Having a child is an amazing, life-altering experience. There’s truly nothing better than falling in love with your little bundle of joy.
But I’ll be honest: Those bundles sometimes cost a pretty penny.
In fact, you might be surprised by just how much your budget changes after they arrive. Sure, new parents know that they’ll need to buy diapers and find child care, but there are some other considerations you need to think about when it comes to your finances post-baby.
Below are some examples:
Activity and Child Care Expenses
For many new parents, child care will be one of the largest categories in their budget. I personally pay $1,600/month for child care for my twins, which is more than my mortgage payment.
Most new parents know they will have to budget for child care if both of them plan to continue working. This is a significant expense. In fact, according to Care.com’s 2016 Cost of Child Care Survey, more than half of American families spend upward of 10% of their household income on child care, and a fifth of households spend more than 25% of their income on child care.
Luckily, there are several options when it comes to child care. For example, dual-income families can search for a day care, whether it’s an in-home day care or a facility. They can also research the cost of hiring a nanny or au pair. If they live near family, they can discuss having a grandparent watch their children.
Even if one parent plans to stay at home with their child, keep in mind that you might want to pay for activity fees. For example, you might want to sign them up for a music class, get a gym membership so you can get a small break or enroll them in a mother’s day out program.
These classes typically come with a cost, so be sure to budget in a small amount each month for activities that will encourage you to get out of the house.
Trips to the Doctor’s Office
Kids tend to get sick, and if you’re like most parents, you’ll be getting to know your pediatrician quite well. When one of my twins is sick, my copay is typically $20. However, a friend of mine has to pay $100 every time she takes her daughter to the doctor because that’s how her health insurance works.
It would be hard to give an exact number for how much you should budget each month for your children’s health needs. However, I encourage you to carefully consider adding a separate category to your budget for it.
Also, if you know there’s a type of medicine you’ll regularly use, like children’s Tylenol, keep your eyes peeled for sales. I stock up anytime a drugstore runs a buy-one-get-one-free sale or a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale. Even if my kids aren’t sick right now, I know they’ll need it eventually.
The joys of living in the here and now include grocery delivery services, drive-through Starbucks, and more. As new parents, you’ll find that you spend more on convenience.
Whereas before you might have returned an item you bought for a refund when you didn’t like it, now that item will live in your basement for eternity. In your previous life, you might have driven a little further to get cheaper gas. Now, with a screaming child in the backseat, all you’ll want to do is turn around and go home.
Kids really change things, and their moods can shift in an instant. Even great babies can only handle so much time in the car or going in and out of stores.
So, give yourself a break if you want to spend a little bit more on something to make your life easier. Head through the drive-through on a rough night when you don’t want to cook. Hire someone to help you clean your house just for one afternoon if it’s gotten too out of hand. Buy the oatmeal that comes in the pack instead of the old-fashioned kind. It’s the little things that make the day doable sometimes. One of these days, you can go back to being more conscious of what you’re spending.
Disclaimer: I’m not advising that you let go completely and run wild with your costs. However, I am encouraging you to add some room in your budget for convenience, because parents of small children absolutely need it.
Ultimately, your new baby’s costs can vary greatly. There are certainly parents who live very frugal and fulfilled lifestyles without all the bells and whistles. Also, there are some parents who spend lavishly on their kids.
Wherever you are on that spectrum is fine; just be sure to factor all your expenses in every month. That way, you keep your spending in check and ensure you don’t live beyond your means after adding a new baby (or two!) to the family.
What types of things are you concerned about budgeting for after having a baby? Let us know in the comments below!
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