Before we had our daughter, we always did a major eye roll when people talked about the hefty costs of being a parent.
Words by Just Kidding
But then we became a mummy ourself and reality hit. From out-of-the-blue costs that you don’t anticipate to seemingly obvious expenses that somehow manage to blindside you, the unexpected costs of becoming a parent can really throw your finances into disarray if you don’t plan for them.
While everyone’s experience is unique, a little foresight can be a great thing for the budget. With this in mind we’ve complied a list of costs that we didn’t see coming before our baby was born. If you have a little one on the way or are planning to board the baby bandwagon anytime soon, it’s time to start saving…and our friends at Just Kidding have plenty of ideas to help new parents manage their budgets.
1. Medical insurance for you
“An epidural costs how much?” Not a sentence we ever thought we’d be uttering, but I bellowed it more than once in the run up to my delivery. Fortunately, our medical insurance covered all the costs of pregnancy and labour, but without it we’d have been looking at a total price tag of around AED 40,000… and our pregnancy and labour were straightforward, with no complications. Add in an emergency C-section and the bill rockets higher. Lesson: If you’re planning to have a baby, now is the time start researching policies.
2. Medical insurance for baby
First-time parents often find themselves at the doctors more often than expected. Our baby was only five days old when she had to undergo a procedure to have her tongue-tie cut. A few days later we panicked over suspected jaundice and a few days after that we (wrongly) convinced myself a green poop explosion was the beginnings of gastroenteritis. In under 10 days we’d racked up a medical bill of thousands of dirhams.
Our point? The sooner you add your little one to your existing insurance policy the better. You’ll pay an extra fee, but it will almost certainly be less than the cost of regular doctor’s visits, and most insurance companies will allow a grace period of a month, so you can claim back for any costs incurred in the early days after birth.
3. Utility bills
While heating bills aren’t really an issue in Dubai, you can still expect a spike in your household expenses because it’s likely that you’ll be using a lot more water and electricity trying to keep up with an endless round of soiled baby grows, cot sheets, swaddles and blankets.
We are fortunate in this part of the world that many of us are in a position to hire home help in all its various forms, whether it’s a maid, nanny, babysitter or a combination of all three.
The average salary is a topic of much discussion as the ‘minimum wage’ and ‘market rate’ are two very different things, but you can expect to pay an average salary of AED 3,165 a month depending on their situation (live-in or live-out, according to indeed.ae) and your requirements. This however, doesn’t include visas, healthcare or annual flights which can easily reach AED 15,000 in the first year. Alternatively, you may decide to go down the nursery route, which will set you back from AED 6,000 to AED 65,000 per year, according to Souqalmal.com.
5. Travel costs
If you fly home regularly it’s worth factoring the travel costs of your infant into your budget. While the standard cost of a ticket for a tot under the age of two is only 10-12 per cent of an adult fare, some parents opt to buy a seat anyway. This isn’t such an urgent need when your baby is tiny, but as they grow and become more mobile you’ll be grateful of the extra space. To read our blog on top tips for flying with a baby, click here.
6. School fees
While school fees aren’t exactly an unexpected cost, it’s easy to be blindsided because when you’re a new parent, school days seem an awfully long way off. However, it’s important to make plans in advance because online education guide Edarabia has shown the average cost of school fees in the UAE range from AED 2,500 to AED 12o,000-plus, depending on the age of the student and which country’s curriculum you choose. Ouch!
According to Souqmal.com, Dubai’s average cost of bringing up baby is on the higher side. In the UK, the cost of raising a child is also AED 1.2m, but that figure runs to 21 – an extra three years on Dubai. However, it does not include private education, as most British children are state-educated.
In the US, the average cost for a child comes in at AED 863,000 until the age of 18. The figure drops further in India to AED 370,000. Dubai parents certainly have some sums to do.