No, really! It’s pretty common knowledge that kids are expensive – and if you want to be financially independent you need to live well below your means and save much and early. So kids and FIRE don’t seem to go together, but I have found some ways in which my kids are actually helping me get to my FI goals sooner.
First, I’m super motivated to stick to my goals because I’m totally exhausted by taking care of three kids!! Truth! I don’t want to continue working full-time while caretaking for them and my other family and friends who need me, so that’s a definite motivation! Also, the things my kids love are the absolute cheapest things in the world to do for fun– at least at the ages where they are now : my seven-year-old lives and breathes soccer so as long as there is a ball and a patch of grass he is happy; my ten-year-old loves to cook so we eat a lot at home, and my 13-year-old is a nature lover and is constantly trying to get me to do more hiking and camping. I’m up for all of these activities, although camping is not my idea of a good time. I agree with Erma Bombeck who famously wrote that her idea of roughing it is when ‘you have to have an extension cord for your electric blanket’.
One simple trip we take two or three times a year is a ride on our local commuter train – kids under 10 ride free, the ride downtown takes 20 minutes (just long enough to be interesting, not long enough for them to get antsy), and we always get a ‘treat’ when we arrive (more motivation for good behavior!). We have taken the train to the airport, to the county fairgrounds, to the downtown waterfront (and free summertime splashing fountains), and to a couple of local parks for hikes. It’s a wonderful adventure for them, and a cheap alternative to staying home-bound for me! It’s just one example and I would love to hear from you as to how kids are helping you get to FI.