Our baby girl turned one month old last week, and I finally had a chance to sit down and look at how our budget has changed since then. There were several changes I expected, but I also noticed a few changes that I didn’t necessarily expect. For example, you expect there to be a high cost of delivering a baby. But you might not consider how your utility bill might be affected by having a baby.
Unexpected Ways Having a Baby Changed Our Budget
Utilities. My wife is now a stay at home mom, so there is someone at home almost 24 hours a day. Before we had our child, we were both out of the house during the traditional 8-5 work day – which meant we could use our programmable thermostat to control the temperature and save money. Now that someone is home all day, we need to leave the thermostat at a more comfortable setting during the day time. The weather has been nice so far this summer, but I know we will notice a big change over the course of the year (and years to come). The extra 9 – 10 hours per day that we will need to run the AC or heater will likely add about 30-40% on our annual bill.
Groceries. My wife and I still prepare the vast majority of our meals at home, but we have had a few grocery expenses pop up that we didn’t have before. My wife has always been a big fan of organics, but it seems like the habit has shifted into overdrive since our baby arrived (our baby is primarily breast fed, though we supplement with formula on occasion). Vitamins, formula, and convenience foods such as pre-sliced vegetables and other items have added to the bill.
Medical. This is our first child, so we had to increase our insurance to the family plan. The additional $100 every two weeks was expected, but it is difficult to plan for each pediatrician visit, medication, and other miscellaneous medical expenses that pop up.
Convenience. Time has become one of the most valuable commodities in our household (slightly behind sleep). Because time has become so valuable to us, I’ve found myself more inclined to make purchases based on convenience. For example, buying items based on proximity in lieu of driving to the next store, buying convenience items, not putting as much research into smaller purchases, etc.
Miscellaneous baby expenses. My wife and I left a lot of things off our baby registry so we could determine which items we actually needed instead of rushing out and buying everything. That turned out to be a good decision as we live in a relatively small house and don’t have a lot of room for extras. But that also means we have had to go out and buy quite a few items. Some of these are planned, such as diapers and wipes, but others are unplanned.
I wouldn’t change any of it
The purpose of this article isn’t to complain, but to share this information with other parents who are expecting their first child. My best advice is to plan for a lot of unexpected expenses the first couple months. I’m sure quite a few expenses will pop up!
Do you know of other items I missed, or should expect in the near future?