Everybody talks about how expensive children can be, and it’s true. But just because children can get expensive doesn’t mean that your spending has to get out of control.
As your little ones grow up into not-so-little ones, the amount of money you’re shelling out tends to grow as well. Here are a few areas that you can expect to see an increase in spending as your kids get older.
This may go without saying, but just in case—get ready to spend A LOT more on food! As your offspring leave childhood and head into the teenage years, you can be sure that you’ll be spending more of your income on food. In fact, teenagers need more calories per day than any other age group, simply because of the rate at which they are developing.
To prepare for this increase in appetite, plan to spend more time shopping for healthy, wholesome foods and snacks as an alternative to fast food. Fast food may be quick and accessible calories, but it generally doesn’t provide much nutritional value and too much of it can contribute to obesity and other health issues.
Braces and other dental procedures can often be an unforeseen expense. Dental work can get notoriously expensive, but sometimes having dental insurance can be sort of a catch-22. Dental insurance can cut the cost of braces in half. But at the same time, paying for years of dental coverage when you’re not sure how much you’ll be utilizing it is somewhat of a risk. Ultimately, the choice is up to you.
As kids head into the teenage years, entertainment (and for you, paying for entertainment) becomes a much bigger deal. Teens like to go shopping, hang out with friends, and spend money on eating out and having fun. In fact, teens account for about $250 billion of consumer spending per year.
Keeping up with teen spending can seem overwhelming, but it’s also a good opportunity to teach your kids about money management, work ethic (i.e., getting their first job), and self-control. Try looking at it as a learning opportunity rather than a hole in your wallet.
The teenage years can (and probably will be) some of the most challenging, financially, mentally, and emotionally. But knowing what to prepare for may help you feel more confident with the situation and help you to make better decisions in the future.