23 Common Things That Felt Practically Free When People Were Kids But Are Actually Wildly Expensive

Remember the days of decorating your Sims house and thinking to yourself, I can't wait to do this in real life when I'm older!? Then you got older and realized that a mattress alone would set you back a couple grand? Well, I sure remember. So when redditor u/ForeignReviews asked the r/AskReddit community, "What item did you not realize was expensive until you became an adult?," other adults shared the common, everyday things that they were shocked to find out were so expensive. Here's some of what they had to say:

1."Food is both more expensive and goes bad quicker when you're an adult."

A woman grocery shopping

2."It's gotta be furniture."


"When I bought my house, I only had a bed in the master bedroom, and all my friends kept saying, 'You make good money, just buy furniture — you could have it furnished in a month.' Then they bought houses and now understand why it took me a year to furnish my house."


3."New tires — most unexciting $1,000 purchase I have ever made."

A close-up of a tire on a car

4."Work done by tradespeople: plumbers, carpenters, masons, etc. If you have to pay someone to do it for you, it's going to be cost-prohibitive."


"I bought my house in the first days of the pandemic, and my Realtor gave me a recommendation for a guy to replace the water heater. The plumber came out and saw my busted-up AC condenser outside and said, 'I can put in a whole new furnace and AC for $4,000.'"I wanted to save up a bit, so I waited a year. I called him again, and he said it was $6,500. I had only saved up $4,000 and wanted to do some other things as well, so I waited another year. Called him again and he said $8,000. At this point, I didn't see the price ever going back down, so I pulled the trigger in June this year and gave the dude $8,500."


5."A good pair of shoes will set you back a bit, especially if you need more specialized ones, for whatever reason."

Someone lacing up their sneaker
Olga Berezhna / Getty Images



"I went through breast cancer treatment, which includes a mastectomy and reconstruction. My old bras didn't work for my current chest, so I had to replace my entire bra drawer. It cost more than I paid for my surgeries after insurance."


7."Kids. I'm amazed how my parents could afford me."

Two parents smiling with their kids on their backs



"They’ve gotten so expensive over the past few years. It used to be $50 for a yearly exam with shots for each of my pets. Then it went to ~$100. Now it’s over $200. That doesn’t include any flea treatments or medications for minor things they might find. Those also cost about double what I used to pay. I have four pets, and three are geriatric. I went from being able to afford their care for most of their lives to having to save up for their checkups."


9."Cars. Grown-ups all had them, maybe even multiple. I still think it's insane that some cars are more expensive than a two-bedroom apartment."

A woman driving a car
Westend61 / Getty Images / Westend61

10."Legos. My god, how my parents ever got me any, I'll never know."



A minimal rug being laid out in a room

12."Health insurance."


"My employer health insurance would cost me ~20% of my paycheck, so now I don't have health insurance."


13."Going out to restaurants. Of course, as a child I never paid for anything, so I was admittedly shocked when I became an adult and had to pay my restaurant bill for the first time. Had no idea it was so expensive."

A dinner table seen from above with people toasting their glasses

14."Glasses. I have awful eyesight and astigmatism and got quite a shock when I had to pay for my own prescription glasses for the first time."


15."My teeth."

A dentist performing an exam on a patient



"I recall one glorious summer in the mid- to late '90s when it was 79 cents a gallon. My friends and I would just drive around and hang out because it was cheaper than mini golf or the movies! My little Toyota at the time got 38–40 miles per gallon!"



Someone walking through an airport with a suitcase

18."Electricity. I thought it was as free as the air we breathe, so I would have my bedroom lit up like a Christmas tree 24/7. My poor parents!"


19."Toilet paper! Like, talk about actually flushing money down the toilet."

A roll of toilet paper hanging on the wall of a bathroom
Kinga Krzeminska / Getty Images

20."Property taxes. My property taxes were about $4,500 when I bought my house in 2019. Increased to over $9,200 this year."


21."Getting something framed. Holy cow!"

Someone hanging up a framed photo on their wall

22."Saving for retirement. I’m in my mid-30s and still can’t believe there’s a minimum paycheck deduction for your company to be willing to add to your retirement plan."


23."Entertainment. I didn’t understand why we never went to the movies, Chuck E. Cheese, or out to dinner as a family of five. I get it now."

A child eating popcorn in a movie theater
Tatyana_tomsickova / Getty Images

Is there anything else you didn't realize was expensive until you became an adult? Let us know in the comments, or fill out this anonymous form!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.