Maybe a lot of it comes from just not quite knowing what it will be like to be a mom — as in a real, live mom, as opposed to those ones wearing carefully curated outfits with matching diaper bags seen while scrolling through that feed every day.
Or for some (such as this li’l writer and mama), perhaps it’s that those around us delayed the whole baby-having thing a bit longer, so parenthood is a brave new world, an uncharted territory.
It’s therefore difficult to picture just what will be needed, what won’t be so easy to save on as predicted, and how much it can all add up.
Yes, from basing #lifegoals around onscreen dreams (rather than #realtalk)… to entering the workforce right as some serious market stuff was going down… to nearing 30 and hearing that cliché biological clock tick, millennials really might be in quite a unique position when it comes to facing the financial aspects of motherhood.
But hey, at least there’s always creativity, Pinterest inspo, and sheer determination to fall back on…
Seriously, though, being prepared and knowing what might lie ahead can only help, so check out these 20 expenses most millennial moms might not even think about.
20 Shopping Onscreen
I clearly remember telling myself how easy it would be to shop much less for clothes and stuff once I had a baby. All I would care about was them, right? And what did it matter what a tiny baby was wearing, as long as it fit and was clean and comfortable?
An experienced mom warned that online shopping would still be just as tempting as ever — maybe more so.
First of all, baby stuff is cute, cute, cute! Second of all, I found that quality, comfortable, easy-to-use stuff can tend to be pricier. Third of all: KickeePants. (See KickeePants.com, if you dare…) Adorable, soft, and sooo expensive.
19 Loads Of Laundry
I remember clearly searching for something to put our 3-month-old in that was not wet with drool. Now, note that I did NOT say something that was “clean” because I knew that even though we had just done laundry, no such item currently existed in our house.
The number of clothing changes needed for newborns and young babies came as kind of a surprise. If it’s not a diaper blowout or just needing a different outfit for leaving the house or going to bed, it’s spit-up, drool, or breastmilk on ALL the things.
We still use shared laundry with quarters… but even if the machines are in your home, the water and electricity bills can add up.
18 Oh My, The Relief…
Especially while pregnant and a brand-new mom, I was ALL about only using medicines as absolutely necessary.
And for things like teething or a baby cold, over-the-counter pain relievers (infant Tylenol) were absolutely necessary, and quite often.
Once we started needing it, it was just a constant on our shopping list. We can’t ever be caught without it around.
After shelling out quite a bit for it time after time at the store, I finally caught on to buying it in bulk at a warehouse store and then only recently to the fact that children’s liquid Tylenol appears to be the exact same substance as the (twice-as-expensive) infant variety. It just comes with a cup instead of a syringe-dropper. (Ask the doc for all things medicine.)
17 OK, Copay…
Okay, great, you’ve got medical insurance! For the every day and the just-in-case, it’s a must.
But starting with pregnancy and going on into mom life, I’ve talked to multiple parents who were caught by surprise as to how quickly those copays can add up.
Even if routine/preventative care visits are completely covered, visits for other treatment and any needed appointments with specialists, for example, can involve some pretty no-nonsense charges for copays. I haven’t encountered one that was less than $40 or more in years.
Researching ahead of time and taking advantage as you can help. A quick Googling produced many results on the topic, including an article called “7 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Health Insurance” at Parents.com.
16 Hospital Costs
I knew what my out-of-pocket maximum was with my health insurance at the time that I was pregnant with my first. That, my parental friends, I had recently learned was the most I could be asked to pay myself.
Why, then, was the hospital bill after I had my baby more than that?? I was not pleased.
After plenty of phone calls and research (while caring for a newborn…), I uncovered that newborns are added to their mother’s insurance for the first few days no matter which plan they’ll be on long-term, and that this had caused my out-of-pocket maximum, with another person technically on the plan at the moment, to DOUBLE.
Even with great insurance and uncomplicated deliveries, hospital bills can end up being in the thousands.
15 Fun With Food
Giving premade baby food may seem nice and simple, and convenient as can be, once the time comes to offer “solids” at something like 4 to 6 months. Offering things that are organic and fresh and locally grown? Awesome ideas! Providing plenty of healthy food in general? So necessary.
And it’s all expensive.
It’s true that kids don’t eat as much as adults at first. It’s also true that babies and young kids must be offered plenty of healthy foods, some of which they will not actually eat and will end up in the trash.
See MayoClinic.org and your own fam’s doc for info and tips on healthy eating, even on a budget.
14 Clothes Upon Clothes
Having already touched on how (to me, surprisingly!) tempting online shopping ended up being once I became a mom, let me now just get practical with it.
Some of those clothes you’re gifted or that you buy will never get used. Very young babies grow at such an astounding rate that you have to be quick to use items if you want them to be used at all. Seriously!
You need sort of a lot of it (because you have to change it out many times throughout each day), but then you also can’t use any of it for very long because it will very quickly and very obviously be too short or too snug.
13 Those Petite Parties
I think that it is, again the social media influence that has moms seemingly wanting to one-up each other when it comes to even the very early birthday parties.
When I was growing up, a birthday party before you were school-aged meant a cake at the dinner table with immediate family and grandparents. Period.
Now, there are themes. There are presents, guest lists, favors, venues, and picture props.
Even at the baby/toddler age, it seems like it’s some sort of competition to have the most Pinterest-worthy party, and even if you keep it small and basic, you still have to provide food and bevs and so on for all the guests… and likely rent out a venue or reserve a spot for it…
12 Craving Conveniences
After a decade of adulting and a handful of years of momming, I’ve seen a clear trend in my own life and in the lives of those around me: It’s harder to save money and not splurge on conveniences when you’re tired and have more work/commitments.
Yep, when you’re a new parent, and tired, you tend to want/need to splurge on more convenience items and services, whether that means going out to eat, buying more premade stuff, or hiring others for cleaning/other basic stuff…
As a work-from-home mom of two tiny tots, believe me, I know it’s possible to hang tough and do it all on your own — but it isn’t always easy to resist the temptation of convenience.
11 Gotta Get That Gear
I couldn’t survive without my stroller. Okay, strollers (plural). Then there was the infant car seat, and of course the convertible ones for the toddler times and onward, times two.
Although our first would soon be ready for a toddler bed ($$) when our second was born, she still needed to stay in her crib ($$$) at the time, and we needed our newborn nearby in a bassinet ($$$$) for the early months, anyway.
It all adds up QUICKLY, with strollers, cribs, bassinets, other furniture, and more costing (at least) hundreds of dollars per item. Don’t forget the mattresses, pads, sheets, liners, and spares!
10 Larger Cars
As long as there’s a place the car seat will fit, you’re good to go, right?
Um, in my experience, not so much.
First, we had a coupe. Imagine the “fun” of getting that infant carrier in and out of the back with the passenger’s seat folded forward…
The sedan lasted for quite a while, even with two, and all the diaper changing and breastfeeding on the go.
Before long, though, it just became too annoying to try to cram in the stroller, the diaper bag, the toys, the snacks… There wasn’t any room left for it to function as a regular, grocery-gettin’ car!
I never knew how real the need to upsize would become, swearing I’d make that fuel-conserving two-door work somehow…
9 All The Pay To Daycare
I have rearranged my entire life around NOT having to pay for full-time daycare for my babies.
I thought to myself, wait, so… I’m supposed to spend the early precious years away from my little ones so I can work, so I can give pretty much all of that money to someone else to watch after them? Um, no thanks.
I spent years pondering this one: how in the world could any young couple make the whole childcare situation work?
It is a HUGE expense (look into potential income tax deductions, though…) of parenthood, and one that is surely cost-prohibitive for many hopeful moms and dads.
8 The Cutest Of Classes
Whether you’ve structured your schedule around being with your little love during the week or want to cram in plenty of fun on those precious Saturdays and Sundays, it can be very tempting to let your baby explore as you bond with other mommas at various classes and activities.
From music to movement, swim, and more, there are seriously classes out there for even very young babies (and caregivers). They are trendy, and they charge tuition.
I get around this expense by going to the local libraries — a LOT. They offer story times and classes and activities for kids of all ages, even brand-new babies.
And I save on toddler ballet, for example, by enrolling through Parks & Rec instead of a private studio.
7 Daring To Get Dental
I am very by-the-book when it comes to preventative healthcare. I don’t understand how you could do it any other way.
And still, it took a few years for the hubs and I to decide to shell out for dental insurance for our tiny toddler.
The pediatrician said the second birthday signaled the time that the first dental checkup should be scheduled, but even though the insurance premiums weren’t incredibly high, it was just one more thing on the list of stuff we had to pay for. (And, quite honestly, we couldn’t picture our little one putting up with sitting in that chair for a dental exam and cleaning…)
6 More Diapers Than She Dared Imagine
Twelve a day; That’s a common estimate for how many diapers a newborn will need. Twelve.
The need for diapers continues until a child is completely potty-trained, too, with preschoolers sometimes still wearing training pants (Pull-Ups) at night. And those were even more expensive, last time I checked.
Sure, there’s the cloth diapering route, but that has expenses, too, whether you use a service or spend the time and energy and water usage to do it yourself.
There’s a reason people sometimes make those giant diaper “cakes” for baby showers. You are going to need a LOT.
Some subscribe through Amazon or another service to try to save some skrill, or buy in bulk.
5 Those Tempting Toys, Though…
Again, I knew I’d be having a baby on a budget — a tight one. I told myself I wouldn’t but anything that I didn’t absolutely need to. I’d open my door to ALL the hand-me-down toys, or go to the thrift store if absolutely needed. But then, you think...
She really would enjoy strengthening those little legs in a Jumperoo… or I bet I could get way more work done/sleep in/fill in the blank if we just splurged a couple hundo on a mamaRoo swing…
From jumpers to rockers to learning pads and beyond, the temptation is REAL to provide this, that, and everything, brand-new and in the gender-appropriate color, for your own little love.
4 When All The Moms Have A Membership
Our good buddies knew we liked the zoo and gifted us a family membership for our baby shower. We have now, of course, felt the absolute NEED to renew this every single year.
From museums to amusement parks to gyms for babies, play places, and beyond, there are areas where moms congregate.
They provide a spot to get out of the home and burn some of that energy. In some cases, you’ll find that if you don’t have a membership, you’ll miss out on a meet-up or playdate, or end up shelling out even more over time by buying a single ticket or one-time admission.
Funnily, it really can feel like you don’t want to miss out, like, all the other moms are doing it!
3 The Coolest Of Carriers
This one got this mom-on-a-budget big-time.
The first carrier that I bought I ordered almost as a joke, as a gift for Daddy-to-be when I was first pregnant: the OG Babybjörn.
But then once I actually had babies and saw how crucial baby-wearing was to my life, I wanted to try out this one and that one, too, to see which was most comfortable. And then, of course, I needed a backpack for hiking with them once they got bigger…
And the Ergo came out with that really cute one I saw everyone wearing…
They are all quite expensive, and I’ve found them all VERY practical, as well.
2 Running Through Replacement Parts
I’ve had some jeans and shoes around for well over a decade. I’ve got books and pens and movies and more miscellany that are still in perfect or barely-used condition after all these years.
But kids and babies, unlike adults, REALLY USE the things that they use. It’s quite beautiful actually, to see things so thoroughly used for their intended purpose, so completely enjoyed…
But from silicone sippy cup spouts to socks, toy batteries, and beyond, SO many items and parts and pieces will need to be replaced, starting with bottles and pump parts and ending, well, never.
Babies and toddlers and kids use things, break things, and wear things out.
1 Hold Up: Where Are Those Hand-Me-Downs?
We were far from the first of this generation of our families to have babies. And though our fams aren’t right nearby, they aren’t very far either.
“Score!” we said to ourselves as we prepared to have children. We’d just get EVERYTHING handed down!
I guess I just want to say… I wouldn’t assume this will be the case.
Sometimes people end up needing clothes, gear, and toys for a second child. Sometimes the stuff you do receive is just too worn or old to work or to wear.
Or maybe they just don’t have the time or energy to sort through and give you the appropriate stuff out of storage at the right time — because they have kids.
We ended up buying almost everything.