Before I had my daughter I always did a major eye roll whenever people talked about the hefty costs of being a parent. But then I became a mummy myself and reality hit. From out-of-the-blue costs that you don’t anticipate to seemingly obvious expenses that somehow manage to blindside you, the unexpected costs of becoming a parent can really throw your finances into disarray if you don’t plan for them. While everyone’s experience is unique, a little foresight can be a great thing for the budget. With this in mind I’ve complied a list of costs that I didn’t see coming before my baby was born. If you have a little one on the way or are planning to board the baby bandwagon anytime soon, it’s time to start saving…
Unexpected costs of becoming a parent #1: Medical insurance for you
“An epidural costs how much?” Not a sentence I ever thought I’d be uttering, but I bellowed it more than once in the run up to my delivery. Fortunately, my medical insurance covered all the costs of pregnancy and labour, but without it I’d have been looking at a total price tag of around 40k… and my pregnancy and labour were straightforward, with no complications. Add in an emergency C-section and the bill rockets higher. Lesson: If you don’t have medical insurance and you’re planning to have a baby, now is the time start researching policies.
Unexpected costs of becoming a parent #2: Medical insurance for baby
First-time parents often find themselves at the doctors more often than expected. My baby was only five days old when she had to undergo a procedure to have her tongue-tie cut. A few days later we panicked over suspected jaundice and a few days after that I (wrongly) convinced myself a green poop explosion was the beginnings of gastroenteritis. In under 10 days we’d racked up a medical bill of over Dhs2,000. My point? The sooner you add your little one onto your existing insurance policy the better. You’ll pay an additional fee, but it will almost certainly be less than the cost of regular doctor’s visits, and most insurance companies will allow a grace period of a month, so you are able to claim back for any costs incurred in the early days after birth.
Unexpected costs of becoming a parent #3: Utility bills
While heating bills aren’t really an issue in this part of the world you can still expect a spike in your household expenses because it’s likely that you’ll be using a lot more water and electricity trying to keep up with an endless round of soiled baby grows, cot sheets, swaddles and blankets.
Unexpected costs of becoming a parent #4: Childcare
We are fortunate in this part of the world that many of us are in a position to hire home help in all its various forms, whether it’s a maid, nanny, babysitter or a combination of all three. The average salary is a topic of much discussion as the ‘minimum wage’ and ‘market rate’ are two very different things, but you can expect to pay between Dhs2,000 and Dhs4,500 a month depending on their situation (live-in or live-out) and your requirements. This however, doesn’t include visas, healthcare or annual flights which can easily reach Dhs15,000 in the first year. Alternatively, you may decide to go down the nursery route, which will set you back around Dhs25,000 a year, though prices fluctuate.
Unexpected costs of becoming a parent #5: Travel costs
If you fly home regularly it’s worth factoring the travel costs of your infant into your budget. While the standard cost of a ticket for a tot under the age of two is only 10-12 percent of an adult fare, some parents opt to buy a seat anyway. This isn’t such an urgent requirement when your baby is tiny, but as they grow and become more mobile you’ll be grateful of the extra space. To read my blog on top tips for flying with a baby, click here.
Unexpected costs of becoming a parent #6: School fees
While school fees aren’t exactly an unexpected cost, it’s easy to be blindsided because when you’re a new parent, school days seem an awfully long way off. However, it’s important to make plans in advance because the average cost of school fees in the UAE range from Dhs22,00, in the Indian school system, to Dhs50,000 in the British system. Ouch!