Being a father is a wonderful experience, but with it comes a lot of new worries.
Take our finances, for example. With Betty no longer working, and after putting money away for Anne's college fund, we have a lot less disposable income than we're used to. Sure, we can cut back on stuff that we don't need, but how does a family go about determining what to cut out and what to keep?
To find the answer to that question, I decided to do a cost-benefit analysis.
Betty suggested a few things that we could "do without." I then took the amount of money that we would save by canceling or abstaining from those items and compared that with the amount of misery and suffering that we would endure by not having those items. For instance, if we got rid of our Internet connection then I couldn't write the blog, and that would make me sad, so that got shot down. And since our Internet service is bundled with our TV and phone, those have to stay as well. Since we're keeping our TV then there's no point in getting rid of TiVo.
We determined what items we want to keep. So what can we cut back on?
The answer: Diapers.
My cost-benefit analysis shows that diapers cost an average of $12 for a pack of 44, at least for the size that Anne currently wears. If Anne goes through a minimum of 8 per day, then that $12 bought me 5.5 days of coverage. So a full year's worth of poopy protection at this rate totals $796.36 plus tax. As Anne grows and the dollar weakens, the cost-per-diaper is only going to go up. Add to that the cost of going to the store to pick up diapers and you can see my dilemma.
Instead of buying diapers, which are expensive and are not biodegradable, we have two options.
The first option is that we can invest in several cans of Resolve Carpet Cleaner, which retail for $6.49 per 22 oz. If we use 2 oz per day, that's 11 days that we can use a single can of Resolve, which totals $215.35 for a year's supply of Resolve. That's a saving of $581.01! To put that in perspective, that's the same cost as 12 new Wii games!
But that's only assuming that we can get Anne to use the bathroom on the same spot of the carpet so that we'd only have to spray a generous amount of Resolve on a single spot once each day. It's possible, but....
Our second option is that we can invest in a steam cleaner and just clean the carpets every night. A decent steam cleaner only costs $99 at Target. That's a total savings of $697.36 for only the first year, then we'd save the full $796.36 (plus inflation) thereafter.
Hopefully you've learned that performing a cost-benefit analysis of your own expenses can be helpful, as long as you're willing to accept and embrace new ideas, such as letting your child poop wherever he or she sees fit. If my plan works out as well as I think it will, we can even say goodbye to my own slacks and blue jeans!