We all know that parenthood can be expensive, but exactly how much does it cost to raise a child in the UK?
Providing for your child is one of the most expensive things you are ever likely to do. While it doesn’t cost anything to make one, caring for your youngster results in many a dent to the bank account. Some are little dinks, barely noticeable at all, but others pack a much bigger punch. When you add them all together, the damage is colossal – an average of almost £11k annually to be exact!
|“A recent report from the Centre of Economic and Business Research has revealed that the typical cost of raising a child in the UK – from birth right up to the ripe old age of 21 – is likely to cost a jaw-dropping £230,000.”|
For many families, nearly a third of their annual household income is earmarked for their children, but what precisely makes up this hefty sum?
As with all things relating to babies, the first few years are the toughest. Particularly for first-time parents, the cost is going to be sizeable. There are a million things to buy first time around, especially if there’s no older siblings to pass on any hand-me-downs.
If this is the case, why not petition friends and family who have children? The chances are they still have some boxes of baby stuff cluttering up the place. Offer to take them off their hands – it’s win/win!
A large part of the early-years expenditure is likely to be dominated by childcare, weighing in at an average of £67,586. The majority of this mammoth cost is incurred within the first four years of baby’s life when he or she requires regular day-care supervision.
Many mums opt to go back to work once their maternity leave is up, often because the household is unable to survive on a single income. However, with the ever-rising cost of childcare, this has become something of a dilemma, since the average salary barely covers these costs with little to spare afterwards.
You may find that employing a nanny could save you some money. However, this comes with its own set of complications as you will essentially become an employer and as such, will have to bear the responsibilities that come with that role.
Remember, always check with your employer to see if they offer Childcare Vouchers and following the recent changes to parental leave, take some time to brush up on your eligibility. Every little helps!
The price of a good education
Education is usually free, right? Well, not exactly. You’ll still need to account for school uniforms, books, stationary, field trips and let’s not forget, packed lunches. Plus, if your little brain-box eventually goes on to university, you may feel compelled to help out with the tuition fees too. It all adds up!
Rather than discarding anything your child either grows out of or gets bored with, try holding on to any items still in reasonable condition. You may thank yourself in the future when you go through it all again with the next one.
This is undoubtedly the biggest expense for parents at a total of £74,319 – a sum that has increased by a mind-boggling 128% since a similar report was commissioned back in 2003.
Tightening the purse strings
In the face of these costs, parents have been making savings elsewhere. Sadly, an area that is often targeted first is the hobbies and toys fund. The impact of this will certainly mean that kids are introduced to fewer stimuli, ultimately having a knock on effect on their mental and emotional development.
But it’s not just the luxuries that are being slashed. Essential items are also being hit as parents make reductions to their routine spending in an attempt to make ends meet. Many people are adopting a more thrifty approach when it comes to food and clothes shopping, but despite their best efforts, the total cost is still hitting the £30k mark.
While most of this money will go towards practical matters, you might be pleased to find that a good portion of the parenting budget is also being spent on getaways with the family.
Over £16k will be spent taking your child abroad where you’ll make memories in the sun, seek out adventure or even squeeze into a caravan for a bank holiday bonding session – priceless!
The piggy bank
Your little ones are likely to receive a pretty respectable £4,603 in pocket money over the course of their lives.
If only they could see the potential investment saving all their 50ps would make! But, if you ask most kids to choose between setting up a high interest account or going down to the sweet shop, the choice is clear…
And the rest…
The remaining 35k or so is spent on the little things that crop up. Various hobbies that they’ll pick up and forget just as quickly, driving lessons, Christmas presents – the list is endless.
With another reason to crack open the wallet usually waiting just around the corner, this might seem to be a tale of total doom and gloom. However, it’s vital for parents to remember many of the greatest things they can give their children – whether that be your undivided attention after work or just ‘being there’ whenever they need you – don’t cost a penny!