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Posted August 23, 2010 | comments Leave a comment

It's tough being a grown-up

I finally owned my baby dead to rights when he was about 8 months old.

After months of confusing bills and perhaps a little procrastination, I called the hospital to close the tab on the delivery of my son.

Not only did the birth go nothing like I planned, the bill wasn't exactly what I planned for either.
I joked to the cashier on the phone that I didn't want anyone coming to repossess my baby so I thought I'd better pay him off once and for all.

Whether you're a parent or not, if you're an adult, I'm sure you have a similar story.

There's always an extra bill or an appliance going haywire. If the car doesn't need an inspection sticker or an oil change, then you probably owe property taxes or need to renew your driver's license or see the dentist.

Even when you do your best to be honest and keep track of where you need to shell out your hard-earned money, there's always one more thing to do: a house repair, a medical expense, back-to-school shopping, and, before we know it, Christmas will be rolling around again.
Not to mention the random extra bills we get throughout the year: a county ambulance fee, fire department fee, homeowner's association dues and taxes, to name a few.

Then, of course, there's the complexity factor.

Instead of getting one hospital bill with a total, I got separate bills for varying totals. After paying off what I thought was the balance, I later realized there was a different amount due under my son's name.

A day late on some bills? Tack on a $35 late fee and up the interest rate by several percentage points.

It's all a lot to keep up with.

In recent weeks, my spare seconds have been consumed hunting down the best -- and most affordable -- vacation rental for my son's first trip to the ocean this fall.

It has been a much anticipated event for me, but all the money we've put out this year between an unpaid maternity leave, medical expenses and baby gear have left little room for vacation savings. It's one of the many ways resources, both financially and mentally, have been stretched in new ways since becoming a mom.

I've scoured website after website looking for a beach house with the right price and a good view, and every time I thought I'd found the perfect one, I'd read the fine print to find hundreds of dollars in processing fees, taxes and rental insurance inflates the price to much more than we wanted to spend.

One realty company's claim really took the cake: They tout their "all-inclusive pricing."

"While many other companies are piling on extra fees, we've made it simple. ... Simply put, you pay Advertised Rent plus Tax with NO Additional Fees," it says, followed, I'm not even kidding, by the following statement in parentheses: "All-Inclusive Pricing does not include taxes, travel insurance or optional extras."

It's hard not to think people are out to get you sometimes.

Hopefully as my son gets older I'll not only get better at being a mom, but also at keeping tabs on our family's finances.
In the meantime, we're going to take that trip anyway.
After all, as complicated as being an adult can be sometimes, I know when I watch my boy see the ocean for the first time, I'll be reminded that it's all worth it.

• Contact Jessica Wiant at jwiant@nvdaily.com. 

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