The year 2014 has been full of blessings, the greatest of which is our first child – a healthy and beautiful baby boy!
We’ve been sleep deprived since the arrival of our little bundle of joy. This blog has further fallen several notches down the priority list as we undertook new responsibilities as parents. I’m only able to write this post now because we’re with family for the holidays and finally have (free) babysitters to ease the load.
We’ve read about how costly raising children can be but the expenses still took us by surprise. Because we were having the baby in Japan and the hospital did not accept foreign insurance, we had to pay out of pocket and wait for our American insurance provider to reimburse us. The total charges for the delivery and hospital stay was over USD 17,000! Fortunately, we did eventually get back a reasonable chunk of this amount, though it took more than two months and several international phone calls to our insurance provider after they mistakenly (ha!) skipped processing the receipts with the largest amounts.
In preparation for the baby’s arrival, we had bought several expensive baby items like the crib, car seat, stroller, and breast pumps. After going home with the baby, we’ve had a constant stream of Amazon packages delivered to our house. It was just easier to order online rather than taking a bicycle ride to different local shops to find the items we needed; some of the items were also cheaper on Amazon. A bulk of our online purchases have been consumables like formula, diapers, and wet wipes. Others were necessary one-time purchases, like bottles and burp cloths. Some items we ordered out of desperation to keep the baby calm and sleeping, like baby slings and bouncy seats. So far, we’ve averaged about USD 600 per month on our online purchases. I expect we will eventually be spending less once we have all necessary infant accoutrements.
While pregnant, I had envisioned documenting all the expenses for our baby like blogger J. Money did on budgetsarsesexy.com. What sounds great in theory does not really work that well in reality. Most of our waking and sleeping hours revolve around the baby now so it’s no surprise that we haven’t had time to pay close attention to our finances. I am using our holiday with family as a time to quickly catch up on bills, bank balances, retirement accounts and investment portfolio while someone else is minding the baby. Our budget has definitely been in disarray since baby expenses entered the equation but we are fortunately still within the safe margin of cash outflow. We haven’t figured out yet what the new “normal” is for our monthly expenses with a baby.
The baby will always be the first priority but we do still need to work on squeezing in a few minutes every week or so to ensure our finances are on track, particularly during this time of reduced income due to my maternity leave. Our finances are not yet in a state where we can leave it on auto-drive; doing so at this point will likely result in a crash! Now that we have a precious child, it becomes even more imperative that we secure our financial future.