Having children really takes your focus away from saving money. You find yourself opening your wallet over and over again, without hesitation at times. The expenses after having two kids adds up, but we absolutely want to provide for their future success in life. The early years especially come with an exorbitant amount of stuff.
I knew having kids would change our priorities. I had no idea how much of an impact they would have on our finances, especially for a planner like me. Make sure you have a good idea how you will handle these large expenses. All of these expenses I miscalculated financial implication especially when the second child was born.
Here are the top five under appreciated expenses after having two kids:
1.) Child Care Expenses After Having Two Kids are an Immediate Burden
The USA is lagging other countries on providing paid parental leave options. For both my children, I had to take vacation time to spend the first week of life with each child. My wife’s employer provided 6 weeks of maternity leave and we added another six weeks under the Family Medical Leave Act at our expense. However that is only 3 months of bonding time. You better figure out your next steps quickly. The US should take notice of other countries with the best leave options.
Whether you put you children in day care, hire a nanny or you stay at home with your children the financial implication is large.
I used to think our mortgage was a massive expense until our second child came along. Between the two boys, our daycare bill was approaching nearly double the mortgage. There are families in our school that have three kids going full-time. I can’t image the financial burden that is. Good thing this is all temporary.
Having a stay at home spouse can save some money here, but the opportunity cost is also high. For us, our decision wasn’t financial one, but TIME with our family became the Turning Point.
Today, we are only sending our kids to day care for a limited time going forward. Primarily this is for learning and socialization (and to give dear old dad a break.) This should cost us less than $700 per month. But still, I could lease a Maserati Ghibli for that price.
2.) College Savings Begins at Birth
This is definitely an optional expense for most parents. I didn’t get a complete free ride (except for my masters degree) but my parents did what they could.
We knew that the cost of college has been increasing between 5 and 7% per year depending on public or private institution. We can decide to force them stay in Georgia and pray that they are eligible for the Hope Scholarship. For those unaware, the state of Georgia takes revenue from the lottery and funds some or all of college tuition as long as you qualify and maintain the requirements. Most of these are academic based. There are many public, private and technical schools that are available for residents. Before moving to Georgia, I never heard of this. What a great benefit to residing in this state.
We decided that we will pay for our kids through their undergraduate degrees and starting planning for this large expense. If they get the HOPE, maybe we will use the funds to pay for graduate school. Either way, this means saving now. We made large initial deposits and have been allocating about $4000 to each child’s 529 plan per year. The GA 529 provides a state income tax deduction up to $4,000 per child as an added benefit.
Financial Samurai wrote a great post a few days ago regarding 529 plans.
3.) Picky Eating
I wish I could buy stock in Materne Industries, the makers of GoGo Squeeze Apple Sauce. We have eaten through at least a pallet of the stuff over the years. If we bring the Kirkland brand home from Costco, it will go uneaten.
I suppose they could have worse food habits. I have seen some real sugar addicted kids. At least this is “natural” sugar.
The other company I wish we could own stock in is Stonyfield. They make organic yogurt smoothies. If either of these items go out of stock in our refrigerator or panty, we here about it incessantly.
4.) Essential Gear
- Strollers – We have six. Yes you heard that right, six. I have no idea how we got so many but each one has a purpose and I think most were gifted to us from friends, thankfully. We have the airport stroller. This one is a fold flat light weight extremely durable stroller. We have the double stroller with the standing platform (I hear this one is awesome for Disney for 4 or 5 year olds to stand,) We have a jogger. We have a light every day use stroller. Then we have two that fit an infant car seat. One is light weight and one full size that has a nice sun shade. Come to think of it, we can finally donate the last two and make room in the garage.
- Car seats – We currently use 4. We also have 2 infant car seats that also need to be donated.
- Pack-n-Plays – These are a must have for the traveling family. We have 2, one for travel and one we have used for diaper changes and for containment.
- High Chair– Just one of these required.
- Crib and Furniture – Don’t go overboard here.
- Cargo Carrier for long trips. Of course you need to cart all this junk(essential gear) around when you go on vacation. The roof rack cargo carrier becomes a must have.
5.) Traveling Becomes a Lot More Expensive
We don’t live near our family. All of our siblings moved to various places across the country. Too make matters worse, the grandparents remain 800 miles away, unwilling to leave the frosty north-east behind and migrate down South
We made that 800 mile drive once with the kids and vowed never to do it again, at least for the next few years. Flying is much more convenient at this point. The challenge is we now have to buy three tickets and soon will be four tickets each time we want to visit the Grandparents or Uncles and Aunts.
The price tag for vacations increases also. I am not even talking about Disney or Disney Cruise. Just your basic beach rental is pricier. We are heading to Hilton Head Island shortly with family. Usually we split accommodations by rooms of a large house with family members. Now that we have kids we have to splurge for an extra room.