An Open Letter to Suze Orman

I think this post has gone viral in the last 24 hours. It’s just plain common sense, but I can’t even count how many times people have asked us how on earth we can afford to have “so many” children. If every child cost us $700-1000 a month, then, yes, we might be in trouble with ten kids. But it’s nowhere near that amount, as this excellent piece demonstrates!

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?

Read the full piece HERE.

2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Suze Orman

  1. Sorry, Mrs. Connie. You’ve clearly over-reacted.

    A couple of commenters pointed out the USDA average figure that I would guess that Ms. Orman is going by since she is a financial advisor. Even then, Ms. Orman is still estimating lower that the USDA figures.

    Mrs. Connie points out that baby items do not have to cost that much and I agree.

    Except, when figures come out talking about raising a child, there are many factors that are being considered; health insurance costs, transportation, food, multiple housing expenses, clothing etc. She estimated that it could cost less than $70 a month to bring another child into the family, except she doesn’t really explain how she came to this cost or how she estimates the costs of child rearing; or even how it may compare to figures calculated by the USDA or other organizations. Not to mention, the costs beyond just the first year of childhood.

    The couple in Ms. Orman’s video were working two jobs and still over a thousand dollars in debt each month. We also learn that the couple do not necessarily live a luxurious lifestyle. I think Ms. Orman gave the couple excellent advice; which was for the wife to continue working and for the couple to try to find even more ways to cut back and build up their savings. Then she advised the couple to continue discussing it and to rethink the subject when the couple had achieved some more financial security.

    I think Ms. Orman might have done a better job explaining where *exactly* she got her figures from (but they don’t seem too far off if we compare to what some top organizations and researchers have estimated). However, I think Mrs. Connie and her commenters (and myself!) can only comment so much on this particular couple’s situation since no one but Ms. Orman has looked at their budget and finances.

    P.S.- I think it would be an interesting experiment for Mrs. Connie to spend an entire year calculating the costs of how much she spent on her children according to the factors listed in the USDA estimate and how much she spent according to what she considers to be the cost of raising children.


    1. LVH, if you want to comment directly to Connie, you need to post over on her blog, as she is unlikely to find this here.

      USDA figures are ridiculously high, as those of us with 4, 6, 8, 10+ children can attest. Using options like Samaritan’s health-sharing option saves our family thousands of dollars a year over traditional health insurance. Eating fresh-cooked foods instead of boxed convenience foods is another budget-slasher. Not having to pay for day care for our children is a no-brainer and saves us a ton. Buying “thrifty” clothing and shoes cuts the family clothing budget to 10% of what it would be if we bought “brand” new clothing every year — not to mention the fact that all the older children hand down clothes to younger ones, which saves money again. Teaching children to save up for special things they’d like to own is not only a money-saver but encourages children to be producers instead of consumers. Our kids get so excited as they see their coins add up with odd jobs they do for neighbors and friends (dog walking and yard work are just two options here).

      We just had our tenth this year, and the total added cost to our budget each month has been zero. How is this possible? Because friends here in Kenya threw us a welcome party for the new baby, and they all brought diapers and wipes. Two months later, we still haven’t run out! The car seat was loaned to us by friends who were headed back to the States for a few months and didn’t need theirs for a while. When they get back, we will move this baby into her older sister’s car seat, while older sister moves into big brother’s booster. Clothes? Gifts from family, friends, and hand-me-downs from big sis. Incidentals like baby oil? More gifts from friends. People with children tend to love to help others with children. 😉 We do this for our friends, too. It’s great to welcome new life with gifts of meals, clothing, and other tangibles for baby. As this little girl gets older, she will inherit clothes from her older sisters (which we keep carefully and repair — not because we can’t afford new clothes but because this is a wise, thrifty way to save money and spend it on more important things).

      Feeding a big family obviously costs more than feeding a small one–but even that doesn’t come close to $700 more per person. The entire family can eat for that amount. Add in school books for those of us who home educate, and it comes to about $500 a year–tops. That’s for all eight children who are learning right now–not per child.

      I’m sure Connie would be happy to take you up on your challenge, as would any number of stay-at-home moms with lots of children. It’s just a myth that it costs thousands and thousands of dollars to have lots of children…particularly if you stay out of debt, live simply, and enjoy the things in life that are free! 🙂


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