If you have kids, you’ll probably budget for their activities, clothes, shoes, daycare, and other regular expenses. But it’s easy to miss those annual and random items that inevitably pop up, so build a miscellaneous expense for the kids into the family budget to cover those costs. Here’s our list of 10 surprising kid expenses that sabotage your budget:
1. School fees aka student fees. Once a year your child’s school will be asking for extra money to pay for certain things, such as towels for PE class, supplies for art class, transportation fee for school buses, and other costs. The fee can be surprisingly high especially since it’s easily forgotten in the budget, so call your school to get an estimate and be prepared. In cases of low income or financial hardship, school fees may be covered by the school or a special fund, so be sure to ask about that if it pertains to you.
2. Yearbook. Your child will want a copy of the annual yearbook, with pictures and school memories inside, but the price can be a blow to your monthly budget with prices generally in the $60 range. If you have more than one child in the same school think about buying just one for them to share and have all their friends sign it.
3. School supplies. Sometimes we forget about all of the school supplies we have to buy for the beginning of the new school year, and often we forget about replacement supplies needed throughout and half way through the school year, like January. Stock up during the sales so you’ll have a supply at home to keep you from paying high prices.
4. School photos. You know you’ll want your child’s annual school photo, and possibly extra prints to give out to family and friends, but did you remember to budget for it? Packages often begin at $20-30 and go up. If you love the photo and plan to purchase a lot of prints, compare the cost to buying the digital copy on disc instead and then ordering prints (including wallet sheets) from your favourite photo print shop, which could save some money.
5. Sports equipment or uniform. Many parents enter the enrollment fees for our kids’ activities into the budget, while forgetting to account for the equipment and apparel required. Kids are growing constantly, so soccer cleats, swimsuits, hockey pads and the rest are unlikely to fit for an entire sports season let alone more than one season.
6. Hot lunches. You diligently pack your child’s lunch each day, paid for out of the grocery budget, and then a notice comes home about hot lunch day, where you need to pay $5 for your child to have a hot dog and chips, lest he or she is left out while all the other kids enjoy a hot dog. $5 doesn’t seem like too much of a budget buster, but hot lunches can happen as often as once per month, which is $50 per child per school year. That’s worth accounting for in the family budget.
7. Field trips. Optional field trips can be an expensive add-on to your child’s education. But rather than denying your kid the fun and educational experience, or stressing about the cost, build a fixed amount into your budget that your child can use for field trips. If all the trips exceed the budgeted amount you can decide which ones to pick and which to pass.
8. Fundraising. Your child will be enlisted to fund raise for all kinds of things, from expensive field trips or tournaments to new uniforms — and many times a portion of the money will come from your pocket. Your kid needs to raise a certain amount of money, or sell a certain amount of chocolate bars etc. and you might need to purchase some to help them out. Or you will spend the day driving around town for a bottle drive, costing you a tank of gas. You probably won’t be able to predict what you spend each year as it will vary, but just remember it’s there and increase your miscellaneous budget for it.
9. Friend gifts. Your child will be invited to countless birthday parties for classmates and teammates, so you need to set some money aside for gifts your child gives. You could set yourself a limit per gift, such as $15, or an annual limit of $100 for example. Get creative with lower cost gifts and take advantage of sales. Don’t forget to include Valentines or other cards and holiday gifts your child hands out each year.
10. Costumes. If you participate in Halloween festivities, you’ll be spending money on Halloween costumes every year. And don’t forget performance costumes if your child is in drama/theatre, dance, choir/band or other activity requiring a separate and often expensive costume for performances.
Here’s an average breakdown of these budget-busting miscellaneous kid costs (annual):
- School fees – $30
- Yearbook – $60
- School Supplies – $30
- School Photos – $30
- Sports Equipment – $100
- Hot Lunches – $50
- Field Trips – $50
- Fundraising – $50
- Friend Gifts – $100
- Costumes – $100
- Total – $600!!!
$600 in surprising kid expenses will certainly sabotage your budget if you forget to include them. So bookmark or pin or post this page, grab your monthly budget (or download our free monthly budget) and revamp your budget so you’re prepared for all of the kid expenses this year.
Did we forget any surprising kid expenses? Let us know in the comments below!