Kids cost of living is way up too

Published 6:18 pm Saturday, August 25, 2018

By Yolande Robbins

Like yours probably and decades ago, my weekly allowance for drying the dishes and emptying the waste baskets at home was a quarter. It took me to the movies, with a nickel or dime enhancement perhaps, or two comic books and an ice-cream. But my friends in the neighborhood today tell me their admission to anything similar is in multiple dollars as in $3 for the pool (and basketball games), and $7 at the skating rink.

Frankly, I don’t know how they manage.

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We’re all accustomed to the rising prices in grocery stores especially, and the shrinking dollars and higher costs of clothing growing children – in style.

But we seldom stop to consider that just being a kid is costly too and steadily going up. With prices like those I cited above, and just for getting in, (candy, chips, and drinks not included), it’s clear most kids can’t afford to work for under $10 a job. So that’s what I try to give them when they come to help me out.

Imagine my surprise, though, when eight of them showed up at once, all seeking the cost of an evening out before the school year began. I can let $10 out of my budget from time-to-time, but 80 was out of the question. Still, my heart broke for each one of them. $7 to skate and $3 to eat didn’t seem all that much.

Or unreasonable!

Thing was though they wanted to work.

I know that a quarter to our parents was dear, but still they gave it to us. It was their recognition, I think, of children’s particular needs. And they wanted us to learn that we had to work for whatever it was that we wanted. So they did without – or worked harder – to give us a little extra. Today, though, I don’t think that’s possible. Ten dollars out of a food budget for the week is often simply impossible.

Though some friends and I often talk about it, we haven’t done anything yet to cultivate watermelon patches in the city’s community gardens. That would be a way, we think, for children to make money in summer. Teach them to plant, cultivate, and harvest, and then sell them and keep the money. Ten watermelons in an hour at $5 a head would net each kid $50.

That’s one way, but there are others.

But the one thing the rest of us must realize is that the past isn’t possible anymore. The actual economy is so unlike anything we’ve ever known that parents can’t afford allowances anymore, and their kids can’t afford being kids. Recreational services are all profit-based for some part of a macro-economy, school, city, or somebody’s salary. One young friend earned some of my money so he could pay for his chin-strap. Admission was free since he played.

So, if we’re not careful, we soon will have priced childhood out of existence.

And most of them know too much as it is about grown-up problems already.

Yolande Robbins is a community correspondent for The Vicksburg Post. You may email her at