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6 Unexpected Expenses That Hit You When You Have Kids

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Joanne Poh

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SIt’s safe to say that hardly any Singaporean decides to have kids without being cognisant of the costs. Everyone already knows having children is expensive, and most are already aware of the costs of milk powder, childcare, private tuition and what have you. But there are some costs that take you by surprise, such as the following.

 

Medical care for chronic conditions

Thankfully, most kids born in Singapore have a good chance of getting through childhood with no serious medical problems. But otherwise healthy kids sometimes get afflicted by annoying conditions which require repeat visits to the doctor and medication.

For instance, 20% of children of school-going age suffer from eczema, a number which has been rising over the years. Asthma also tends to be quite prevalent amongst kids with about 1 in 5 being affected as of 2001.

If you’re worried about unexpected medical costs, it’s worthy to look into buying child insurance.

 

Overseas school trips

Gone are the days when the only excursions schools took their kids on were to the zoo and Science Centre. These days, don’t be surprised if your kid comes home from school asking you to fork out $1,000 so he can go on a study trip to Taiwan.

While you can always say no, it’s hard not to feel like your kid will be missing out on a valuable experience if you don’t fork out the cash.

 

Electronic devices

Even if you shake your head in disgust at parents who use iPads to entertain their kids and swear that yours are never going to get their own iDevices until they’re old enough to buy them on their own, don’t speak too soon.

Laptops are becoming more and more indispensable in the lives of students. Some secondary schools now upload kids’ homework and notes online, so not having a laptop becomes a big handicap. And now that payphones have almost died out, you’ll have to get your kid a phone if you want him or her to be contactable.

 

Gifts for other kids

Unless your kid has no friends at school, he is going to be invited to other children’s birthday parties and you, as a parent, will be obliged to sit through hours of Ronald McDonald’s latest birthday party script.

But the most troublesome part of all is that it is you will have to fork out the cash for birthday gifts for all these other kids.

It’s the same story when your kid’s primary school teacher decides to organise a Secret Santa gift exchange at the end of the year, or when your kid wants money to buy a gift for his or her best friend.

 

More expensive family holidays

When you’re travelling with kids, holiday expenses reach a whole new level. And buying air tickets for three, four or five instead of just one or two are just the tip of the iceberg.

Those who used to travel budget style will find that, with kids, you can forget about staying in youth hostels or simply turning up without booking accommodation and hoping for the best. You need to have decent, kid-friendly accommodation that can accommodate the entire family booked in advance.

Young kids also get bored fast if they’re not visiting zoos or theme parks, and these also tend to be quite expensive to visit.

 

Convenience

Becoming a parent basically means you’ll have very little free time for the next 12 years of your life at least. Between ensuring the kids get to school and back in one piece, preparing their meals and making sure they don’t fail the PSLE, saying you’ll have a lot on your plate is an understatement.

That makes it all the more likely that you’ll be willing to fork out extra money to buy time and convenience.

For instance, if you don’t have a car, you’ll often find yourself tempted to just take a cab to run errands rather than waste an hour of precious time taking the bus or MRT. And as much as you wish you could be like Martha Stewart and make delicious meals from scratch, sometimes you’ll find yourself resorting to FoodPanda.

What other unexpected expenses have you faced when raising your kids? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.