The Cost of Being a Kid

The Cost of Being a Kid

It was 1987, I was 9 years old, and after a trip to see the +St. Louis Cardinals beat on the +Los Angeles Dodgers I was hooked on baseball. I did whatever it took to make a few bucks; I mowed yards, did chores, put out hits on neighborhood kids (maybe not "hits" but definitely made fun of) all so I could spend that hard earned cash on baseball cards. Back then the deck to collect was Topps and it was a cool .50 for a pack including a piece of gum. I would mow the yard for $5 a month, fold laundry, dust, vacuum, and keep my room up for $2 a week, and if I went to my grandmother's house I'd get $5 to spend on whatever I wanted to keep me busy. For those "not so quick at math" that's roughly $13 a month. Of course, some chores would get skipped, yards wouldn't get mowed so.... now we're talking around $8-10 a month. At any rate, I spent that money on candy and baseball cards. Not a huge deal at 9 years old. The holy grail of collectibles at that time was the Topps 1987 card #170... Bo Jackson.

Believe it or not, I spent an entire summer buying pack after pack trying to get that card and not until Christmas, when my parents bought me an entire box, did I finally get one. Think about it for a minute, in 1987 I was spending .50 per pack looking for one card!

I was in +Target the other day and looked over at the loot in the checkout aisle; you know, the stuff they put next to the gum that makes your kids drive you nuts with the "I wants"... For giggles I pulled out a pack of Topps baseball cards and quickly dropped them. $2!!! Who the heck?! What just happened? It was a fun .50 hobby! $2!!! I purchased my remaining necessities and pondered exactly how much does a childhood cost? Not only did I collect baseball cards but my brother and I found comic books (which aren't .75 anymore), comic book cards, posters, etc. Even with a "comparable" allowance my kids could never afford hobbies!

According to's handy little inflation calculator the same .50 pack of cards should only cost $1.01 today. So what's the deal?! A quick look at +Marvel Entertainment showed that the .75 comic I bought in 1987 now costs $3.99. Using the inflation calculator it should only be $1.51. So how much DOES a childhood cost?

I was an only child, as was my wife, so before we got married we discussed how many children we wanted. Side note... being an only child definitely presents a false sense of adequacy (we were totally not ready for 4 kids) but we're happy with our decision. Anywhoo... Let's just say that we have one kid that wants to collect baseball cards, another that wants to buy Lalaloopsy books, another likes stickers, and the last likes to draw on the walls... We'll keep it cheap and reasonable (I don't want to give anyone any false pretenses). Remember also, that this doesn't include the "necessary" extra-curricular activities which include memberships and associated costs. I, literally, need to sell a vital organ per month to keep up with it!

I'll ask again, how much DOES a childhood cost? Of course our children are all involved in activities and they truly do not have any "wants" but I don't have enough grass in my yard for anyone to cut to earn enough money to buy more than one pack of baseball cards per month! Let him push the mower around the neighborhood? Sure, that sounds safe (if you've followed my posts before then you know this is sarcasm). I'm not worried about him chopping a toe off, I'm worried about something happening to him, period! And the girls? Well, I should have the cleanest, most spot-free home in the world if they were to polish door knobs and sweep floors however, there's not enough surface area in our home to keep clean to warrant earning more than $5 per month, per child!

This isn't a "child-hood bashing" contest, it just occurred to me, that's all. For all of us parents out there that had happy childhoods, pass it on! I've got to rush-off and make another organ donation, my son just found model rockets...

#chores #childhood #mowinggrass #BoJackson #SummerJobs


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