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Unexpected Baby Expense #2

baby on street car

baby on the street car

This post is long overdue because I wrote the first unexpected baby expense post about 4 months ago. Baby RB40 is almost 6 months old now. Time really flies when there is a baby around. We really noticed the speed of time over the last few months because the baby changes so quickly. Before, without a baby around, everything stayed the same from month to month and before we knew it, a few years were gone.

baby carrier

We didn’t expect to buy a baby carrier because we already purchased a 2nd hand stroller. It turned out that we didn’t like the stroller because it’s so big and the wheel sticks. It’s much more convenient to carry the baby everywhere. We live in the city so we walk to many places and the baby carrier is great for that. It’s also quite a workout now that he’s about 16 lbs and we need all the exercise we can get.

play mat

I didn’t even know what an activity mat was until one of my friends suggested it. The little guy needed constant supervision and he hated to be by himself. He didn’t even like his swing at all. This mat is pretty good though. He can hang out here for a few minutes and play with his animal friends.

plethora of bottles and nipples

We got some hand me down Mam bottles and these worked quite well for the most part. The construction is a bit complex with multiple parts, so we have to deal with a leakage issue from time to time. We tried Nuk and Avent bottles and he didn’t like them as much. What a picky kid. I also didn’t know we had to keep buying new nipples and larger bottles as he gets older.


Daycare wasn’t a surprise, but it still hurt to write that first $1,000+ check. Ouch…. Fortunately, I signed up for the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP.) This program allows you to take pre-tax deductions for dependent care expenses from your paycheck up to $5,000/year. Any tax deduction helps so I’m taking advantage of this program.

baby vaccine

He was conked out after the vaccination at 2 months. I can’t believe how long those needles were! Notice the Bugs Bunny band aids.

hospital bills…

Luckily, insurance paid for all the vaccines. The vaccination shots cost around $700 each time. He got vaccinated at 2 months and 4 months so that’s about $1,500 already. He’ll have his 6 months shots soon so it’s not cheap. The little guy also caught a bug from his day care. He got a fever and he actually got both of us sick. This past 2 weeks had been even more tiring than usual because he wakes up many times in the middle of the night with breathing difficulties. Nothing is worse than being unable to help the little guy feel better. Anyway, if you are going to have a baby, you’d better make sure you have insurance to cover his hospital bills.

Life insurance

We’ll have to update our life insurance policies now that we have a kid. I have life insurance through work and the family will get about 7x my salary if something happens to me. This is not adequate when you have a child. I’ll have to get a term life insurance quote and increase the coverage. Mrs. RB40 will probably have to do the same as well.

That’s it for now. I understand 6 months is the turning point and everything will get better. Hopefully that’s true for us as well. The day care bill is the most expensive expense so far and I can see now why people say a kid is expensive.


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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 36 comments… add one }
  • LifeAndMyFinances July 29, 2011, 4:01 am

    Even though you have a new baby, you’ve done a great job keeping up with posts and giving your readers something new to look at a few times a week! So, thank you!

    As for the baby expenses, I can’t believe how many unexpected costs come up! My wife and I will most likely have our first child in the next few years, and it sounds like I should have a pretty solid fund before we do! Thanks for the heads up. 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 29, 2011, 1:53 pm

      Thanks for visiting! Baby is a lot of fun, but you need to be financially secure before having one.

  • SB(One Cent At A Time) July 29, 2011, 4:57 am

    are these unexpected? I thought they do come with the baby and I am setting up a baby fund now

    • retirebyforty July 29, 2011, 9:40 pm

      Somewhat. Did you know you’ll have to try a bunch of bottles/nipple until you find one that the baby like? I didn’t know that. I thought he’ll just take any bottle. They are finicky eater, let me warn you. 😉

  • Everyday Tips July 29, 2011, 5:20 am

    I know what you mean about expecting the daycare payments, but it hurts to write the check. That is how I feel about several of our expenses!

    When I saw the picture with the bandaid on the little guy’s leg I instantly thought ‘vaccination’. Gosh I hated seeing my babies poked like that. They look at you and trust you, and then they are suddenly screaming in pain. They are a necessary thing for sure, but you can’t explain how the pain ‘is for the best’.

    I think you have managed your expenses great. My kids all loved the activity mat!

    • retirebyforty July 29, 2011, 9:41 pm

      Those needles were so long. I thought they would hit bone! Poor little guy!

  • LLF July 29, 2011, 5:41 am

    They are so cute when they are conked out.
    There will be unexpected expenses every few months, or yearly from now on. Even if you have a 2nd, you may need to buy new stuff for them if they pefer different things.
    The carrier is excellent for when they are young. Have you tried a sling? You can DIY that for $10-15. Also, a good umbrella stroller is all you need when he’s able to sit.
    You will be buying new nipples for faster flow. You will be buying sippy cups, and there are a ton of those to chose from.
    Also, you’ll be needing a playpen and gates soon. If you don’t travel a lot, I would get this over gates and playpens.
    Always, craigslist and baby/kids consignment sales are great places to look for kids stuff. You can always stock up for future too.

    • retirebyforty July 29, 2011, 9:43 pm

      We’ll get rid of the big stroller as soon as he can sit. It’s blocking the hallway entry right now, so unwieldy. We have a bassinet that will turn into a playpen. That one on amazon looks good though.

  • Niki July 29, 2011, 5:51 am

    Kids are expensive, but you seem to have done really well not going over the top. I think a lot of people make that mistake.

    Baby RB40 is just so cute! I love his spiky hair.

  • Jana July 29, 2011, 6:08 am

    We’ve been using Dependent Care since our daughter started daycare at 5 months. Since the cost of daycare is more than the $5K allotment, we use it to cover 1/2 the month and pay out of pocket the other 1/2. This stretches the money out over the year. Also remember that you can’t use what you haven’t contributed. Dependent Care works differently than HSAs.

    • retirebyforty July 29, 2011, 9:44 pm

      The $5k will be just about right for the rest of this year. Hopefully grandma can come and stay with us for a while next year…

  • Hunter @ Financially Consumed July 29, 2011, 7:04 am

    It all adds up very quickly. We had to switch to baby formula fairly early for each of our three children. That is expensive stuff. At about $20 per week this adds $1,000 to your expenses. Gulp, didn’t budget for that.

    • retirebyforty July 29, 2011, 9:45 pm

      We also had to go with formula very quickly. I wrote a bit about that in baby expense #1. We were hoping to breast feed, but it just didn’t work out. I think many new parents don’t realize how difficult that is.

  • 20 and Engaged July 29, 2011, 8:16 am

    Babies are definitely expensive but you find new expenses all the time. I commend you on a carrier; I can see myself passing out holding a 16 pound baby for a mile haha.

  • Kellen July 29, 2011, 9:47 am

    For a second there I thought the title of the post was “Unexpected baby #2”!!

    So, by comparison, some unexpected baby *expenses* aren’t so bad, right?

    • retirebyforty July 29, 2011, 9:46 pm

      Absolutely! heh heh. 😀 baby #2 would be too much for us to handle.

  • krantcents July 29, 2011, 9:58 am

    You already committed to the expenses by having children, there is no turning back! Spend a lot of time with jr and enjoy the experience together. The payoff for all your effort will be a productive adult.

    • retirebyforty July 29, 2011, 9:46 pm

      You’re right of course. We are having a great time, but it is exhausting.

  • Jeff @ Sustainable life blog July 29, 2011, 12:44 pm

    I agree with derek – way to go keeping up the posting when the baby got here and beyond. DO you have an unexpected baby expense fund, or are you not planning on anything else major?

    • retirebyforty July 29, 2011, 9:47 pm

      No, we don’t really have a fund, but we are living below our mean so we won’t have any problem covering little things. Hopefully no more big bills for a while.

  • Barb Friedberg July 29, 2011, 12:55 pm

    Baby is soooo cute. Expenses will sooon be forgotten, but cute baby…toddler…. kid etc. will continue to pay life long dividends.

    • retirebyforty July 29, 2011, 9:48 pm

      Thanks! I hope he stays cute when he gets older. 😉

  • Brave New Life July 29, 2011, 7:09 pm

    I hope for you that 6 months is the turning point. My kid is 3, and we’re still seeing regular sicknesses brought home. Luckily, with school out we’ve enjoyed a healthy summer.

    As for the expenses, if you buy things on Craigslist, you can usually sell them for the same price a year or two later. That’s what we’ve done. Obviously we don’d do that with bottles, but with strollers and carriers it works great. No net expenditures.

    • retirebyforty July 29, 2011, 9:49 pm

      We usually check craigslist before we buy anything, but usually I can’t find exactly what I want. I guess we’ll have to be more flexible and take our time on craigslist.

  • 101 Centavos July 30, 2011, 3:27 am

    Great pictures of the little guy. It’s a rare baby that’s not totally photogenic. For kid stuff, we did really well at yard sales. Occasionally we’d stumble across a parent who didn’t know the original value of the purchased item (stroller, play center, etc), and were so able to pick it up for a song.

  • The Wealthy Canadian July 30, 2011, 4:00 pm

    My wife and I just had a baby this past June, and with the arrival of a newborn, we definitely had to be financially prepared.

    Throughout the course of my wife’s pregnancy, we made purchases along the way to make things easier on the wallet.

    For example, we bought a crib and dresser for the baby’s room one month. The next month we would allocate our funds to paint and renovate the baby’s room. After that, I had to buy a car seat, video/audio monitor – the list goes on and on. 🙂

    I also threw a ‘diaper party’ for me and my friends and I have yet to go to Wal-Mart for diapers! My wife threw a baby shower and we received a lot of great gifts. We don’t have to buy any clothes for the first few months, plus my brother has a child that is a bit older so we have been getting some great hand-me-downs.

    Congrats on your baby! Nice post.

    • retirebyforty August 1, 2011, 10:11 am

      Spreading the big purchases out is a great way to lessen the financial pain. We did the same thing and purchased 2nd hand crib and stroller a few months before the baby was due. Mrs. RB40’s friends also threw a baby shower and those items were extremely helpful. The little guy is the first child in our family so he didn’t get any hand me downs. It seems people get rid of old items very quick these day. Most people with 2-3 years old doesn’t have any old baby items.

  • youngandthrifty July 30, 2011, 5:34 pm

    What a cutie pie! Poor little guy and his vaccinations 🙁

    Do you get a reimbursement for the vaccination expenses you had to put in with insurance?

    Come up to Canada and vaccinate him for free for his 1 year vaccinations! 😉

    • retirebyforty August 1, 2011, 10:12 am

      Thanks goodness we had insurance to pay for his vaccines. I don’t know how people with no insurance coverage deal with vaccine. I think the state pay for some vaccination, but I’m not sure.

  • Amanda L. Grossman July 31, 2011, 12:37 pm

    Sooooo adorable! That is great that insurance pays for the vaccinations–there are so many of them!

    • retirebyforty August 1, 2011, 10:13 am

      Thanks! He’ll get another round of vaccines in a few weeks. 🙁 poor little guy.

  • Freddie @ Invest With Passion August 2, 2011, 1:10 pm

    Babies can be very expensive, but most of these seem like they should have been expected. I get the baby mat if you didn’t know what that was, but the others should have been known.

    Maybe you under estimated how many bottles and nipples you would need. I can get that, so I guess it can be unexpected.

    All I can say is wait the baby gets a little bit older. You will not believe the expenses that come up. It is unbelieveable. We have two children, 12 and 8, but we wouldn’t trade them for the world.

    Children are amazing. It is a great feeling watching yourself grow up in front of your own eyes!

    Enjoy every moment because you cannot get them back!

  • Financial Success For Young Adults August 6, 2011, 9:38 am

    That tax deduction is a really nice one! I’ve never heard of it before but I’m glad that it is available because it seems like daycare is getting more and more expensive.

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