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The cost of raising a child

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The cost of raising a child may not be top of your considerations when you decide to start a family. However they can have a serious impact on your finances and many new parents under estimate the costs involved.

A recent survey by insurer LV= found that the cost of raising a child until the age of 21 has increased by 58% since 2003 to £222,458. There are not just the general expenses to take into account, such as food, childcare, clothes, pushchairs and car seats. You might need a larger car or a bigger house to accommodate your growing family. What are the areas that could cost you the most and are there any ways of saving money?

A Houseful of Equipment

Children, especially babies, seem to need a lot of equipment and the cost of this can soon add up. These range from pushchairs and car seats to cots and high chairs. The prices of these can vary considerably, from budget ranges through to the latest celebrity endorsed brand.the cost of raising a child

Don’t be tempted to rush out and buy everything brand new, as you won’t always get a lot of use out of them. See what you can borrow from friends and family or buy some second hand. You should be cautious about buying used car seats, unless you can be sure that they’ve not been involved in an accident and that they meet the latest safety standards.

With all that equipment to store, you might need to actually move house when you start a family or switch to a bigger car. Taking out a loan or increasing your mortgage could have a significant impact on your household budget at time when your income may be reduced with maternity leave.

Paying for Childcare

In an ideal world one of the parents would be able to stay at home and look after the children until they start school. However, in today’s society this isn’t always practical and often both parents need to work at least part of the week. For some childcare costs can be as much, if not more, than mortgage payments. In the past ten years, the costs of putting children into nurseries and other forms of childcare has risen by 61% (LV=, Cost of a Child Report).

One of the ways to reduce your costs is to see if your employer runs a childcare voucher scheme. By using this you can pay for some of your fees before tax and National Insurance is deducted. If you’re a basic rate taxpayer you can claim up to £55 a week for childcare costs. Higher and top rate earners have lower limits.

The costs don’t decrease much when they start school either. Paying for items such as uniform, school trips, after school clubs and university fees, mean that this area alone has risen by 124% since 2003 (LV=, Cost of a Child Report).

The Weekly Shop

Feeding a growing family can be an expensive exercise, especially if you’re always buying nappies, wipes and baby milk. Plan meals for the week ahead before you go shopping. This way you’ll know exactly what you want and won’t be tempted by things you don’t need.the cost of raising a child

There are a number of ways in which you can try and reduce your shopping bill, including buying in bulk, taking advantage of special offers and using coupons or voucher sites. If you’re pregnant or recently had a baby, many of the related brands offer baby clubs that you can sign up to online. These are a great source of information, but they also regularly send out coupons for their products.


Clothes and shoes can also be a considerable expense, especially for larger families. Try and re-use items from siblings or family and friends. Otherwise check out prices online and shop in the sales where possible.

The overall costs of raising a child can be scary. However, you’ve got to remember that these are spread out across the first 18 or 21 years of their life. The amount that you spend will depend on your overall budget and lifestyle, so don’t feel that you have to keep up with everyone else.





About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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