Everybody knows it’s expensive to raise a child, but most people think of it as being most expensive in the first few years. Diapers, baby food, new clothes every couple of months—all the costs of having a baby can sap away your money pretty quickly. While it’s true you won’t need to buy diapers for your teens, there are plenty of other expenses parents haven’t anticipated. The following are four big expenses which most parents of teens will have to take into account when planning their monthly budget.
1. Extra Food
Those jokes about how teenagers gain a tremendous appetite are closer to the truth than not. As your teens go through short, intense growth spurts, they’ll need more food to fuel their body for all the work it’s doing. You may find you need to increase your food budget so they’re not snacking on items you planned on using for dinner later on. Make sure to focus on buying healthy snacks, too—if they’re hungry all the time, better to fill them with veggies than cookies and soda to avoid crankiness and sugar crashes later in the day.
2. Car Insurance
When your teen starts driving, it means you can get them to run errands for you, but it also means skyrocketing auto insurance. Since teens are inexperienced behind the wheel, a specialist from Steers Insurance Limited says they are considered high-risk drivers and often cost a lot to insure. While you can offset this a little with safe driver programs, you should still expect to shell out some extra cash.
3. Extracurricular Activities
A lot of kids don’t get deeply immersed in their extracurricular activities until they reach high school, and that’s when the costs can get intense. You may need uniforms for sports, instruments and private lessons for music, costumes for drama, or traveling costs for anything that involves competition against other schools. You may be able to get an idea of your expected costs by contacting the coach or instructor at the beginning of the year, and then you can budget accordingly.
Here’s the big one. Hopefully you’ve been contributing to a college fund for your kids throughout their lifetime, but if you haven’t, you should definitely start thinking about that cost now. Set aside some extra money from each paycheck to cover future costs. Even if your child gets a good scholarship for sports or academics, they’ll still need money for things like clothes and a car.
As long as you’ve planned for these in your budget, you won’t have to worry too much about going broke with a teenager in the house. As a plus, older teens can get a part-time job and learn how to manage their money by covering some of their extra expenses themselves.