No matter how much you plan for kids, unexpected child expenses will pop up. For my wife and me, things got real when we learned she was pregnant. We suddenly felt responsible for the third member of our family. We started contemplating how our lives would change and quickly realized our budget was going to need some adjusting.
Here are a few child expenses we have run into that we didn’t consider before our son arrived:
1. Buying a Bigger Home
When my wife and I bought our last home, we thought we’d live in it for at least 10 years. The only things we imagined changing that plan involved getting a new job or having two or more children. Unfortunately, we were wrong.
Before my wife got pregnant, I had left my job to work for myself at home. One of us working from home was never in the plans. I needed an office, so we converted one of the three bedrooms.
We never realized working from home would change our requirements for a house. We realized we no longer had a room for our son and a room for guests, which was important for us, since my wife’s family lived 13 hours away.
My wife and I ended up selling our old home and building a bigger one. The bigger home came with a much larger mortgage payment, which we hadn’t factored into our financial calculation.
2. Needing a Larger Car
Buying a bigger car was something we never considered as an expense that came with an additional child. I had a Honda sedan and my wife had a hatchback.
We figured our cars would easily meet our needs after our son’s birth. Then we tried putting a car seat in.
To fit the car seat in either car, we had to move up the front passenger seat, which was left with little legroom. It was a small inconvenience we were willing to live with.
The real problem came when we packed our car for our first trip to visit my in-laws. We weren’t even taking our dog with us. That’s when we realized a bigger car would make vacations and trips to visit family a lot more comfortable.
3. Vacations Cost More
Before my wife got pregnant, we went on cruises once or twice a year. We knew how much to budget for the two of us and always made sure we set aside enough money. Once my wife was 20 weeks pregnant, we could no longer go on cruises.
We knew we wanted to go on a cruise after our son turned 6 months old. But we hadn’t considered that cruises charge per person. Before having a child, keep in mind that vacations will cost more, whether it’s for another plane ticket or more food.
4. Dental Expenses Add Up Fast
My wife and I were hit by other surprise expenses after having a child, and we’re not alone. “Dental care is a huge expense I never really thought about before we had kids,” said Holly Johnson, the founder of Club Thrifty. My wife and I hadn’t thought of this either. Turns out there are many dental expenses to plan for.
“You have to pay for not only cleanings twice per year, but also cavity fillings and sealants,” Johnson said. In addition, she mentioned that her kids might eventually need braces, too.
The Bottom Line on Child Expenses
Regardless of how hard you try, you’ll never think of every expense that comes with having children. To help make unexpected costs a little less painful, consider increasing your emergency fund and liquid savings before you start trying to have kids. We increased our emergency fund, and we’re very glad we did.