HomelifestyleThe hidden fees of adulthood.

The hidden fees of adulthood.

If there is one thing I’ve learned over the last decade, it’s this: Growing up is expensive. I’m talking real expensive. What do you mean I have to pay for toilet paper? When I was a wee-ninja the toilet paper roll always magically replaced itself after it was depleted. Just as an aging child discovers the tooth fairy doesn’t exist, I have learned the toilet paper fairy doesn’t either.

Maybe I was spoiled, but I had most of my expenses covered by parents (even through college). This lead to a rude awakening five years ago when I graduated and got my first big-boy job. What do you mean I have to pay to use the washer and dryer in our apartment complex? Turns out this was just one of many unwelcome expenses I encountered.

Here are a few others that really hurt my heart….


They don’t really tell you this in High School, but when you make $40,000 a year, that really means you make $30k-$35k a year after all taxes, social security, etc are taken in to consideration. Sweet, I just got an $8,000 pay-cut without even knowing it. AWESOME! Taxes, although necessary, can be incredibly frustrating/annoying.


I’ve paid for health insurance for five years now. Wanna know how many times I’ve used it for myself….ZERO. While that is ultimately a good thing, it hurts knowing how much not being sick has cost me. Do I really have to pay $300 a month for all the different insurances I need, but rarely use? Why can’t I spend that money on Xbox games, Hot Pockets, and Barbies? Kids don’t have to think about these things. Why should I?

Random Household Stuff:

Toilet paper, paper towels, soap, sponges, toothpaste, bandaids, chapstick, dustpans, etc. What the heck! These things add up quick. There are so many “hidden fees” that come with adulthood I’m starting to feel nauseous. Please hold while I throw up….

….I can’t handle the nickel and dime-ing going on. I know, I’m being a whiner, but really what kid realizes all these things actually cost a substantial amount of money each month? I sure as heck didn’t. I blame Mom Ninja for my naivety.

The list goes on and on. There is no denying that the transition from childhood to adulthood is an expensive one. And there is no denying that transition sucks. I want to hear some of the hidden fees of growing up that shocked you?



  1. Moving into a new place and stocking a pantry. No matter how much I brace myself for it, it hurts. When I moved, I was flying across the country while most of my stuff was in a moving truck. You can’t bring lots of food with you in either method, so I had to replace or buy all new staples. Case in point: I’ve been living in my current place for a year now and still haven’t bought flour or real sugar (I use the fake sugar in tea/coffee). Once you have the staples like vegetable oil, vinegar, salt/pepper, basic spices, etc, grocery trips don’t hurt so much, but those first few are a bear.

  2. coat hangers, extension leads, a ladder. These things last forever, you never think some poor sap has to actually buy them. A hammer. Who buys a hammer? My dad’s had his hammer for 30 years for heavens sake.

  3. If you are not using your health insurance you are short-changing yourself. No matter how young and healthy you may be or feel, you owe it to yourself to have an annual checkup with a full blood panel to measure your cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure, and so forth. The utter foolishness of those who reject “Obamacare” by claiming that “they’re not sick so they don’t need to see a doctor” is belied by the fact that proper health care is as much preventative as palliative.

    I rarely agree with Kevin Thousandaire’s political views, but he wrote a good argument in favor of annual checkups on his blog that I urge you to read. Of course as you grow older you’re even more likely to need health insurance. When you’re around 50 or so, you can look forward to your first colonoscopy, one of the great joys of growing older.

  4. And you haven’t even come to the ultimate no-see expense: your retirement.

    You have to think of it as your own tooth fairy – there is none. If you want one, you have to make one. And the thing with her is you have to pay ahead of time, and you have to pay her a lot. My wife and I called it drop dead money, after a character in a James Clavell book. That girl said she wanted a million dollars as drop dead money. So the hero asked her: what is that? Her reply: enough money to tell everyone to just drop dead. A fun term for enough money to allow you to do what you want.

    The bad thing about drop dead money is it comes from the same place as the new ninja toilet roll – you gotta take care of it yourself. There is no tooth fairy.

    The good news: the younger you are, the more manageable it is.

    The bad news: the younger you are, the more “out there” it is, and therefore most likely to be ignored.

    Setting aside 10% of your income “nothing” – how’s that for a shock? 🙂

  5. Toilet paper, paper towels, soap, sponges, toothpaste, bandaids, chapstick, dustpans, etc.

    How often do you buy dustpans?

  6. I thought Internet service would be like $10-$15 a month. No. It’s $45, and our apartment complex has a deal with this one company, so we can’t even shop around 🙁

    • Yep, that was my most unpleasant discovery : during my studies in France, either the Internet was free at my schools housing, or it was 10 euros a month.
      Now that I moved to the US, I pay $40 a month and I hate it !!

  7. I was always pretty independent throught college, but things like dental care, haircuts, car repairs, and prescriptions always seem to cost more than they should. I am trying really hard with my daughter to make her aware that money doesn’t grow on trees. She’s five and she will already ask how much something costs. I don’t know whether I’m preparing her for adulthood or giving her a complex!

  8. Dental care was a big surprise. After less than stellar dental hygiene in college, I was greeted with a four digit dental bill. Welcome to adulthood.

    • I’ve been lucky with dental care, but some of my friends haven’t been. We’re so used to $20 copays at the doctor, dentist bills, even with insurance, are an unpleasant surprise.

  9. Car expenses! I didn’t own a car in high school or all through university. I just passed the one year mark of owning my first car and I still can’t get over how much it costs just to run the damn thing. If I could, I’d go car free in a heart beat.

  10. Social Security.

    Just let me opt out of social security. You can even keep the money I already paid in. Just let me out of the trap!!!!

  11. I’m with Jordann, 100%. Gasoline. Insurance. Winter tires, etc.
    I was happily car-free until about 2 years out of university. You can only go so long in a small town without one.
    Home insurance (previously was covered for contents via my parents).
    Trips home to visit our families.

  12. Yeah, can I opt out of Social Security and just use that money and put in my ROTH 401K where I know this money is going to go to me?
    Everything adds up. Even gum. Do you know the price of gum has increased significantly during the past four years due to commodity increases? Yup, sucks.
    Trips home to visit families also add up quickly. It’s one of the reasons I don’t go back very often. Gas is like $100, buying dinner for family, buying food, buying stuff….I usually spend like $300-$400 bucks no kidding.

    • Yeah, can I opt out of Social Security and just use that money and put in my ROTH 401K where I know this money is going to go to me?

      No, you can’t. And what makes you think that if you could opt out of SS, that money would be handed over to you? You contribute 6.2% of salary (up to the cap) for FICA and your employer matches 6.2%. If the right-wing wet dream of abolishing SS were to come to pass, and if I were a SavvyEmployer, I’d simply cut your salary 6.2% and save myself the equivalent amount.

      • Even more reason to let us opt-out – I’m totally willing to take the 6.2% “loss” of my employer’s contribution, keep my 6.2% contribution and have control over my own retirement funding.

        I get to feel more in control over my future, without feeling like I’m dumping money into SS and not going to ever get it back out. My employer is happy, because he saves 6.2% of his payroll by not having to match my contributions.

        Everyone wins.

  13. Contacts! Never realized how much they cost and all at once (yearly). Then once I had kids, Kid eye exams and glasses every year x 3 kids plus 2 adults with contacts. Never really thought it was that expensive until I had to pay for it!

  14. This is why I’m so avid that personal finance should be taught in High Schools! Tis my mission to get this done over the next ten years!
    On the note of paying taxes, warning, political views commencing in 3… 2… 1… with the US government doling out checks to almost half of our population, more in foreign aid, and more in programs that don’t benefit the majority, I would love to create a deconstructed government, smaller but more efficient and one that subsisted from the taxes that don’t include income tax. In my view, if a man or woman works and benefits the whole, he/she should not be taxed on those merits.

  15. Retirement! When you’re younger you think that putting aside $25 a month will give you enough to retire on, but in actuality, you better be putting aside a nice chunk and at a very early age in order to be comfortable in your later years.

  16. Everything for me has already been mentioned – food, rent, internet/cable/phone, dental insurance the last few months especially. Another random weird one I had was when I moved out I got a cat in my new apartment because A) My mom hated cats, so I was never allowed one growing up. And I wanted one bad, figured this was my big-girl chance! B) There were mice in my apartment. Ew (and yes, did tell the landlord – but my general theory is that most landlords actually want you to die.

    Honestly, it was mostly A, but taking care of an animal is actually pretty expensive. Vet bills are ridiculous, food every day, toys, and cat litter – all of it was pretty pricey on my little college student budget.

  17. Kids! Honestly, they cost a fortune, and not in stuff you can predict either. Yes there are many ways that kids can be cheaper than many people say, mine don’t have all the latest stuff, wear hand me downs and second hand stuff etc. But even at 7, 6 and 4 they eat like horses. I wasn’t expecting to be feeding 3 Clydesdales until high school.

    And one of my sons alone has had well over $100,000 in medical expenses this year. Yes we have to pay for private health care on top of Medicaid for my two disabled children because it can take a year to get psych appointments if you don’t have private pay insurance. We maxed out our $5000 deductible in January this year, plus another $7000 in bills that weren’t covered by either insurance or Medicaid.

    Dental work! I know its been mentioned, but I never expected 3 root canals and crowns in 4 years. And you can’t ignore tooth pain that has you taking Vicodin like TicTacs. My christmas present from my folks for the last few years has been a payment on my dental bills, thank God!

  18. Honestly, groceries were the hardest to get used to. I just couldn’t believe how much it cost to eat. I probably struggled for years buying really cheap food because I was mad whenever the bill at the supermarket was over $35.

    Now I’ll buy $100 worth without blinking and it TASTES SO MUCH BETTER

  19. Trying to think waaaaay back to when I moved out… it’s been a while… Recurring bills like telephone, cable, utilities were a drag, buying laundry detergent and dish soap seemed like a huge pain, oh, and don’t be grossed out Ninja, but when I had to start buying my feminine supplies, I was shocked how expensive they were!

  20. Maintaining and updating a house. Since 2009 I estimated I put 85k into renovations and such. Kitchen, HVAC, landscaping, lighting.

    It looks beautiful and well worth it, but that 85k is a big number in 3 short years.

  21. Recycled post? Oh well. Still a goodie.

    Just when you send off your last mortgage payment, your local government sends you a property tax bill that most homeowners never really saw for 30 years because the escrow account handled it. Kind of a sneaky surprise that you never really pay off your house. You keep “renting” from the government. Homeowner’s insurance also comes into play also because that was also included in your 30 year mortgage escrow account.

    Because time flies when you are having fun, those once a year bills sneak up on you too. In Las Vegas, a couple of those bills are car registration and the sewer bill.

    One more thing, I miss my beeper bill of $5 a month compared to my smart phone bill of $80 a month.

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