I have to be honest, I haven't found having a kid nearly as expensive as people made it out to be--at least not in this early stage. I'm sure as my son gets older and gets involved in sports and other activities and starts to want trendy things, it'll become more costly. But so far, we've been the recipient of many gracious gifts and welcome hand-me-downs, and with a little bit of research, we've been able to save plenty on the necessities: diapers, wipes, milk, etc. But even though the financial toll of being parents hasn't hit us very hard, there have been quite a few surprising expenses--seemingly little things that we find ourselves having to shell out extra dough for on a monthly, weekly and sometimes even daily basis. Read below to find out which recurring expenses you may not have prepared for:
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Takeout. I'm a huge advocate of cooking at home--I honestly believe it's the single most important thing you can do to stay healthy and avoid consuming toxins. But I've quickly learned that as a parent, you sometimes just have to accept your limitations and be okay with ordering in. It doesn't have to be Mickey D's or Taco Bell, but definitely give yourself a little grace and set aside some funds so that you don't have to cook one or two days a week.
Cookies or O's cereal. You can introduce these to your baby from as early as six months, and believe me, you will be shocked at how quickly you go through a box. Maybe it's the novelty of a new food, or the concept of self-feeding, but babies and toddlers love adult cereal and baby cookies. And soon, you'll come to rely on it as an on-the-go snack. I buy in bulk these days, but if I didn't I'm sure they would be a weekly purchase.
Utilities. I can't speak for anyone else, but in my son's first year, keeping his body at a comfortable temperature was pretty important to me, and the effects on my gas and electric bill have not gone unnoticed. I'm talking a $30 to 40 increase per month! That's no chump change--imagine how much food you could buy with that, or the fact that it would likely fill your gas tank from empty!
Laundry detergent. This one wasn't a huge deal before my son became an uber-mobile toddler. In the first year, I rarely found myself changing his clothes throughout the day, but now that he eats on his own, crawls, runs and plays outside in the dirt, I sometimes need to change him three or four times a day. That's a lot of laundry and a whole lot of extra Tide.
Wine. Just like you'll need to allow yourself a night off from the kitchen every once in awhile, you might also need a little help decompressing--probably more often than you ever imagined. I like to reward myself with a glass of wine once my son is down for the night, but pick your poison: tea, chocolate and ice cream all sound good to me.
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