Parents: Can I Get Some Help With True Expenses?

My wife and I just had our first child 3 months ago so it's time to start adding some new True Expenses to the budget! Here's what I've got...

-Orthodontics around 9 y/o.

-Car at 16 y/o.

-College at 18-22y/o.

-Wedding at earliest will be in her 20s.

Those are the obvious ones. I'm sure I'm missing tons though. Any other ideas?

Thanks in advance!

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  • Congratulations!

    I don't have a child, but I would imagine that child care/daycare, summer camps, and sports/extracurriculars would be good to consider.

    Like 2
  • Probably want to handle College savings outside of YNAB. Category in YNAB to budget for contributions toward a 529 plan or some other investment. (Just guessing you're in the US based on your phrasing.)

    Medical deductible

    Some parents pay for a Senior Trip

    • dakinemaui That's exactly what we're doing. Just a monthly contribution to a 529 at Vanguard. The category is in YNAB but it's not being tracked. Senior trip is a good idea. I never did that but my wife and I are big on travel. Thanks! 

      Like 1
  • Congratulations!

    Other items to include would be school supplies, school fees (in Canada, even though education is publicly funded, there are still fees at school). Rather than saying orthodontics, perhaps a medical category for any type of medical expenses that may come up (glasses, xrays) 

    Regarding a car - are you willing to pay for it in full? Will the child be required to contribute? If not contribute to the cost of the car, then perhaps fuel, insurance and maintenance? Often it is a great way to get them to understand financial responsibilities.

    I am also including a link to a really great book (that is now a series) for helping to teach children about financial literacy. I found it a very different approach to allowances but it worked well for us to help. I wasn't as diligent back then about implementing but I found it super useful on the allowances alone. It is a Canadian author (CPA) but it will work universally.

    PS Always be careful about assuming when weddings will be....

    • Navy Blue Pegasus that's smart. Glasses will probably be inevitable.

      That's a conversation my wife and I will need to have. Our daughter will definitely need to be financially responsible in some way or another but I'm not sure what that should look like yet.

      Oh yeah, that's why I'm just assuming... the earliest she'd get married (if ever) would be right out of college. Aim for that and then we can always just sit on it. 

      • MadDog
      • Navy_Blue_Pegasus.2
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      Chris Jacobie Glad it will help. And my assumption was to assume earlier rather than later in some cases......or maybe we as parents just shouldn't assume at all. 

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  • First of all, congratulations!!! Secondly, you're way ahead of me when I was at that stage, so another round of congratulations. My biggest piece of advice is to start saving for college now and refuse to take on any loans for education. Parent Plus loans are handed out like candy and as if it's just a fact of life. No! I made this decision and then between myself and my kids we made it work. The were RAs, got jobs on campus, got scholarships, you name it. One graduated from a private college with $5500 debt and the other graduated from a state school with NO debt.

    By the way, my first son was paying off that loan with minimum payments which was like $50 per month and would have taken forever! I made him a deal that once he got it down to $3000, I'd pay it off. Now he's suddenly paying it down like gangbusters! 😄Of course, I'm able to make him a deal like that thanks to my own use of YNAB.

    P.S. Many schools (now I'm talking about grade school and HS) now expect you to chip in for any extracurricular activities like sports and music so you'll eventually want to have some categories for that.

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    • Superbone Thank you!! I hate the idea of her starting out her adult life with student loan debt.

      Nothing like a little motivation to get that debt paid off! 

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  • One general piece of advice is to let your kids learn and figure out some things for themselves (of course you can help them if they get stuck). In other words, don't do everything for them. (of course I'm not talking about babies! but as they get older.) My kids are now incredibly self-sufficient. Can do their own laundry, cook, did their own FAFSAs (college thing) and stuff like that.

    • Superbone 100% I did my own laundry but that was about it. I think a little more responsibility would've done me good. I love the idea of them being able to cook. That was definitely a challenge starting out for me.

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    • Superbone hahaha

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  • You're on it! We have a "BCW" category for each of the kids (Braces, College, Wedding).

    • Owlette I love that!

  • I put some money in the market for their car a long time ago. I will match them dollar for dollar. I put ~3k in initially and it is about 12 now. I also put ~6k in for weddings and that has also grown since. We have 3 kids (2girls, 1 boy)

  • You are definitely on the right track.  We have a four year old.  I have added a small line item for daycare supplies/parties, clothes, gifts (lots of little birthday parties add up).

  • Wow!  I am in awe and wished I had found something like this sooner.  You are doing great!!!  I am just adding some other things to think about.  I'm not necessarily saying you should be saving for all of these.  Just ideas that might lead to you thinking of something else.  I think you have to best things to save for already.

    -Competitive sports; we spend about $4000 per kid per year for travel and things  (This really could be any hobby: music lessons, debate camps, mission trips, etc.)

    -Private school

    -Vacations - This may sound silly, but we love traveling with our family.  And it is expensive!  

    -Retirement for yourself - sounds silly, but my parents have been a huge burden on us.  I don't want to do that to our kids.  I cannot imagine that you don't since you seem so forward thinking in budgeting.

    Can I just say again, WOW!!  Good for you getting this together now.  

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