ok, you guys can just adopt.
    Me and PC: “Oh yeah, thanks…Hey, can we borrow $30,000-$50,000????

    All too familiar. PC and I have treated our finances similar to you and Your hubs. We aren’t as disciplined at it yet. I wish you all the luck in the world sweets!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, that’s my favourite thing about adoption – no-one realized just how expensive it is and seem to assume that it’s as easy and affordable as adopting a puppy or even buying groceries!
      Thanks for your encouragement – wishing you PC the best too! Oh, and being as financially responsible as us is not always a good thing. 🙂
      T

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m sorry you have to give up your trip this summer, that really sucks. And I’m sorry it has to be so expensive for you (and so many others) to have your family. And its fine to complain about it! Everyone is entitled to complain at some point, you shouldn’t feel bad about it.
    On a side note, B and I are going to see Dave Matthews in May, and we’re really excited!

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    • Thanks so much for understanding and accepting my very selfish complaining about not being able to go on a vacation (I feel very whiny that I complained about that).
      Have you seen Dave Matthews before? They are amazing live! I think you guys will have an amazing time!

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      • Nope I haven’t. I’m excited to go! And you’re not being selfish to complain about that at all! It’s something amazing you’ve been planning on doing for a while, to have that taken away for any reason is upsetting. Complain away, girl!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Yup! We’re so much like you two. We haven’t had to borrow any money for the $40,000 we have spent on TTC in the last 3 years. However, if we weren’t TTC-ing, we would’ve moved out of our starter home into our likely forever home, we’d be escaping to sun destinations every Xmas and March break, and I wouldn’t be still driving a 1995 Volvo gifted to me by my grandpa. I feel you so much in this post, and it’s not about being ungrateful for what you have, but it’s about how to balance what you are able to afford with what you need to be happy. We were talking the other day about how expensive kids are, and I’m honestly worried about it. We have no consumer debt and make decent salaries, and wonder, how does everyone else do it? PS- I LOVE DMB! I saw them once at the Gorge and once in Toronto after one of the band members passed away.

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    • You and DW seem so similar to Mr. MPB and I! We often wonder how people we know are affording their lifestyles! Then we hear that stats on Canadian consumer debt and we figure that’s clearly how some people are doing it.
      The Gorge is pretty amazing, eh? I love that venue! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • We know a lot of people with consumer debt, people who live paycheck to paycheck, and people who have a mortgage that they can barely afford. Add some unexpected expense or splurge to that, and boom! More consumer debt.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. It frustrates me like crazy to see people live beyond their means. Living in Vancouver, a lot of people here are flashy, and wants to know that they can “afford it”.

    It sucks that we have to spend so much before even having a child. I was talking with my cousin the other day, and her friend joined some “motivational group”, we think it’s a cult, that costs $500 for Level 1 “training”, then $4000 for a weekend training, then another $5000 for a week-long training. It’s great that she has that money to spend now, but it’s just not “smart” spending.

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    • Oh, the Vancouver lifestyle! Clearly there are a lot of people in Vancouver living beyond their means, in fact the cost of Vancouver is a very large part of why we don’t live there!
      I have a friend who is also in a similar “motivational group” cult! Wouldn’t it be nice to have that kind of money to spend on training! Arg.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Our stories and chosen paths are different but as I face a debt of almost $100K amassed over the past 2.5 years of trying to have another child – most of which has involved paying for care, treatments and options we can’t get “back home”, I hear you loud and clear about the unfairness of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss and immune issues that lead each of us to the “non-traditional” paths we have chosen to parent the kids we long to love.

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  11. I am so with you on this topic. We have left behind so many wants to pursue additional rounds of Ivf. When it was all done, none of them were able to give us the sibling for our daughter we prayed for. While I do not regret our choice to try, it is difficult to look back and see all the things we couldnt do because we were paying for ivf. Just another reason why it sucks to be infertile! Hugs to you!

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    • You make a good point about spending money and it not working out – in fact, that’s one of the big reasons we chose IVF rather then trying surrogacy/gestational carrier. First adoption is cheaper and it’s also more of a guarantee so at the end of the day we are more likely to actually end up with a child(ren).
      I’m sorry it hasn’t worked out for you.

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  12. I hear you sister! It is so not fair the amount of money we have to shell out to start our families. Especially when most people can do it for free. We have had to use credit cards to pay for IVF and DH and I are both at the point where we don’t worry about the balance anymore because it does no good to stress over it. And, we believe that it will all be worth it in the end. But, it’s still not fair when you have to forgo certain wants and even needs in life because you have to use that money to have a baby.

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    • I am so glad you can understand! I feel very whiny about this post so its nice to know I’m not alone in being frustrated by how much this costs! LIke you, I firmly believe it will all be worth it in the end, but it’s stressful and annoying right now!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This is such a great post. I feel like my husband and I fall victim to the “but I work really hard and I really WANT that…” mentality. I think its really hard to find a fine line between living smart and knowing when its appropriate to splurge a little. And it is so hard to face spending so much money to become a parent (whether thru adoption or ART). We are debating doing IVF this year or next to get in a better financial place before out another 20k. Its so hard to face spending all that money without complaining. I feel you girl. So unfair.

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    • Thanks so much for understanding – I am feeling pretty guilty about how whiny this post is, but you are right sometimes it’s hard to look at all the money we are spending and not complain.
      Who knew our family planning strategy would come down to when we can save enough money? It’s so darn frustrating!

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  14. Oh dear! Wow – like I said before, you and I are most definitely on the same page lately. Last week, the cost of treatment was BIG on my mind. My SIL was complaining about how expensive Disneyland was and how going on vacation was hard while she was on maternity leave. All thought was: there’s no way we could afford Disneyland within the next few years! All of our savings has gone into fertility treatments plus we have a bit of debt accumulated from it. Our goal until baby arrives is to pay that down as much as possible + save for maternity leave. I make significantly more money than my husband. I may not even take a full year off because of that. Anyway, my point is: the cost of having a child the non-traditional way is SUPER expensive and people don’t seem to “get” it. It’s frustrating. Super frustrating.

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  15. First of all, your picture of the Kardashians really threw me off, so funny and unlike you! I believe in living within your means and not having consumer debt. It’s really hard when people all around you are having children without having to spend money, mostly people who are less responsible and motivated than you. However. your dedication and careful spending will pay off in five or ten years when you’re building savings, living in a beautiful home and not going underwater!

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    • Haha! Yes, I am clearly not a Kardashain follower, I love that you know me that well!
      You make such a great point that most of us who are trying so darn hard to have families, and are spending all the money we have (and sometimes don’t have) to build our families are the ones who are super responsible and prepared for kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. It’s frustrating isn’t it? I have no idea how most people afford what they can afford. We are really reaching the bottom of our money now, with me having been out of work for two years. This IVF round will have to be the last thing we do, because we simply can’t afford anything else. It’s rubbish. Meanwhile other members of our family are buying new cars, kitchens and swanning off on expensive holidays. Sigh. BUT, our time will come. Being sensible with money pays off in the long run xxx

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    • It is so frustrating! Thank you for sharing your experience and just how much the cost of all of this is effecting your life as well. To hear that I am not alone always makes me feel a little bit better.
      I so hope you are right, being sensible with money will pay off in the long run! Even if it means I’m throwing a bit of a temper-tantrum right now.

      Like

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