My wife and I recently welcomed our first child, a little boy named Carter John. We’re both overjoyed at becoming first time parents, and we both agree that there’s nothing quite like welcoming a new life into the world. The overwhelming joy and happiness that comes along with being a parent can’t compare to anything I’ve ever known.
While becoming a parent has been a wonderful journey for us, it hasn’t been without its surprises. As any parent can tell you having a child isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. It does have its costs, some of which I hadn’t really anticipated.
Surprises When Budgeting For Baby
My wife and I are probably above average when it comes to financial preparedness and budgeting for baby. We had anticipated a lot when budgeting for baby, which I wrote about in my post “What Expenses Should I Expect When Having A Child?“. In the post I talked about a lot of the expenses new parents can expect including baby furniture, diapers, baby clothing, formula, medical costs and the cost of child care.
While I think the post nailed a lot of the expenses to expect with a new baby, I didn’t anticipate just how much they would be.
For example, I underestimated just how much diapers, wipes and other associated diaper products would cost us. Since day one our son has had quite the robust gastro-intestinal tract, filling his diapers in excess of 10-12 times per day some days. While I expected to be changing a lot of diapers – I didn’t expect to be changing quite as many as I have. In fact, we’ve already gone through a couple of packs of diapers, 2 packs of wipes and an entire tube of baby butt salve. In the end I think we’ll be spending a lot more on diaper care than we first realized.
Eating Out Costs
Another place that we knew we would be spending some money after the baby was born was in our eating out budget. As with diaper costs, however, we grossly underestimated just how much we would be spending. We didn’t realize how tired we would be, and how unmotivated we would be to start cooking right away. Because of that we’ve spent quite a bit on eating out. Thankfully we’ve been saved to a degree by friends and family who have pitched in to bring us several meals.
Lost Opportunity Costs
One cost I hadn’t anticipated was the lost opportunity cost because of the restrictions on your time. I don’t think I appreciated before just how much time it takes to care for an infant. Caring for a baby is a full time job, with constant feedings and diaper changes, and reduced sleep on top of that. It is extremely hard work!
Because you have less free time, it also means less time to devote to sideline income generating pursuits. For me that means less time for blogging, less time for graphic design and less time for researching new money making ventures.
The Financial Costs Are Worth It
So those are a few of the places where I was surprised by the financial impact of having a child. While the increased expenditure (and reduced income potential) haven’t been overwhelming, it has been enough to be noteworthy. If you’re thinking of having a child – be ready. You too will most likely have some unexpected costs that you’ll need to factor into your budget. As long as you’re flexible and are able to adapt, you’ll come out ahead in the end.
What are some other costs associated with having a baby that you were surprised by? Tell us in the comments!