Well, that’s a weird way of saying our daughter had her first birthday. However, I can only bring my perspective so that’s that. Let me share with you my experience of one year of parenthood from 3 perspectives: general, costs, and the effect it had on our FI journey.
This the general, cheesy part.
My daughter is, by far, the best thing that ever happened to me (don’t worry Lazy FI Mum, you’re a close 3rd after shawarma). Waking up to our morning routine makes me wake up with a smile. I count minutes every day until I can pick her up from nursery. I also love bath time although lately, these have become shorter as she’s tired by that time.
JL Collins (the author of my favourite personal finance book) wrote a short story about his daughter in one of his blog posts:
“I have this vision of the Birth Angel approaching God in ‘91 and saying, “Hey there, God, we’re planning to send a little baby girl down to that Collins guy.” and God saying, “Ah, man. Really? Did I authorize this? I did?? Guess this day hadda come. Well, send him the easiest, best one you’ve got. He can’t handle much.” And so, I got Jessica.”
Our daughter was born in 2020 and isn’t named Jessica but besides that- I relate to that story 100%.
Her actual birthday was pretty basic but we loved it and so did she. We got her some balloons and wrote her a card each. Lazy FI Mum also joined our morning routine so our daughter had both her parents with her as she woke up. She also had her face printed on some M&Ms but I ate them all. We don’t believe in big lavish parties that she won’t even remember so we’re happy with our choice.
However, she’s only one and as I said, she won’t remember anything. That means that if she ever asks- we had loads of friends over, pizzas for everyone, a real-life unicorn and the Teletubbies came to the party too.
OK, that’s enough cheese, let’s talk some numbers.
Costs of raising a baby- first year of parenthood
There are 2 types of costs- Ongoing (recurring costs) and one-offs. This is our personal experience after one year of parenthood.
The biggest expense, by far, is childcare. However, if neither your partner nor you earn more than £100k a year, you can let the government pick up 20% of the bill. You can find out how to do that here.
The other costs (food, nappies etc.) really don’t feel like that much, I’d say £200 a month maximum and I even think I’m exaggerating, they are just a part of our groceries expense and I don’t split that category into “adults” and “baby”. The main reason is that I value my time too much to go into that much detail.
Clothing costs, for us, is close to nothing. Our daughter wears mainly second-hand-chic and she’s rocking it! She gets occasional new clothes from family members who want to treat her.
I am actually surprised how low our ongoing/recurring costs are for her, especially after how most parent go on about how expensive kids are. I think there is some truth in “kids costs as much as you decide they cost”. There really is no limit on how much you can spend on a kid, it is mainly up to the parent.
As far as activities (and books) go, I believe that the best things in life are free.
Everyone warned us about how much a car seat and pram are going to cost us.
Pram and car seat
Lazy FI Mum and I don’t drive in the UK. We do have driving licenses back in Israel but if we’re honest, London’s public transportation is so good that we really don’t feel like we need a car. That means no need for a fancy car seat.
We did actually need a car seat to get our daughter home from the hospital, so what did we do? A month or so before the birth, Lazy FI Mum found someone that was giving away a simple car seat for free but she lived far away. We thought about it and then decided to send an Uber to pick it up. Total cost: £20-£30 and we didn’t even have to leave our block. We actually still use that seat on flights as it allows our daughter to sleep on the plane.
The pram was also a weird story. We went to Mother Care just before they closed down and we couldn’t decide between 2 prams. One was a fancy, stable, big and heavy pram and the other one was a light, mobile pram. They were both around £500-700, which is a lot of money. As we were trying to decide, an employee came and stuck a £120 price tag on the big, stable one. That made the decision much easier. I love that pram but Lazy FI Mum prefers a lighter and more mobile one. Luckily, she found someone giving away a light pram too. That means our daughter actually has 2 prams.
The last big one-off expense is furniture but again, I was pleasantly surprised. A quick (in retrospect, it felt like an eternity at the time) trip to IKEA and we were done. A changing dresser, a bed and a mattress and we were done. Oh, we also bought a bedside baby crib for the first few months. I think we spent around £500 on furniture for her altogether.
It seems like the big “one-offs” come in the first year of parenthood but I might be in for some surprises.
How did our daughter affect our FI Journey?
Of course, our expenses increased due to having a baby. I just went through that in detail. Mathematically speaking, she has delayed our FI date.
However, she had 2 massive effects on our FI Journey:
- She made us enjoy the journey so much more. My happiness levels are so much higher thanks to her. I am much happier now staying at home with her rather than going out and spending money. When I do go out with her and spend money, it’s usually a train fare as she loves going on the train and being outdoors. I know that for a lot of people, the FI journey can seem long, you barely see progress and you sometimes even feel deprived*. For these reasons, I think that enjoying the journey and “today” is so important.
- As I already mentioned in a previous post, my motivation is through the roof since she was born. I now have a much more tangible reason to reach FI. In the past, my reason to reach FI was so I don’t have to work and so I have options. Now, all I want is for my kids to have their dad at home when they come back from school.
For these reasons, I think that our daughter has made our FI journey longer but much more enjoyable. If the first year of parenthood is a preview to the next few years, I will be a happy man.
*If you feel deprived, you’re probably doing something wrong and need to reassess your plan. Living with a feeling of deprivation is, in my opinion, not sustainable. If your financial plan makes you feel deprived, I would recommend reading the last section in this post.